‘Justified’ Gets Fifth Season Order; More ‘Sunny,’ ‘The League’ & ‘Legit’ Too

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FX’s Upfronts are being headlined with a new spinoff network and new series launches, but they also announced a fifth season pickup for its winter flagship show, Justified, which is going to close its fourth season Tuesday, April 2 at 10 PM ET/PT.

EDITOR’S PICK: Justified Season 4 is one of the best yet

This current season of Justified has been marked with a cold case that heats up Harlan County that has all of the parties, whether it’s Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and the U.S. Marshals, the Dixie Mafia, or the series’ version of Bonnie & Clyde, Ava (Joelle Carter) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Each side has their own reason for wanting to capture Drew Thompson and eventually becomes a matter of survival for several players. John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks said that Season 4 is on pace to be the most-watched season of the series yet. Season 5 will begin production in the fall and air on FX in January 2014.

EDITOR’S PICK: EXCLUSIVE Justified Interview with Joelle Carter

That means that at the very least, Raylan Givens is going to survive the season finale. Let’s all hope that Winona and bun in the oven make it out alive too.

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Also receiving new seasons are the comedies headed over to the just-announced FXX Network. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League will lead the charge at the new comedy-centric FXX Network and will each get two new seasons. Both series rank #2 in their time slots in the fall for basic cable, beaten only by NFL Games on Thursday nights on the NFL Network. Also making the move to FXX is the network’s latest hit, Legit featuring stand-up comedian Jim Jefferies, Dan Bakkedahl, and DJ Qualls, which was also renewed for a second season.

FX Launches Comedy-Focused ‘FXX Network’ with ‘Sunny’ & ‘The League’

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With FX’s growing library of original series and movie catalog, the cable network is getting a new sibling, FXX. The new network and the third in the FX stable along with FXM (FX Movies), will launch on Monday, September 2, 2013 to 74 million homes. Focusing on their comedy brand and the adult viewers 18-54, the network will launch with four original series including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Legit, with new seasons and late night show, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which expands to five nights a week. Sunny and The League were announced with two-season pickups each.

“This is a landmark day in the almost 20-year history of FX Networks,” John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks said. “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.”

The fourth scripted comedy was not announced and is potentially a new series launch, either How and Why created by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) or Chosen, a new series created by Danny McBride and Grant Dekernion. In year two, FXX plans to grow to six scripted comedies plus the late night show.

During the daytime, FXX will air movies, as well as reruns of acquired series: Arrested Development, Sports Night, Parks and Recreation, Rescue Me, Freaks and Geeks, and How I Met Your Mother. FX is also creating a mobile app that will allow authenticated subscribers mobile access to FX, FXX, and FXM.

Other comedy series like LouieArcher, Anger Management and Wilfred will remain on FX for now.

What does this all mean? More off-the-wall comedies that will launch with creative minds that don’t fit into the square peg that is network comedy. The expansion is exciting when you consider how healthy FX must be as far as original programming development to need another network. FX has consistently produced the most interesting shows season to season and we’ll be tuned in to new and returning series for sure. Their strategy has been a winning formula so far. By adding another channel to navigate to it does seem like more saturation in the cable networks, but when you consider how many networks offer quality original scripted series, the selections are very few and far between.

It is interesting that Louie, Archer and Wilfred were not brought over but they probably wanted to retain a few recognizable series to help grow Wilfred’s viewing and launch one of the new comedies with Archer next year. Landgraf said that they want to continue to have comedy series as a part of FX and in time, they hope FXX can support dramas in time.

‘The League’ Season 4 Promos Ask How Comfy You Are in Your Fantasy League

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Week 1 of NFL Fooball is now behind us and you know what that means, right? FX’s The League is about to kickoff its fourth season on October 11 at 10:30pm ET/PT with another fantasy football draft. We’ve been hyped to see the new season to see what new vocabulary words we’ll be adding to our fantasy repertoire. Plus we also had this great interview with Nick Kroll (Ruxin) who said this season is going to be “dramatic.” And we also had this quick one with the Shiva her self, Janina Gavankar.

Those clever folks at FX put a pretty good campaign mocking those Brett Favre Levi’s Jean commercials, except in this version, Andre is “comfortable” in his skinny Jeans.  Check out the promos for Season 4 and look for a guest appearance from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. Which one is your favorite?

Promo #1 – Comfy League – How Much Do You Love Your League?

Promo #2 – Comfy Jenny – Who Says Girls Can’t Play Ball?

Promo #3 – Spirits Pete – All’s Fair in Love and Fantasy Football.

Promo #4 – Suggs – Definitely More Comfortable Sacking Quarterbacks.

Promo #5 – Service Ruxin – Get Whipped Back Into Shape.

