Oh, the network slogan is true! Watch Fox and be damned for all eternity!
Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch
came to America in the 1980s in order to buy out the 20th Century Fox
film studio and give it a sibling TV network. Murdoch purchased the Metromedia group of six independent stations in New York City
, Los Angeles
, Dallas-Fort Worth
, Washington, DC
, and Houston
to serve as the nucleus of the network.
Some of these stations had formerly been a part of the Du Mont
Network, which came on the air in the late '40s as the nation's third television network. Several problems, like ownership complications, problems keeping talent, and NBC and CBS making sure that they got all the good stations, did it in slowly. Du Mont
was finished off by the quick rise of ABC
in 1954 from an also-ran to a money-making also-ran who could hang in there patiently. For the next thirty years, all attempts at creating a fourth television network (not counting PBS
, which nobody does anyway, since it operates on a completely different business model and doesn't have the same production woes as other networks) were met with little success, and most of the former group of Du Mont
stations ended up part of Metromedia, which eventually began to run strong independent stations from the '60s and into the '70s and '80s.
However, Rupert Murdoch had plenty of clout (and cash) on his side, and unlike the failed leaders of fourth networks past, was bound and determined to make Fox successful. By purchasing the Metromedia stations, he could easily influence other stations in other markets to give Fox a try, and have owned-and-operated stations that always cleared the network's programming, no matter what (with the possible exception of breaking news). He had to forfeit his Australian citizenship due to regulations disallowing foreign investors from owning more than a small part of an American television station or networks, meaning he was "all in" on a bet that a fourth network could attain success. Fox would make or break him.
network began broadcasts in 1986 in Late Night
with the Late Show with Joan Rivers
, but it was more of a whimper than a bang. Johnny Carson disowned
his former guest host Rivers completely, providing a kiss of death (she was never forgiven by Carson) to the show before it ever began. She lasted less than a year before the show would die a slow death with guest hosts. (Among them was Arsenio Hall, who became popular enough to sign a syndication deal with Paramount after the end of the series.) Fox has never done well in late night and eventually gave the time back to their affiliates to run mainly Seinfeld
reruns (after The Wilton-North Report
nearly broke up the network completely), and the less said about Chevy Chase's short run on Fox, the better
Fox truly launched in April 1987 in primetime, making its name with edgy, risque TV shows like The Simpsons
, Married... with Children
, Beverly Hills 90210
, In Living Color!
, and the pioneering Reality Show COPS
. In 1993, they shocked the industry by picking up the NFC
contract for over a billion dollars. The network then signed up with stations owned by New World Communications
, owner of stations in several NFC markets (it had previously been Storer Communications of Toledo, Ohio
, a major owner of TV stations, distribution firms and cable systems, only for the stations and distribution assets to be sold to the remnants of New World Pictures, once a B-Movie company started by Roger Corman
, then the former owners of Marvel Comics
). While ABC
were hurt by this loss, it had truly devastating effects on CBS
, who had to move to lower-tier UHF stations in several cities (such as channel 46 in Atlanta
, initially set to affiliate with The WB
, channel 58 in Milwaukee
and channel 62 in Detroit
). To add insult to injury, Fox also signed over football commentators from CBS in addition to plundering its affiliates. The combination of the New World deal and the football contract in the early '90s were responsible for cementing Fox's status as being on par to the three major networks, and sent CBS into a Dork Age
that it would take a decade to get out of.
Today, thanks to the success of American Idol
, Fox is running neck-and-neck with a now-resurgent CBS for first place in the ratings, eliminating any doubt as to its position on American television. The network is often stereotyped (rightfully or wrongly) for being overly trigger-happy in terms of cancelling shows
, which has been mocked by Family Guy
, among others
Another source of controversy surrounding Fox, alluded to above, is that its content has historically pushed far more boundaries
than its broadcast competition, making it a frequent target of Moral Guardians
(ironic, considering their news division's reputation
). The Simpsons
character Bart Simpson was seen as promoting juvenile delinquency, Married... with Children
was subject to a boycott attempt by a Michigan housewife
due to its raunchy content (which only increased its ratings
), and trashy reality shows
like The Swan
, Married by America
, Temptation Island
and Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?
