Imagine a world in which the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball all decided to move their seasons to the same time of year. It would be chaos, for fans and the professional sports business alike. And yet, in television, that's essentially what happens during pilot season.
The broadcast networks traditionally order pilots during the first few months of the year. From there, it's a race to find the best actors, hire a crew, build sets and produce a show before May, when the upcoming fall schedules are announced. The field has always been crowded, but this spring, several cable networks and online retailer-turned-programmer Amazon are also developing new shows that they hope will go to series (cable networks typically produce pilots throughout the year, usually avoiding the spring).
At the FX upfront programming presentation Thursday, network chief John Landgraf officially announced plans to launch a new, younger-skewing network called FXX in September.
Fall TV Scorecard: What's renewed? What's canceled?
The new network joins FX and FXM (formerly the Fox Movie Channel) in Fox Cable Networks' suite of channels and will officially launch on Sept. 2. The channel, which Landgraf says will target adults 18-to-34 who love "outrageous characters" and "big laughs," will be bolstered by existing FX comedies It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League and Legit, all of which will now air on the new channel. (In making the announcement, Landgraf officially ordered a second season of Legit, a 10th season of Always Sunny, and a fifth and sixth season of The League).
Also moving to FXX is....
Oprah Winfrey has been named Forbes' most influential person of 2013, topping their list for the second year in a row.
Oscar-winning director Ang Lee will make his television directorial debut with the FX pilot Tyrant, the network announced Wednesday. It will be Lee's first project since Life of Pi, for which he won the Best Director Academy Award last month.
The trend of so-called "hate-watching" is hardly a new TV phenomenon. We've been doing it with the Oscar show for years: picking apart the fashions, groaning at the witless banter, griping as we drift through the seemingly endless midsection where no awards of major consequence are presented, and nearly always regarding the unlucky host as a piñata ripe for the bashing.
This year's tuneful but torturously overextended production (ending just past the three-and-a-half-hour mark) was much the same. With one major exception: The musical numbers were no joke, especially when mighty divas as legendary as Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey and as electrifyingly current as Adele and Jennifer Hudson took the stage. No Rob Lowe-Snow White fiascos this time.
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