Fox Broadcasting Company

Fox Broadcasting Company


The Fox Broadcasting Company, is an American
commercial broadcast television network that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group division
of 21st Century Fox. It’s the world’s third largest major network.
Launched on October 9, 1986 as a competitor to longer-established networks ABC, NBC and
CBS, Fox went on to become the most successful venture at a fourth television network, becoming
the highest-rated broadcast network in the 18–49 demographic from 2004 to 2012 and
earning the position as the most-watched network in the United States overall during the 2007–08
season. The Fox Broadcasting Company and its affiliated
companies operate many entertainment channels in international markets, although these do
not necessarily air the same programming as the U.S. network. Most viewers in Canada have
access to at least one U.S.-based Fox affiliate, although most of Fox’s primetime programming
is subject to simultaneous substitution regulations imposed by the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission to protect rights held by domestically based networks.
The network is named after sister company 20th Century Fox, and indirectly for producer
William Fox, who founded one of the movie studio’s predecessors, Fox Film. Fox is a
member of the North American Broadcasters Association and the National Association of
Broadcasters. History
Origins 20th Century Fox had been involved in television
production as early as the 1950s, producing several syndicated programs during this era.
In November 1956, the studio purchased a 50% interest in the NTA Film Network, an early
syndicator of films and television programs. Following the demise of the DuMont Television
Network that year, NTA was launched as a new “fourth network”. 20th Century Fox would also
produce original content for the NTA Network. The film network effort would fail after a
few years, but Fox continued to dabble in television through its production arm, TCF
Television Productions, producing series such as Perry Mason for the three major broadcast
television networks. 1980s: Establishment of the network
Foundations The Fox network’s foundations were laid in
March 1985 through News Corporation’s $250 million purchase of a 50% interest in TCF
Holdings, the parent company of the 20th Century Fox movie studio. In May 1985, News Corporation
agreed to pay $2.55 billion to acquire independent television stations in six major U.S. cities
from the John Kluge-run broadcasting company Metromedia: WNEW-TV in New York City, WTTG
in Washington, D.C., KTTV in Los Angeles, KRIV-TV in Houston, WFLD-TV in Chicago, and
KRLD-TV in Dallas. A seventh station, ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston, was part of the
original transaction but was spun off to the Hearst Broadcasting subsidiary of the Hearst
Corporation in a separate, concurrent deal as part of a right of first refusal related
to that station’s 1982 sale to Metromedia. Beginning of the network
In October 1985, 20th Century Fox announced its intentions to form a fourth television
network which would compete with ABC, CBS and NBC. The plans were to use the combination
of the Fox studios and the former Metromedia stations to both produce and distribute programming.
Organizational plans for the network were held off until the Metromedia acquisitions
cleared regulatory hurdles. Then, in December 1985, Rupert Murdoch agreed to pay $325 million
to acquire the rest of the studio from his original partner, Marvin Davis. The purchase
of the Metromedia stations was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in March
1986; the call letters of the New York City and Dallas outlets were subsequently changed
respectively to WNYW and KDAF. These first six stations, then broadcasting to 22% of
the nation’s households, became known as the Fox Television Stations group.
The Fox Broadcasting Company debuted on October 9, 1986. Its first program was a late-night
talk show, The Late Show, which was hosted by legendary comedienne Joan Rivers. After
a strong start, the show quickly eroded in the ratings; by early 1987, Rivers had quit
The Late Show and the program began to be hosted by a succession of guest hosts. After
that point, some stations that affiliated with the network in the weeks before the April
1987 primetime launch, such as WCGV-TV in Milwaukee, signed affiliation agreements with
Fox on the condition that they would not have to carry The Late Show due to the program’s
ratings weakness. The network expanded its programming into
primetime on April 5, 1987, with the premieres of the sitcom Married… with Children and
the sketch comedy series The Tracey Ullman Show. Fox added one new show per week over
the next several weeks, with the drama 21 Jump Street, and comedies Mr. President and
Duet completing its Sunday schedule. Beginning on July 11, the network rolled out its inaugural
Saturday night schedule with the two-hour movie premiere of Werewolf; over the next
three weeks, the series The New Adventures of Beans Baxter, Karen’s Song and Down and
Out in Beverly Hills were added to the Saturday lineup. Both Karen’s Song and Down and Out
in Beverly Hills were canceled by the start of the 1987–88 television season, the network’s
first fall launch, and were replaced by Second Chance and Women in Prison.
