FX Network Chief Dishes On ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ ‘American Horror Story,’ And The Downfall Of Network TV

01.15.14 4 years ago 24 Comments

Quick survey: How many of you out there watch your favorite shows online? For those who watch shows on TV, who actually watches the commercials?

Although the rise of digital media ventures such as Hulu and HBO Go may seem to be the saving grace of TV, actual ad package purchases continue to be their lifeblood, something that could pose big problems for the future according to FX Networks Chief John Landgraf in a recent sitdown with the TV Critics Association.

Take a show like Sons of Anarchy, one of their biggest hits:

Sons Of Anarchy, he noted, averaged more than 5 million demo viewers in Live +7, but only 2 million who watched live and only 3 million who watched the ads. “We need to find new opportunities to mitigate those losses,” he warned.

Considering most traditional advertisers want big numbers, only having 60% of a show’s viewership eventually watching a spot for your product almost makes TV advertising not even worth it.

For Landgraf, the solution is a blended one – finally giving people a true TV experience online, but probably with forced ads that cannot be skipped. As well, he believes in letting the smartest show-creators, like Louis C.K. do their thing:

 “I don’t think Louie needs my input. He’s (Louis C.K.) fine without it.  Some of you love Louie – some might not. But clearly those shows are somebody’s cup of tea.”

Considering Louis has been given the greenlight to create more shows, apparently so.

An even bigger success for FX is American Horror Story, whose creator Ryan Murphy can basically do what he wants at this point, as evidenced by the last episode which featured Stevie Nicks, for some reason:

“Ultimately I’m waiting for Ryan [Murphy] to tell me” what’s going to happen. Other than that, he’s not sure what the next season of one of his most important franchises has in store.

“Ryan has virtual carte blanche at this point to do whatever he wants to do. That really is his baby and while I and others at the company still read scripts and look at rough cuts and give the occasional notes, we don’t have very much input. We don’t really see any reason.” Landgraf noted that every season the show’s ratings have improved – Coven’s ratings grew 60% compared to Asylum and it’s one of the top-rated programs in the network’s history. But “he’s eventually going to make something that’s weaker than the previous season and I don’t think that matters. The exciting thing about the form is every season is new.”

Compared to controlled networks like NBC, whose ratings continue to tank, the success of networks like FX, according to Landgraf lies in:

“mak[ing] it really good for somebody, not pretty good for everybody.”

via Yahoo, Image via Getty Images

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