09 February 2011

Because it was on TV: The Rise of F/X

F/X has the movies. They really do, actually. There has been no other channel rising through the ranks of Most Flipped To like F/X the past couple years. They've achieved this through a very adept business plan, somehow unique in the world of cable. There are tons of F/X-like channels out there. I'm talking about the Cable Channels that only play syndicated repeats of old TV shows, movies and typically crappy original programming. How does F/X rise above the ranks of USA, TBS and TNT? Because they're awesome in each of these aspects.


The Best in TV Reruns:

See, F/X has this very simple knack of just seeking out whatever's really popular and broadcasting it constantly. Its programming schedule continually shifts to accommodate the most popular tastes possible. While TNT and USA split hundreds of ubiquitous Law & Order, Bones and NCIS episodes, F/X recently picked up Two and a Half Men and currently plays it constantly. This in addition to decent older shit like Spin City and That 70s Show. The network is really just following the most basic numbers. Two and a Half Men is one of the highest rated TV shows of the past few years, and it also performs fantastic in syndication. In fact it's the highest-rated scripted show. F/X just jumps on the pony.

The Best in Original TV:

F/X originated as this repeats-only channel. Around the turn of the century it began creating Original Programming though, and they've only gone up from there. Starting with The Shield and Nip/Tuck, F/X actually developed a very high standard for its Original Programming. Its shows are consistently excellent, from Sons of Anarchy to Justified and Rescue Me. The channel in general has been consistently snuffed by most major award shows, notably the Emmys. The shows are fantastic though. Unlike quirky cute USA shows or Tyler Perry TBS Comedies, F/X is full of near-HBO level programming. It's a slight notch below AMC's prestigious programs. They still tend to be renegades, shows that fly by their underrated pants. Sometimes they're too under the radar (Terriers), others are heavily hyped but middling (Lights Out).

What also sets F/X apart from other stations is their equal knack for Comedy as well as Drama. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia remains one of the funniest shows on television and is already a huge cult hit. I personally hate The League, but it seems to work for other people, and Louie is the darker spiritual successor to Seinfeld if there ever was one. F/X has done an excellent job spending its money. They built themselves up through the success of other programs and movies then invest in their own Original Content, always with very high standards. They really aren't content with the broad dramas of TNT or the bland comedy of TBS. They've found a very unique niche and have so far been successful.

The Best in Movies on TV:

Now this is by far F/X's greatest selling point. F/X really does have the movies. Their aggressive acquisition of the most popular flicks as soon as they're available attracts the most viewership and interest. We're smack in the middle of every great hit of Summer 2008 (except The Dark Knight, which TNT snatched up). F/X has been assaulting the senses with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Kung Fu Panda, Hancock, Wanted, Tropic Thunder and Step Brothers. It's an incredible line-up. At least from a popular standpoint. F/X is like that all the time. They're always on the cutting edge of Movies on TV. It's an art form for these guys.

F/X will be this way for some time to come. They had a widely reported deal for the rights to AVABAR (2009). They also plan on showing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) as well as the Twilight series. It's a complete money grab. They're also showing the coolest flicks of the last two years. It's the place to be, baby. Not only that but they're increasing their prestige by recently acquiring The Social Network (2010) as well as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010). If you're a careful watcher of the network you may have caught fellow Best Picture Winner (maybe) The Departed (2006) play in between showings of Ghost Rider (2007) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). This is fun actually, tracking recent Best Picture winners. You'll find No Country for Old Men (2007) on USA for some reason, Million Dollar Baby (2004) on AMC and Return of the King (2003) on TNT. Fun stuff. I know I've seen Crash (2005) somewhere, it's not often on TV though.

I have no idea if anyone else is interested in this stuff. I find it awesome and extremely interesting. Maybe I just watch too much TV, explicitly movies on TV. In an age of competing media outlets, declining DVD sales, Netflix and Chinese Pirated everything, I still watch flicks on television. On a lazy hungover Saturday everybody does. Who gets what films and how that reflects on a Channel's Reputation and Personality affects more lives than we take for granted.

Anywho, here's to a great 2012 showing of AVABAR!

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