managed to disgust nearly everyone. In The Nineties
, Fox was also famous for running shockumentaries
like the When Animals Attack!
specials and World's Wildest Police Videos
.Fox News Channel
also dominates cable news
, coming in as the number-one rated cable news network in 2007, hosting the number-one rated cable news Talk Show
, The O'Reilly Factor
(which has held the spot for one hundred months in a row), and grossing more viewers than the other cable news networks combined. However, it is always important to note that Fox and Fox News are completely different operations, and even some of the network's affiliates go out of their way to make sure that viewers know that in their local news coverage. Fox News Sunday
, however, is a staple of Sunday mornings on the network, and State of the Union Addresses and Presidential election coverage on the network are produced by Fox News. Sister cable network Fox Business Network is a Spirited Competitor
to CNBC with a much deeper pro-business slant.Fox Kids
utterly dominated children's television throughout The Nineties
, and they, Kids' WB!
, and The Disney Afternoon
waged war for the hearts and minds of American children through what could be considered one of the finest and last moments for children's broadcast television programming. Unfortunately, the block suffered as a result of the New World deal; most of the new VHF affiliates didn't want anything to do with the block, especially the weekday afternoon portion. Most of these stations would find new affiliations as well, either with the network Fox displaced, or with the fledgling UPN
or The WB
, resulting in Fox Kids either being time-shifted or relegated to smaller independent stations in many markets. Fox would then buy the Family Channel
in 1997, but, without a clear strategy for either Fox Kids or Fox Family, both would be doomed. By 2001 Fox had sold out most of the Fox Kids library and Fox Family itself to Disney and ended the broadcast block in 2002. For the next six years the time was leased out to 4Kids Entertainment
, until a conflict between the two ended in a breakup and 4Kids taking their ball to The CW
, leaving the Saturday morning time to a network-programmed block of Infomercials
which is completely ignored by everyone, including, it seems, Fox.
Fox, through their cable division, also runs a number of general networks, including f(x)
, the FX/Fox Movie Channel (which is like Turner Classic Movies, but with solely older films from the Twentieth Century Fox libraries during the day as Fox Movie Channel, and recent films and more commercials during the night as FX Movie Channel), and the National Geographic Channels, both the original network and National Geographic Wild, which replaced the Fox Reality Channel. Spanish viewers are targeted with the upstart Utilisima network, and since August 13, 2012, the broadcast Mundo Fox network, which draws from the network's deep reserve of Latin American and European Spanish programming.
Fox also owns a number of regional sports networks, most of which are now branded "Fox Sports (insert region here)" (previously branded as "FS(insert region or name of team being broadcast here)", with some owned by DirecTV under the branding Root Sports
). They also ran Fox Soccer Channel (which would later morph into a comedy-oriented spinoff of FX, FXX, in September 2013), but still run Fox Soccer Plus, which broadcasts portions of the English Premier League
, Series A, Barcelona FC and UEFA Champions League, along with both Sky News and Sky Sports News in the hopes that the beautiful game will catch on in America eventually, a bet that paid off, as Fox will be the US English language broadcaster of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup
. Also owned by Fox is Fox Sports 1, a new all-sports network seeking to challenge ESPN's dominance (it was previously known as Speed/SPEED Channel (and, before that, Speedvision), and was more known as NASCAR
's official network), and companion network Fox Sports 2, which was previously known as Fuel TV, and showed mainly extreme sports. In 2011, Fox began carrying the UFC
, which is considered a major step in legitimizing that sport further, and sees some programming on Fox Sports 1 and 2.
On a smaller note, Fox also has their hands in radio via Clear Channel
, which distributes two networks from them; Fox News Radio, which provides a traditional radio news service to radio stations with FNC anchors, along with a few full-fledged talk shows. Fox Sports Radio is the Spirited Competitor
to the larger ESPN
Radio, with mainly sports talk, but no play-by-play rights outside of local stations affiliated to them which have their region's teams. There is a simulcast of the audio portion of Fox NFL Sunday
. A lesser program, Fox All Access
, was one of those weekend shows that aired on pop music stations and plays current tracks and promotes Fox shows and films; it used to promote Fox Kids
programming (known as the Fox Kids Countdown) until that block's passing in 2002, and finally faded away in June 2012.