In regards to its late night lineup, the network had already decided to cancel The Late Show,
and had a replacement series called The Wilton North Report in development, when the show
began a ratings resurgence with its final guest host, comedian Arsenio Hall. Wilton
North lasted just a few weeks, however, and the network was unable to reach a deal with
Hall to return when it hurriedly revived The Late Show in early 1988. The show went back
to guest hosts again, eventually selecting Ross Shafer as its permanent host, only for
it to be canceled for good by October 1988, while Hall signed a deal with Paramount Television
to develop his own syndicated late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show.
The network added a third night of programming, on Mondays, at the start of the 1989-90 television
season. The following year, two additional nights of programming were added on Thursdays
and Fridays; halfway through the 1992-93 season, Fox expanded its programming to all seven
nights on January 19, 1993 with the expansion of its primetime lineup to Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The 1989-90 season also featured a midseason replacement series, The Simpsons; ranked at
a three-way tie for 29th place in the Nielsen ratings, it became the first Fox series to
break the Top 30. That year, Fox also first introduced its Saturday night combination
of Cops and America’s Most Wanted, which would be staples on the network for just over two
decades. Unlike the three larger networks, which air
prime time programming from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Saturdays and 7:00 to
11:00 p.m. on Sundays, Fox has traditionally avoided programming the 10:00 p.m. hour except
for special film presentations which by virtue of their running time must spill over into
the 10:00 p.m. hour and overruns from live sports telecasts, leaving that hour to affiliates
to program locally. However, the network did schedule programming in the 10:00 p.m. hour
on Sunday nights between 1989 and 1993, but never added programming at that hour on any
other night. Except for KDAF, all of the original owned-and-operated
stations are still part of the Fox network today. Clarke Ingram, who maintains a memorial
website to the failed DuMont Television Network, has suggested that Fox is a revival or at
least a linear descendant of DuMont, since Metromedia was spun off from DuMont and Metromedia’s
television stations formed the nucleus of the Fox network. WNYW and WTTG were two of
the three original owned-and-operated stations of the DuMont network.
1990s: Rise into mainstream success and beginnings of rivalry with the Big Three
Fox survived where DuMont and other attempts to start a fourth network failed because it
programmed just under the number of hours to be legally considered a network by the
FCC. This allowed Fox to make money in ways forbidden to the established networks, since
during its first years it was considered to be merely a large group of stations. By comparison,
DuMont was hampered by numerous regulatory roadblocks, most notably a ban on acquiring
more stations – during an era when the FCC had much tighter ownership limits for television
stations than it did when Fox launched – since its minority owner, Paramount Pictures owned
two television stations. Combined with DuMont’s three television stations, this put DuMont
at the legal limit at the time. Also, Murdoch was more than willing to open his wallet to
get and keep programming and talent. DuMont, in contrast, operated on a shoestring budget
and was unable to keep the programs and stars it had. Most of the other startup networks
that launched in later years followed this model as well.
Although Fox was growing rapidly as a network and had established itself as a presence,
it was still not considered a major competitor to the established “Big Three” broadcast networks,
ABC, CBS and NBC. Until the early 1990s, when Fox expanded its programming to additional
nights and outside of primetime, most Fox stations were still essentially independent
stations – filling their schedules with mainly first-run and acquired programming,
and during primetime, running either syndicated programming or more commonly, movies on nights
when network programs did not air. Luring the NFL and affiliation switches
The network would become a viable competitor to the “Big Three” when Fox lured the partial
broadcast television rights to the National Football League away from CBS in December
1993. Fox signed a multi-million dollar contract to broadcast regular season and playoff games
from the National Football Conference; it also lured Pat Summerall, John Madden, Dick
Stockton, Matt Millen, James Brown and Terry Bradshaw from CBS Sports to staff its NFL
coverage. Shortly afterward, News Corporation began buying more television station groups.
