FX Upfront Announces Fargo Limited Series and Launch of FXX

TV “upfront” events have been going on in New York City over the past couple of weeks and today, FX Networks’ presentation announced the launch of a new channel called FXX which will be the new home for the network’s long-running comedy series, “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” and “The League.” They’ll anchor the new network with Seasons 9 and 5, respectively, while “Justified” has also been renewed for a fifth season on FX proper.

FX also announced a new 10-episode limited series based on the Coen Brothers’ Oscar-winning crime drama Fargo with four other mini-series to follow from the likes of Sam Mendes, Paul Giamatti, Alexander Payne and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”). Another Oscar winner, Charlie Kaufman, has gotten the order for his own FX comedy pilot called “How and Why” as has “Chozen,” a new comedy from Grant Dekernion, Danny McBride and the team behind HBO’s “Eastbound & Down.”

The “Fargo” limited series adapted by Noah Hawley will be executive produced by Joel and Ethan Coen and Warren Littlefield with production slated to begin this fall for a spring 2014 debut.

The new FXX network will launch on Monday, September 2, 2013, joining FX and FXM, with the three networks probably 25 scripted original series between them.

Here is the press release with more info on the new network:

On Monday, September 2, FX Networks will launch FXX, a new network aimed at young adult viewers, it was announced today by John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks. With the addition of FXX, FX Networks will become a suite of three networks consisting of FX, FXX and FXM.

FXX will be available in 74 million homes in year one, making it one of the most widely distributed entertainment networks ever for an ad-supported cable network in its inaugural year. FXX initially will be built on a foundation of original comedy series, movies and acquired series, and expand to include original drama series, all primarily designed to attract young adults 18-34.

FX, the flagship of FX Networks, will continue to offer award-winning original comedy and drama series, movies and acquired series targeted to Adults 18-49. FX will increase the number of drama series and begin offering limited series and miniseries.

FXM will continue to be home to prestige movies, and related short-form original programming – as its universe grows, it will begin to televise its own limited series and miniseries.

Landgraf said, “This is a landmark day in the almost 20-year history of FX Networks. As we add FXX to become a suite of three channels, FX will remain the foundation of the brand, which is why we chose to include it in the names of each of our three networks. We will maintain the exceptional quality associated with the FX brand, a reputation we have established with consumers through our numerous, award-winning hit comedy and drama series for more than a decade.

“With this expansion, FX, FXX and FXM will specifically target one of the three major adult demos, enabling us to focus on creating passionate engagement across the entire range of adult viewers ages 18 to 54. This will enable the FX Networks to deliver more impressions and gain greater reach across all key adult demos without falling into the ‘all things to all people’ pitfall that plagues broadcast television.

“We are embarking on an incredibly ambitious ramp-up of program development and production required to sustain these networks. I’m very confident that the pilots, projects and talent we have deals with will allow us to double our already best-in-class roster of scripted original series over the next several years. Our three-network platform will enable us to achieve even greater goals and solidify our position as a leader in quality scripted original programming.”

Here’s the press release for the new “Fargo” limited series with quotes from the primary players:

FX has ordered its first limited series, Fargo, from MGM Television. The series is adapted by novelist/writer Noah Hawley from the award-winning film of the same title. Warren Littlefield and Joel & Ethan Coen will serve as Executive Producers on the series, it was announced today by John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks.

FX’s Fargo, a 10-episode limited series inspired by the film, will follow an all-new “true crime” story. The series will follow a new case and new characters, all entrenched in the trademark humor, murder and “Minnesota nice” that has made the film an enduring classic.

“For years, people have tried to adapt this Academy Award®-winning gem into a TV series with no success,” said Landgraf. “I have always loved Fargo and I was skeptical about this as a series, but Noah Hawley’s script made me a believer. This script is so good and so true to the tone of the original movie.”

“MGM Television is thrilled to be producing a fresh and exciting re-envisioning of Fargo for FX’s television audience. With the stellar creative team lead by Noah Hawley, Joel & Ethan Coen and Warren Littlefield, we are re-imagining one of the most iconic titles from MGM’s rich film library,” said Roma Khanna, President Television and Digital, MGM. “FX is the perfect partner for the series and we look forward to working with them on our shared vision of captivating audiences within the unique world of Fargo.”

Written by Noah Hawley (The Unusuals, My Generation) and executive produced by Hawley, Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit, A Serious Man, No Country for Old Men) and Warren Littlefield (The Unusuals), Fargo is produced by MGM Television and FX Productions. MGM Television will be the lead studio and will handle worldwide distribution of the series outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s information on the four planned limited series besides “Fargo”:

Hard on the heels of announcing its first-ever limited series pickup with Fargo, FX Networks has unveiled an ambitious slate of limited run series from some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Mayflower
This series is an unflinching portrait of the Puritan settlers at Plymouth Colony and their uneasy alliance with the local Native Americans. The series will be executive produced by Gil Netter (Life of Pi, The Blind Side) and marks his first foray into television. Serving alongside Netter as Executive Producers are Dan Carey and Paul Giamatti (Sideways, John Adams). Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) are writing the series and executive producing. Produced by FX Productions in association with Touchy Feely Films.

Grand Hotel
In this series, an international luxury hotel in Paris turns into a hellish trap when it becomes the center of a terrorist attack. Written and executive produced by Richard McBrien (Merlin, Wallander), Grand Hotel will also be executive produced by Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, Jarhead), Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty), and Alain & Vassili Clert (Spiral).

Mad Dogs
Based on the British series and written by Cris Cole (Mad Dogs, The Bill), this series follows the reunion of four forty-something guys who head to Belize to visit their old school friend, when things take an unexpected and dark turn. Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Terriers, The Chicago Code) will serve as Executive Producer alongside Cole. Produced by Sony Pictures Television, in association with Left Bank.

Sutton
Based on the novel “Sutton” by J.R. Moeringher, this extraordinary journey begins on Christmas Eve 1969, when Willie “The Actor” Sutton – Irishman, lover, folk hero, and the most prolific bank robber in American history – stepped out of Attica Prison and boarded a plane for New York City, where he proceeded to take a reporter and photographer on a five-borough guided tour of his remarkable life and crimes. Written and executive produced by Rob Siegel (The Wrestler, Big Fan), Sutton will be executive produced by Jim Burke (The Descendants, Cedar Rapids), Michael De Luca (Moneyball, The Social Network), Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways),) and Jim Taylor (The Descendants, Sideways). Produced by FX Productions.

And finally, here’s the press release for the new FX comedy pilots:

FX Networks has ordered two comedy pilots: How And Why from Academy Award winner Charlie Kaufman and Chozen from Grant Dekernion, Danny McBride and the team behind Eastbound & Down, announced John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks.

Academy Award winner Charlie Kaufman, who brought us such brilliantly original films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich returns to half-hour television with How and Why, the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life. Kaufman will write and direct the pilot and serve as executive producer. FX Productions will produce.

Grant Dekernion is writing and executive producing Chozen, an animated comedy about a white rapper, recently out of prison, who uses his new survival skills in his quest for redemption. Danny McBride and Rough House Pictures, the team behind Eastbound & Down, will executive produce along with Floyd County Productions. Characters will be voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan, Michael Pena, Hannibal Buress, Kathryn Hahn, Nick Swardson and Danny McBride. FX Productions will produce.

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