The Fox name is used for several Murdoch-owned channels across the world, including the British/Irish channels Fox and Fox+, and the Fox Life suite of channels in Europe and South America. In Australia, the name is used both for the FoxTel cable and satellite television service (quarter-owned by News Corporation) and their general entertainment cable network, which is sandwiched between Seven Network
and Nine Network
and named Fox 8 in an attempt to establish parity between them and the broadcast networks, as well as an Australian version of Fox Sports.
Shows on Fox:
- 21 Jump Street, one of the very first shows on the network. Also the first acting gig for Johnny Depp.
- Alien Nation
- Allen Gregory
- Ally McBeal
- Almost Human
- American Dad! (seasons 1-10)
- America's Most Wanted (seasons 1-23)
- American Idol
- Arrested Development
- Axe Cop
- The Ben Stiller Show
- Beverly Hills 90210
- Bob's Burgers
- Boston Public
- The Centsables
- City Hunters (Also a co-producer with AXE products, on the FOX Latin American Channels)
- The Cleveland Show: Spin-off of Family Guy
- Cops (seasons 1-26)
- Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
- Dark Angel
- Family Guy: Now the second-longest running animated sitcom on the network, thanks to the cancellation of King of the Hill and American Dad! moving to TBS.
- The Following
- Fortune Hunter
- Free Ride
- Futurama (seasons 1-5; the movies are made-for-DVD and the rest of the series aired on Comedy Central)
- Gang Related
- Get a Life
- Golan The Insatiable: Featured on Animation Domination High-Definition
- Greg the Bunny (first season only)
- Hells Kitchen
- High School USA!: Featured on Animation Domination High-Definition
- Hotel Hell
- In Living Color!: The network's first Sketch Comedy show. Also the first (successful) acting gig for Jim Carrey (who, prior to ILC was a struggling stand-up comic who was passed up for Saturday Night Live and starred in the short-lived sitcom The Duck Factory). A revival was planned for this show in 2012, but test audience reaction was negative and the project has been shelved.
- The Inside
- Joe Millionaire (2003) and The Next Joe Millionaire (later the same year)
- Kindred: The Embraced
- King of the Hill: The second longest-running animated sitcom on the network (13 seasons from 1997 to 2009note . Family Guy is currently tied with this show for second longest-running cartoon.
- Kitchen Nightmares
- MA Dtv: The longest-running sketch comedy series on FOX and Saturday Night Live's longest-running rival show at 14 seasons (1995-2009).
- Malcolm in the Middle
- Married by America (2003)
- Married... with Children: The network's longest-running live-action sitcom. Was the first acting gig for Ed O'Neill (now on Modern Family as a dad, but not the kind that his character Al Bundy was), Katey Sagal (now on Sons of Anarchy, but, outside of playing Peg Bundy, was also known as the voice of Turanga Leela on Futurama), David Faustino (who now does voicework on Legend Of Korra), and Christina Applegate (who now does Broadway). Also considered the only show in American television not to have Jumped the Shark thanks to the addition of Ted McGinley (whose appearances made Happy Days and The Love Boat suffernote ).
- Master Chef
- The Mindy Project
- My Big Fat Obnoxious FiancÚ (2004)
- Napoleon Dynamite
- New Girl
- New York Undercover
- Party of Five
- The Pitts
- The PJs (first two seasons; the rest of the episodes aired on The WB)
- Prison Break
- Raising Hope
- Red Band Society
- The Simpsons: The longest-running animated series ever, not just on FOX, but also American television. Also one of the most popular and most profitable shows on the network.
- Sit Down, Shut Up
- Sleepy Hollow
- So You Think You Can Dance
- Strange Luck
- The Street
- Surviving Jack
- Temptation Island (2001)
- Terra Nova
- That '70s Show
- The Tick
- Til Death
- Titus: A short-lived sitcom about the dysfunctional life and times of stand-up comedian Christopher Titus. Despite being canceled, the show has a cult following.
- Tru Calling
- The War At Home
- Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? (2000)
- The X Factor
- The X-Files