The first was its July 1996 acquisition of New World Communications, which had signed
an affiliation deal with Fox in May 1994. The NFC deal, in fact, was the impetus for
the affiliation deal with New World; many of New World’s stations were longstanding
CBS affiliates, three others were affiliated with either ABC or NBC. With significant market
share for the first time ever and the rights to the NFC, Fox firmly established itself
as the nation’s fourth major network. Later, in August 2000, Fox bought several
stations owned by Chris-Craft Industries and its subsidiaries BHC Communications and United
Television for $5.5 billion. This made Fox one of the largest television station owners
in the United States. Evolving programming
The early and mid-1990s saw the launch of several soap opera-style primetime dramas
aimed at younger audiences that became quick hits: Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place
and Party of Five, as well as several series aimed at a black audience such as Living Single,
Martin and New York Undercover. September 1993 saw the heavy promotion and debut of
a short-lived western series that incorporated science-fiction elements, The Adventures of
Brisco County, Jr. However, it was the Friday night show that debuted immediately following
it, The X-Files, that would find long-lasting success, and would become Fox’s first series
to crack Nielsen’s year-end Top 20 most-watched network programs.
The sketch comedy series In Living Color created many memorable characters. It has also gained
prominence for its programming stunt when Fox broadcast a live, special episode of In
Living Color in 1992 as an alternative for the halftime show during the Super Bowl XXVI
broadcast by rival network CBS, marking the start of the rivalry of Fox with the ‘Big
Three’ U.S. networks. MADtv, another sketch comedy series that debuted in 1995, became
a solid competitor to NBC’s Saturday Night Live for over a decade and the network’s most
successful show on Saturday nights; MADtv ended its run in 2009 after 14 seasons.
As it gradually expanded its primetime schedule towards carrying a full week’s worth of programming,
the network’s added offerings included the scheduling of breakout hit The Simpsons opposite
veteran NBC comedy The Cosby Show as part of Fox’s initial Thursday night lineup in
the fall of 1990 after only a half-season of success on Sunday nights. The show performed
well in its new Thursday night slot, spending four seasons there and helping to launch Martin,
another Fox comedy that became a hit when it debuted in September 1992. The Simpsons
returned to Sunday nights in the fall of 1994, and has remained there ever since.
An attempt to make a larger effort to program Saturday nights by moving Married…with Children
and adding a new but short-lived sitcom to the night at the beginning of the 1996–97
season backfired with the public, as it resulted in a short cancellation of America’s Most
Wanted that was criticized by law enforcement and public officials, and was roundly rejected
by viewers, which brought swift cancellation to the newer series. Married… – which
became the network’s longest-running live-action sitcom at 11 seasons – quickly returned
to its previous Sunday timeslot; both it and Martin would end their runs at the end of
the 1996–97 season. Two months later, a revised schedule featuring one new and one
encore episode of COPS, and the revived America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back was launched.
Cops and AMW had for many years remained the anchors of the network’s Saturday schedule,
making it the most stable night in American broadcast television for over 14 years, as
well as making both shows among the seldom few first-run primetime programs on Saturdays
across the four major networks after decreasing primetime viewership – as more people opted
to engage in leisure activities away from home rather than watch television on Saturdays
– led ABC, NBC and CBS to largely abandon first-run series on that night in favor of
reruns and movies by the mid-2000s. America’s Most Wanted ended its 23-year run on Fox in
June 2011, and was subsequently picked up by Lifetime; Cops, in turn, would move to
Spike in 2013, leaving sports and repeats of reality and drama series as the only programs
airing on Fox on Saturday evenings. By the 1997–98 season, Fox had three shows
in the Nielsen Top 20, The X-Files, King of the Hill and The Simpsons. Building around
its flagship animated comedy The Simpsons, Fox has become relatively successful with
animated series; its first animated success after The Simpsons, the Mike Judge-produced
King of the Hill debuted in 1997; Family Guy and Futurama would make their debuts in 1999,
however they were respectively canceled in 2002 and 2003. However due to strong DVD sales
and highly rated cable reruns on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, Fox decided to commission new
episodes of Family Guy, which began airing in 2005. Futurama would be revived with four
direct-to-DVD films between 2007 and 2009 and would return as a first-run series in
2010 on Comedy Central, only to be cancelled again three years later. Less successful efforts
included The Critic, which starred Jon Lovitz of Saturday Night Live fame, and The PJs.
