Lots of crazy things have been said over the years at TCA press tour — like when Kevin Reilly declared the death of pilot season last January — but on my last day at winter tour, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said something I’d never heard uttered there before: he’d rather be the “best” channel instead of the top-rated one. As I wrote at Adweek,
“Obviously we want as many people as possible to watch our shows, we want them to be as highly rated as possible, but there’s quite a range [of ratings], and we can support that range,” said Landgraf, referring to some of FX’s critically acclaimed, but lower-rated, shows like Louie and The Americans. “We’re not really a channel that’s trying to be the highest-rated channel in television. We’re trying as hard as we possibly can to be the best channel in television, whatever that means. If we weren’t therefore supporting shows that would help us get there, just because [they weren’t among the highest-rated], we’d be idiots.”
While Landgraf is sticking by critically-acclaimed yet low-rated shows like Louie and The Americans, his patience does have its limits, as he explained to me last fall after he canceled The Bridge. He talked about the two-horse race to be the “best” network on TV (look out, HBO!), the glut of programming on television (more than 1,700 original seasons of TV last year!) and the need to break out of a format “dictated by the terms of business.”
I’ve wrapped my Best (& Worst) in 2014 week, but I have one final look back for this year: my Adweek story about which networks made Santa’s naughty and nice lists in 2014. The easiest call by far? NBC, which topped the nice list:
It was a very good year for the Peacock Network, which won the 2013-14 season in 18-49 (a 2.7 average), its first demo victory in 10 years. The network picked up where it left off this fall, where it’s once again leading the pack in 18-49 (thanks largely to Sunday Night Football and The Voice). Not even Peter Pan Live’s disappointing ratings can stall NBC’s momentum, especially with Super Bowl XLIX waiting in the wings on Feb. 1.
And with that, TV & Not TV will be taking a holiday hiatus for a few days (barring breaking news). But we’ll be back at the end of the week with news of an exciting TV appearance this weekend that should mark TV & Not TV’s television debut.
One year after FX Networks announced its landmark deal to secure exclusive cable, VOD and non-linear rights to The Simpsons for FXX, I talked with John Landgraf about how The Simpsons helped save his company’s fledgling network. As I wrote at Adweek,
Not even Landgraf had dared to dream that his near-billion-dollar investment would pay off so quickly. “There’s literally no entertainment channel in the history of cable television that’s done anything like it,” said Landgraf, noting that FXX is still only in 75 million U.S. homes, compared to the 95 million homes that FX, and many of its other competitors, occupy. Thanks to The Simpsons, “FXX is essentially outperforming…and it will be adding 15 of those 20 million over the next two to three years. So I still believe there’s a considerable amount of upside where The Simpsons will ultimately land.”
Landgraf also talked about his risky $750 million bet, the looong rollout of Simpsons World and why (D’oh!) FXX won’t be airing another “Every. Simpsons. Ever.” marathon again.
Best. App. Ever. That’s the early consensus from most of us at TCA summer press tour as FX unveiled Simpsons World, which will allow fans to stream all 552 episodes of The Simpsons, and much, much more.
While John Landgraf had previewed Simpsons World for me earlier this year, this was everyone’s first look at it — and it did not disappoint. At Quartz, I listed five reasons why Simpsons World will change your life — and one reason it might not. Among the five: instant access to every Simpsons episode and clip ever.
Until now, there has never been a way to (legally) stream previous Simpsons seasons. FXX is kicking off its Simpsons run by airing each episode (and The Simpsons Movie) chronologically in a 12-day, round-the-clock marathon. Yet every episode will be available instantly at all times on “Simpsons World,” regardless of which episodes are currently airing on FXX. “Having a space where all of the episodes can be available simultaneously is key,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. (The Simpsons Movie will be available “intermittently,” said FX’s COO and president of program strategy Chuck Saftler.)
Viewers can browse episodes chronologically through each season, and Saftler said he is also working on acquiring the original Simpsons shorts that aired during Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show back in the late ’80s. There will also be a randomizer function that allows you to “spin the bottle and get any episode you want,” said Stephanie Gibbons, president of marketing and on-air promotions, who demoed “Simpsons World” for reporters.
I cannot stress enough how impressive Simpsons World is. This thing looks like a slum dunk.
Woo hoo! At TCA winter press tour, FX Networks announced that it will create a Simpsons app within its FXNOW streaming app that will finally allow fans to stream all 530 episodes of The Simpsons. FX Networks CEO John Landgraf shared more details with me for this Quartz article:
The Simpsons content will be curated in a separate app, which Landgraf said will be “integrated with and linked through” the FXNOW app. The Simpsons app will contain a multitude of Simpsons clips as well as full episodes (all 530 episodes will be available at all times, not cycled through at various intervals), all of which will “be infinitely cross-referenced and sortable and searchable in various different ways,” Landgraf said.
Landgraf also detailed the app’s big catch, which involves authenticated subscribers, and also talks about FXX’s continued search for its own identity apart from sibling FX.