While the letters "FX" themselves don't stand for anything, when the channel initially launched by the former 20th Century Fox in 1994, it was stated that the name was short for "Fox Extended", representing an extension of the Fox brand, as well as their aptitude for experimentation.
FX took pride in its early adoption of the internet to interact with viewers (broadcasting hours of live programming from an apartment/studio in New York- including Tom Bergeron as the co-host of Breakfast Time, a Transatlantic Equivalent to The Big Breakfast), but otherwise spent the 1990s running old movies and television shows (their combo of old shows and live programming could be considered a proto-TV Land, mixed with Toronto's Citytv). Its first foray into original scripted programming was The Shield in 2002, which turned out to be a critical and commercial hit, winning a number of Emmys, Golden Globes, and other awards.
FX is notable for being led by executives who are actual television lovers, who give notes that can actually make the show better. It is also famous for mostly producing comedies and dramas that revolve around anti-heroes. This became such a prominent theme that then-network president Kevin Reilly once turned down a new show because it featured yet another anti-hero. That show? Breaking Bad.
Furthering the network's comparisons to premium pay TV networks, FX is known for their uncanny ability to acquire broadcast rights to the most-recent, theatrically-released, blockbuster films. Aside from syndicated sitcoms, these film telecasts form the majority of the network's daily and primetime programming.note
In Fall 2013, FX would expand into a three-network suite, with the launch of the younger-skewing, comedy-oriented FXX note ; and the all-movie FXM becoming a full-time network once again, after the branding was previously relegated to a primetime block for recently released films on what was then known as the Fox Movie Channel.
On March 20th, 2019, The Walt Disney Company would acquire FX Networks as part of a broader deal to purchase the majority of 21st Century Fox's media assets (excluding the Fox network, their Sports and News divisions, and a few other assets). The news was met with divided reactions from the network's fans. Some fear that Disney might slowly let FX rot itself to irrelevance as they focus their attention to their streaming platforms (between establishing Disney+ and integrating Hulu, the latter of which Disney would eventually gain a majority stake and operational control of.note ). Others, including network head John Landgraf, believe the Disney purchase will give FX more resources and allow its programming to compete with Netflix on a level playing field.
Sure enough, then-CEO Bob Iger announced in November 2019 that Hulu would become the new streaming home for all FX programming, with a selection of new original series being produced under the FX on Hulu banner, and on-demand encores of current FX programming becoming available on Hulu immediately after broadcast. Under Disney management, FX Networks have also begun investing in more original content for FXX, of which the network has been lacking in since the end of The League and You're the Worst, and the cancellation of Man Seeking Woman.
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Shows on FX Networks with their own pages:
- American Crime Story
- American Horror Story
- The Americans
- Anger Management
- A Teacher (Premiered on FX on Hulu)
- Archer (Premiered on FX; moved to FXX from season 8 onward)
- Axe Cop (Originally aired on FOX; moved to FXX for season 2)
- The Bastard Executioner
- Better Things
- Black Narcissus
- Brand X With Russell Brand
- The Bridge (US)
- Cake 2019 (Premiered on FXX)
- The Comedians
- Dave (premiered on FXX)
- Devs (Premiered on FX on Hulu)
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Premiered on FX; moved to FXX from season 9 onward)
- The League (Premiered on FX; moved to FXX for seasons 5-7)
- Legit (Premiered on FX; moved to FXX for season 2)
- Lights Out
- Major Lazer (Premiered on FXX)
- Man Seeking Woman (Premiered on FXX)
- Mayans M.C.
- Mr Inbetween
- Mrs. America (Premiered on FX on Hulu)
- Rescue Me
- The Riches
- The Shield
- Son of the Beach
- Sons of Anarchy
- Stone Quackers (Premiered on FXX)
- The Strain
- What We Do in the Shadows
- Wilfred (Premiered on FX; moved to FXX for its final season)
- You're the Worst (Premiered on FX; moved to FXX from season 2 onward)
Shows produced by FX Productions but not airing on FX Networks:
- The Cool Kids (Fox)
- Miracle Workers (TBS)
- One Mississippi (Amazon Prime)
- Perpetual Grace LTD (ePix)
- Wayward Pines (Fox)
Tropes associated with this network:
- Artifact Title: The channel's initials are derived from the Fox network, which it split from after Disney took over. Even as Disney stripped the "Fox" branding from its other newly acquired properties in 2020 (namely 20th Century Fox), it doubled down on the FX name with the "FX on Hulu" crossover initiative. Justified, since FX has successfully developed its own identity separate from the broader Fox name.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The channel now is unrecognizable from the "interactive" and "Fox Gone Cable" eras; no more live shows (minus the occasional sports telecast), old Fox-sourced reruns (from both the TCF library and non-TCF programs aired on Fox), etc. Even as the network evolved, there were still odd things here and there- like sharing baseball coverage that had moved from Fox SportsNet with what was then Fox Family (after they were bought by Disney, that coverage moved to ESPN, with occasional ABC Family telecasts).
- Production Posse: FX often collaborates with creators Shawn Ryan and Kurt Sutter, and has actually given notes in order to put Walton Goggins and Margo Martindale on new shows.
- Stillborn Franchise: Not even two years after launch, FXX would enter a Dork Age in which they had only a smattering of original programming. Save for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Wilfred (which was already ending), and Archer, almost every other comedy that moved to the network from FX has since been cancelled. Its planned expansion into adult animation, outside of reruns of The Simpsons, never manifested as none of the shows from its Thursday night Animation Domination block were renewed and both Cassius and Clay and a planned Deadpool series were scrapped. FXX even briefly drifted into Network Decay when they aired a 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup game due to program conflicts with FS1 and the low distribution of FS2, (marking the first sports program to air on FXX since the network replaced Fox Soccer). At the very least, You're the Worst was a critical success and managed to complete its five-season run. Under Disney, the network has slowly been making a recovery with the introduction of new original shows Cake and Dave, as well as sharing reruns of Fox's animated comedies with Freeform.
- Typecasting: Rare channel example, but FX is well known for their dramas featuring complicated Anti-Heroes. They even turned down Breaking Bad in an attempt to avert this.