Other notable shows that debuted in the late 1990s included the quirky live-action dramedy
Ally McBeal and period sitcom That ’70s Show, the latter of which became Fox’s second-longest-running
live-action sitcom, airing for eight seasons. Throughout the 1990s and into the next decade,
Fox launched a slate of cable channels beginning with the launches of general entertainment
network FX and movie channel FXM: Movies from Fox in 1994; this was followed by the debut
of Fox News Channel in 1996. Its sports operations expanded with the acquisition of a controlling
interest in several regional sports networks during the mid-1990s to form Fox Sports Net,
its 2000 purchase of Speed Channel, and the launches of Fox Sports World and Fox Sports
en Espanol in the early 2000s. 2000s: Rise to leadership in national ratings,
breakthrough with American Idol and fierce rivalry with CBS
By 2000, many staple Fox shows of the 1990s had ended their runs. During this time, Fox
put much of its efforts into producing reality fare – many of which were considered to
be sensationalistic and controversial in nature – such as Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?,
Temptation Island, Married by America and Joe Millionaire, as well as video clip shows
such as World’s Wildest Police Videos and When Animals Attack!. After shedding most
of these programs, Fox gradually filled its lineup with acclaimed dramas such as 24, The
O.C., House and Bones, and comedies such as The Bernie Mac Show, Malcolm in the Middle
and Arrested Development. In 2000, Fox acquired the right to broadcast
NASCAR, as part of a deal that also involved NBC, and TNT. By 2005, Fox’s most popular
show by far was the talent competition series American Idol, the first program from Fox
network to crack the Nielsen Top 10, which had audiences peaking up to 38 million viewers
during the 2002–03 season finale, averaging almost 31 million from 2006 to 2007 and becoming
the nation’s highest-rated program starting with the 2003–04 season. House, airing after
Idol on Tuesday nights and having had a successful run of summer repeats in 2005, positioned
itself as a top-ten hit during the 2005–06 season.
Since 2004, CBS and Fox, the two most watched TV networks in 2000s, tend to equal in demographics
among general viewership in the United States, with CBS and Fox winning selected demographics
by narrow margins. However, Fox hit a milestone in February 2005 by scoring its first-ever
sweeps victory in total viewership and demographic ratings. This was largely due to the broadcast
of Super Bowl XXXIX, but also due to the strength of American Idol, 24, House and The O.C. By
the end of the 2004–05 television season, Fox ranked at first place among all broadcast
networks for the first time in its history among the demographic most appealing to advertisers
of adults 18–49 years old. Another milestone came on May 21, 2008, Fox took the first place
crown in total viewership for the first time, based on the strength of Super Bowl XLII and
American Idol. Near the end of the 2000s, Fox launched a
few series that proved to be powerful hits in different respects. In 2008, Fringe debuted
to high ratings and critical acclaim during its first season on Tuesdays; though its viewership
declined through its run, the series developed a large loyal fanbase/cult following that
had turned the show into a cult favorite. In 2009, Glee premiered to average ratings,
but positive reception from critics. Ratings picked up during the first season, and the
show was met with such media attention that it had formed a large loyal fanbase. The cast
of the series has been acknowledged by notable people such as the President of the United
States Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey, who have each asked the cast to perform live for
numerous national events. 2010s: Network’s ratings collapse and renewal,
and revamp in network programming At the close of the decade and the start of
the 2010s, new comedies Raising Hope and New Girl gave Fox its first ratings successes
in live-action comedy in years. The second season of Glee delivered that series’ highest
ratings during the 2010-2011 season, with viewership peaking during its Super Bowl lead-out
episode in February 2011. American Idol lost its number-one position among the major networks’
primetime programs during the 2011-2012 finale, emerging as the program with the longest winning
streak for a network primetime show in U.S. broadcast history, as it dominated the ratings
in the Adults 18-49 demographic for eight years. American Idol also remained in the
Nielsen Top 10 for 11 years from 2003 to 2013, one of the longest positions held by any program
from Fox at the Nielsens. Fox also held Nielsen’s all-time record for the most consecutive seasons
at #1 in the 18-49 demo ratings, earning the top spot for eight years from 2004 to 2012.
Along with these shows, new hope came with its ratings that have suffered.