Promo #6 – Skinny Andre -When Wearing A Jersey on Sunday Afternoon Just Isn’t Enough.

Promo #7 – Expanding Taco – OK, Perhaps He’s Too Comfortable.

Exclusive Interview: Janina Gavankar Gets her Game On with ‘True Blood’ and ‘The League’

She’s bright, beautiful and is a diehard gamer. We caught up with Janina Gavankar, who plays shape-shifter Luna Garza on True Blood and the inspiration for the Shiva Bowl in The League on the red carpet of the FX Maxim Party at Comic-Con.

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In addition to catching up with her shows, Gavankar shared how she spent her week at Geek Prom AKA Comic-Con and what video games have been keeping her busy this year. She’s a mad gamer, and is consumed with the Portal and Assassin’s Creed titles. And if you must ask, yes, she has a Playstation Vita and counting down the days for October 30, when Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation hits the street. After watching our interview, is there any question who Gavangar will dress up at next year’s Comic-Con?

Interview: Nick Kroll is ‘Excited to Get ‘Dramatic’ in ‘The League’ Season 4

What can we expect from the fourth season of The League?

Nick Kroll is ready to “get rid of all the bullshit of dick jokes” and get right down to what’s important – “emotional honesty.”

In this interview with Kroll at Comic Con’s Maxim red carpet, Kroll gives us the ‘straight man’ 411 on the upcoming season of The League, by pushing all jokes aside. He also discusses his upcoming Comedy special and delivers a very poignant message to Ben Schwartz (House of Lies, Parks and Recreation).

Reporter: Ernie Estrella

Chris Rock Brings His Pain and W. Kamau Bell to FX For Late Night Show

chris rock late night fx showComedian Chris Rock signed on the dotted line with the FX network to deliver six, half-hour installments of an untitled late night show premiering this summer. Rock will serve as the show’s executive producer will star fellow stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell as he dissects politics, pop culture, race, religion, the media, and sex.

“The presentation pilot that Chris and Kamau shot was terrific,” said FX Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Nick Grad. “Kamau is a tremendous young comedian who has a very smart and sharp take on life. Working with Chris will only bring out the best of his talents. This series, along with Russell Brand’s Strangely Uplifting, puts FX on really solid footing in the latenight arena.”

It was also announced today that Rock will be appearing in the new Julie Delpy film, “2 Days in New York” that will show at the Tribeca Film Festival in its Spotlight lineup. Rock will play Delpy’s lover meeting her family for the first time. This is a sequel or follow-up to her 2007 film, “2 Days in Paris.”

FX has been assembling an impressive comedy roster over the last two years, showing that there’s more to comedy than what passes for the networks. Rock’s show will be paired with Russell Brand’s Strangely Uplifting, which was also signed for six weeks, and will likely fill out a thursday block of comedy that will include the second season of Wilfred and the third season of Louie. The rest of the FX comedy cart includes The League, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer and Unsupervised.

Rock and FX are no strangers to each other. The comedian appeared on Louie last summer, when Louis C.K.’s character Louie needed someone to pick him in New Jersey late night after a botched affair turned into an awkward threesome proposal. Rock, played himself and picked Louie up, saving him from embarrassment, only to berate and chide him while also getting scolded by Rock’s wife. Louie has been a new TV home for many stand-up veterans so it makes sense that FX expand its relationship with the industry by bringing on Rock and an idea that seems tailor made to his strengths.

No Lockout For ‘The League’ – Raucous Comedy Earns Fourth Season

Thank the football gods for one thing–and no I’m not talking about Tim Tebow–we will have another season of The League to kick around next fall. Actually we have FX to thank, otherwise we’d have nothing but over-the-counter network comedies to watch to laugh all of our sorrows away. While there are some terrific network shows, most lack the strong dosage to get you through your evening–sometimes you just need some high grade black market laughs. With its fourth season renewal, The League stands tall next to FX’s lineup of comedies that already include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Louie, Wilfred, and Archer. The basic cable network plans to launch animated Unsupervised during its midseason schedule in January.

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FX announced Thursday that they have ordered 13 more episodes of the vulgar comedy, which has increasingly grown its audience each season. In this third campaign, The League is averaging 1.7 million total viewers and 1.5 million (88%) of that in the key 18-49 demographic. Those numbers are 25% and 32%  higher, respectively, in comparison to Season 2.

The League is created and written by the husband-and-wife team, Jeff and Jackie Schaffer who not only know how to craft an original comedy, they also know their way around the gridiron. They’ve got a killer cast that includes Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Mark Duplass, Katie Aselton, Stephen Rannazzisi and Jon Lajoie who have expanded the series profile by guest-starring on other shows and taking the show on tour with The League Live.