During the 2012–13 season, Fox suffered a collapse in its ratings; American Idol and
Glee suffered their lowest ratings ever, while the network as a whole suffered a 22% decrease
in viewership among the 18-49 demographic and fell to third place in total viewers by
the end of the season. Subsequently, on January 13, 2014, Fox announced it would abandon the
use of greenlighting shows through the initial ordering of pilot episodes, opting to pick
up shows straight to series and thus dropping its pilot season. Fox found new ratings successes
with its broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014, and the lead-out programs that
followed the event – New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII
became the most viewed program that year, peaking up to 167 million viewers during several
portions of the broadcast. In May 2014, Kevin Reilly announced his resignation
as chairman of Fox. In July of that year that the operations of the network and 20th Century
Fox Television will be merged into a new company, Fox Television Group. The consolidation allows
20th Century Fox Television co-chairs Dana Walden and Gary Newman to fill the void left
by Reilly’s departure. Programming Fox currently provides nineteen hours of entertainment
and news programming per week. It provides fifteen hours of prime time programming to
owned-and-operated and affiliated stations, airing from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Monday through
Saturday and 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Sundays. An hour of late night animated programming
is also offered on Saturdays from 11:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern and Pacific Time, branded
under the Animation Domination High-Def banner. Weekend daytime programming consists of the
paid programming block Weekend Marketplace, and the hour-long Sunday morning political
news program – and the network’s only regular national news program – Fox News Sunday
with Chris Wallace. Sports programming is also provided, usually
on weekends, and most commonly airing between 12:00 and 4:00 or 12:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Sundays,
3:30 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoons and during primetime on certain Saturday evenings,
with the primetime block on Saturdays – if any sports programming is scheduled for a
particular week on that night – currently varying between occasional UFC events, Major
League Baseball or NASCAR coverage in the late winter and early spring/summer, and college
football coverage during the fall. Most of the network’s primetime programming is produced
by a production company owned by Fox’s corporate parent 21st Century Fox, usually 20th Century
Fox Television or Fox Television Studios. Adult animation Typically every Sunday night during primetime,
Fox airs a lineup of original adult animated television sitcoms. This block of adult cartoons
– which is branded by Fox as Animation Domination, which debuted on May 1, 2005 – has become
a staple of the network. The first programs to air in the Animation
Domination lineup were American Dad!, Family Guy, The Simpsons and King of the Hill. Shows
currently airing in the lineup include Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Bob’s Burgers. In addition
to King of the Hill, series that have previously aired on the lineup have included Sit Down,
Shut Up; Allen Gregory; Napoleon Dynamite and The Cleveland Show.
An extension of the Sunday primetime block called Animation Domination High-Def launched
on Saturday late nights in July 2013, with ADHD Shorts, Axe Cop and High School USA!.
Due to low ratings, Fox announced on April 17, 2014 that it would discontinue Animation
Domination High-Def; the network has not confirmed if it will retain the hour-long timeslot that
the block will continue to occupy until it ends on June 28, 2014 to carry other programming
or if it will turn the timeslot over to the network’s owned-and-operated stations and
affiliates to run locally produced or syndicated programs during the 11:00 p.m. hour on Saturdays.
Children’s programming Fox began airing children’s programming in
1990 when it launched the Fox Children’s Network, a program block that aired on Saturday mornings
and Monday through Friday afternoons. Programming within the block consisted mainly of cartoons,
although it also aired some live-action series including Power Rangers, Bobby’s World, X-Men,
The Tick, Eerie, Indiana and Goosebumps. When The WB debuted the Kids’ WB programming block
in September 1995, Warner Bros.-produced animated series Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs and
later Batman: The Animated Series, moved to Kids’ WB to supplement that block’s first-run
kids’ shows. In 2001, Fox sold its children’s division
and the former Fox Family Channel to The Walt Disney Company; it would drop the weekday
blocks the following year, and replaced Fox Kids in September 2002 with a new children’s
program block, FoxBox, after it leased the four hours of its Saturday morning lineup
to 4Kids Entertainment. Fox discontinued the 4KidsTV block on December
27, 2008, due to a payment and distribution dispute between the network and 4Kids Entertainment,
which was later settled. Rather than lease the time to another company to produce another
children’s program block, Fox gave two hours of the Saturday block back to its affiliates
on January 3, 2009, to allow them to run Saturday morning newscasts or affiliate-purchased E/I
programming, while the latter two hours were kept by Fox to run a network-managed paid
programming block named Weekend Marketplace. News Unlike ABC, CBS and NBC, Fox does not currently
air national morning or evening news programs – choosing to focus solely on its primetime
schedule, sports and other ancillary network programming. However, the network’s parent
company, 21st Century Fox, owns the Fox News Channel, which was launched in 1996 and is
now available through virtually every cable and satellite provider in the United States.
Fox News does produce some news coverage that is carried by the broadcast network, which
are usually separate from the coverage aired on the cable channel; in particular, FNC anchor
Shepard Smith anchors most primetime news presentations on the Fox network, especially
during political news events. Specifically, the Fox network airs coverage
of the State of the Union address, presidential debates, national election coverage, as well
as periodic live breaking news bulletins branded as “Fox News Alerts” or sometimes “Fox News
Red Alerts”; carriage of such special coverage may vary from station to station, and is often
limited to events occurring within the network’s usual primetime block hour during which many
of its affiliates air local newscasts; however the majority of Fox’s owned-and-operated stations
and affiliate groups do carry weekday breaking news briefs). The political discussion show
Fox News Sunday also airs on the Fox network on Sunday mornings and is rebroadcast later
in the day on FNC. Fox also operates an affiliate news service called Fox NewsEdge, which provides
national and international news reports for Fox stations to use in their own locally produced
newscasts. Fox first tried its hand at a national news
program in primetime in 1988, with the hour-long weekly newsmagazine The Reporters, which was
produced by the same team behind the Fox Television Stations-distributed syndicated tabloid program
A Current Affair; this program was cancelled due to low ratings after two years. Fox News
Extra news capsules produced at WNYW and anchored by Cora-Ann Mihalik also aired during Fox’s
primetime schedule from the network’s expansion into primetime in 1987 until about 1990. Another
failed attempt occurred in 1993, when Fox launched the newsmagazine Front Page in an
attempt to capture a younger demographic for such a program, with Ron Reagan among its
five hosts. After Fox News Channel launched in 1996, the
network tried its hand at producing a newsmagazine again in 1998 with Fox Files, hosted by Fox
News anchors Catherine Crier and Jon Scott, as well as a team of correspondents; it lasted
a little over a year before being cancelled. Its most recent attempt at a newsmagazine
series occurred during the 2002–03 sweeps period, with The Pulse, hosted by Fox News
Channel anchor Shepard Smith. Many Fox stations carry a local morning newscast
that airs on average two to six hours, commonly including a two-hour block from 7:00 to 9:00
a.m. as a local alternative to the national morning news programs. However, Fox did air
a national morning news and lifestyle show called Fox After Breakfast from 1996 to 1998;
the hour-long program aired at 9:00 a.m., as opposed to the morning shows on the other
major networks that air from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. in order to accommodate the morning news
blocks running in the latter slot on some of its stations. Fox tried its hand at a national
morning show again in 2001, this time in syndication, with Good Day Live, a heavily entertainment-focused
offshoot of Good Day L.A. – a morning news, entertainment and lifestyle program that debuted
in 1993 on Fox O&O KTTV in Los Angeles; the national version of the program was cancelled
in 2005. On January 22, 2007, Fox premiered The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, on
its owned-and-operated stations. The show was lighter in format and more entertainment-oriented,
though its focus often changed when major news stories occurred. In February 2007, the
program was syndicated to other stations including many ABC-, NBC- and CBS-affiliated stations
in markets where it was not carried by a Fox or MyNetworkTV affiliate; it was cancelled
in June 2009. Sports When the network launched, Fox management,
having seen the critical role that sports programming had played in the growth of the
British satellite service BSkyB, believed that sports, and specifically professional
football, would be the engine that would make Fox a major network the quickest. In 1987,
after ABC initially hedged on renewing its contract to carry Monday Night Football, Fox
made an offer to the NFL for the same amount that ABC had been paying, about $13 million
per game at the time. However, the NFL, in part because Fox had not yet established itself
as a major network, renewed its contract with ABC.
Six years later, when the league’s television contract was up for renewal, Fox made a $1.58
billion bid to obtain broadcast rights to the National Football Conference division
– covering four seasons of games, beginning with the NFL’s 1994 season. The NFL selected
the Fox bid on December 20, 1993, stripping CBS of football telecasts for the first time
since 1955. The event placed Fox on a par with the “Big Three” broadcast networks and
ushered in an era of growth for the NFL. Fox’s acquisition of the NFL rights also quickly
led toward the network reaching a deal with New World Communications to change the affiliations
of twelve of their stations to Fox, including those that New World was concurrently acquiring
from Argyle Television and Citicasters. The rights gave Fox many new viewers and a platform
for advertising its other programs. With a sports division now established with
the arrival of the NFL, Fox acquired broadcast television rights to the National Hockey League,
Major League Baseball and NASCAR auto racing. From 2007 to 2010, Fox aired college football
games that were part of the Bowl Championship Series, except for the Rose Bowl, whose rights
remained with ABC. The package also included the BCS Championship Game, with the exception
of the 2010 event when the game was played at the Rose Bowl.