Kroll appeared on Parks and Recreation and Community this fall while Scheer is the star on the live-action Adult Swim comedy, NTSF:SD:SUV. Both Kroll and Scheer are recurring characters in Children’s Hospital and Scheer recently appeared on ABC’s Happy Endings. While both continue to gain notoriety, the ensemble cast of The League is the perfect fantasy team, delivering crass laughs spurred on by acts of sexual perversion, get rich quick schemes, the ruthless mocking all religions and nationalities, failures in dating, marriage, and parenting and how all of it fits around the passion for fantasy football.

Earlier seasons of The League were highlighted by some surprising guest-star spots by current NFL players mid-season including current players Maurice Jones-Drew, Chad Ochocinco, and Hall of Fame quarterback/broadcaster, Terry Bradshaw to name just a few, but now big comedians and actors have pounded down the door to be involved. They included Seth Rogen, Eliza Dushku, Sarah Silverman, Jeff Goldblum, Ray Liotta, and Will Forte. There are two episodes remaining in Season 3; be sure to catch them Thursdays on FX at 10:30 PM ET/PT.

Alright, everyone join in with me in celebration: “Shi-va-ka-mini-So-ma-kan-dark-ram…”

Blast Off #3: Kim Kardashian America, Casting the Perfect Series & What’s Hot in November TV

The third Team Focus Blast Off is here, featuring Ernie Estrella.

This week, following the latest Kardashian fiasco divorce, we explore the the changing landscape of reality TV versus narrative TV. There was a time when people could say “there is nothing good on TV.” Is that still the case? And, has reality TV stolen the thunder from scripted comedies and dramas?

We also discuss what it means to cast the perfect series, discussing shows like Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, White Collar, and many more – while diving back into classics like The Wire. We also check out leading showrunners like Shawn Ryan and discuss what it means for networks to stunt cast.

Finally, we get into November TV, checking out all the stories that are heating up on cable and broadcast, including The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Sons of Anarchy, The League, Gossip Girl, Revenge and much more.

Click here to listen to the Team Focus Blast Off. Click here to Subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes.

Enjoy!

‘It’s Always Sunny’ & ‘Archer’ Creators Team Up For New FX Animated Series ‘Unsupervised’

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Get ready for the next adult animated comedy hit show. FX placed an order Thursday for 13 episodes of a new animated series called Unsupervised (working title) that is created by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia writers and producers Rob Rosell, Scott Marder and David Hornsby. FX Productions will co-produce the series with It’s Always Sunny stars/writers/executive producers Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton under their banner company RCG Productions. They will team up with the animators and executive producers of Archer, Adam Reed and Matt Thompson. Unsupervised will premiere in January, paired with Archer for its third season.

FX describes Unsupervised as “a comedy about optimistic best friends Gary and Joel navigating the harsh landscape of teenage life and trying to do what’s right without any parental guidance whatsoever.” FX is carving its own unique empire of extremely well-written dark comedies, expanding their already rich TV lineup of dramatic series. There may be nothing to see yet of Unsupervised, but since we’re already familiar with the talent involved one can already imagine what the show will look like and hear the laughs that will commence in the new year.

The voice cast for Unsupervised boasts an impressive cast that includes Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Heroes), Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Justin Long (Live Free or Die Hard), Romany Falco (No Ordinary Family), Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), and Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live). This is FX’s second animated series and sixth comedy series joining Louie, Wilfred, The League, Archer, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Speaking of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the seventh season premiered Thursday night at 10PM ET/PT along with a special three-week run of Archer (all new episodes) at 10:30PM ET/PT. After the three-week run, The League‘s third season premieres and fills the 10:30PM ET/PT slot on October 6.

FX Press Tour: ‘The League’ Cast Talks NFL Lockout Contigency Plans

The cast and executive producers of the FX sitcom The League spoke to reporters at The Beverly Hilton on Saturday about their upcoming third season. But what would have happened if the NFL lockout had continued?

Co-Creator Jeff Schaffer answered: “We had a Plan A: do the show. Plan B was ‘what if there was no football?’ The guys would have lost their minds. And Poor Andre (Paul Scheer) would have put all of his money in Fantasy NBA.”

Co-Creator Jackie Schaffer revealed something that happened in to writers’ room: “to be honest, while writing Season Three, we realized that we can do the show without football.” Mr. Schaffer then added: “the question back then would have been ‘can these guys still be friends without football?’”

Mrs. Schaffer then said fans of The League will be pretty pleased about one development: “Dirty Randy will be in the season premiere and he’ll be played by Seth Rogan.”

The 3rd season of The League debuts on FX on Thursday, October 6th at 10:30pm Eastern.