In August 2011, Fox and mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship reached
a multi-year agreement, which includes the rights to broadcast four live events in prime
time or late night annually, marking the first time that the UFC has aired its events on
broadcast television. Its first event was UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, held
on November 12, 2011. The UFC’s next event on FOX will be a Welterweight title eliminator
between #1 Ranked Robbie Lawler, and #3 Ranked Matt Brown, with the winner the winner receiving
a shot at current champion Johny Hendricks. Video-on-demand services
Fox maintains several venues to watch the network’s programming via video on demand,
including a traditional VOD service called Fox on Demand, which is carried on most traditional
cable and telco providers. Fox parent 21st Century Fox is a part-owner of the streaming
video service Hulu, and offers most of the network’s programming through that service,
along with traditional streaming via the network’s Full Episode portal on Fox.com.
The cable version of Fox on Demand usually runs shows within a day of their original
airing, with fast forwarding capabilities disabled and the program’s original advertisements
as aired presented in this form for a week before direct response advertising replaces
the original ads. Hulu and Fox.com offer their streaming video on an eight-day delay for
most viewers currently, due to restrictions put in place by the network to encourage live
or DVR same-week viewing via traditional and cable on demand means. Select providers such
as Dish Network and Verizon FiOS have made agreements with Fox to allow their subscribers
to watch programming the day after on Hulu and Fox.com if signed in via their ISP accounts,
and day after viewing of Fox programming is available on Hulu for paid Hulu Plus subscribers.
Fox HD Fox began broadcasting its programming in
720p high definition on September 12, 2004 with week one of the 2004 NFL season and that
day’s slate of NFC games. The network does not display a digital on-screen graphic logo
on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, except for a ten-second promotional sweep
of a “Fox HD” acknowledgement; instead a trigger in Fox’s program delivery system at each station
displays the logo bug of an owned-and-operated or affiliate station in the right-hand corner
of the 16:9 screen frame, which disappears during commercial breaks. However, network
or affiliate bugs are not displayed during Fox Sports programming. During some high-profile
or live programming such as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance however, Fox
does display its network logo and forgoes the affiliate’s logo, mainly for promotional
consideration due to fair use of clips from each series by other media outlets; until
2014, it was seen in the 4:3 safe area. The Sunday political talk program Fox News Sunday
displays the “Fox HD” logo at all times for both that reason and many stations pre-taping
the program for airing later in the morning. On some Fox programs, a hashtag rests above
the affiliate’s logo to provide viewers reference to the network’s official search tag on Twitter
to find or start discussions during the airing of a program. In April 2012, additional episode-only
tags relating to plot points in an episode began to also be promoted in this space to
both add additional trending topics and spread out more conversations on Twitter. In cases
where the Fox bug appears instead of the station’s logo bug, the Twitter hashtag is directly
above the Fox logo in the safe area. Fox was the only commercial television network
to air programs in widescreen that are not available in HD during the analog-to-digital
transitional period; programs produced in this format were identified as being presented
in “Fox High Resolution Widescreen” from 2001 to 2006, but were unbranded afterwards. Prior
to the launch of its HD feed in 2004, some sitcoms and drama series were presented in
this format, but reality, talk and game shows were later only presented in the enhanced
definition widescreen mode. The children’s sports program This Week in Baseball began
airing in widescreen in 2009, while Fox News Sunday converted to HD when Fox News Channel
began operating from its new HD facilities in November 2008. MADtv was produced to air
only in 4:3 until September 2008, likely due to a mix of stations airing the show at differing
times than the mandated 11:00 p.m. timeslot and therefore unable to offer it on the live
air in 16:9, and the show’s producers not making the switch to the format. The final
network show to convert to HD was Family Guy beginning with its September 26, 2010 episode;
all programming provided by Fox, except for the Weekend Marketplace block, is now broadcast
in widescreen and in high definition as of 2013.
Fox is unique among U.S. broadcasters in distributing its network HD feed over satellite to affiliates
as an MPEG transport stream intended to be delivered bit-for-bit to broadcast transmission.
During network time, local commercials are inserted using a transport stream splicer.
The affiliates of most other networks decode compressed satellite network video feeds and
then re-encode them for final over-the-air emission.
Since late July 2010, when Fox began broadcasting its sports programming with graphics optimized
for 16:9 displays rather than the 4:3 safe area, the network has asked cable and satellite
providers to comply and use the #10 AFD broadcast flag it now sends out over Fox programming,
which has 16:9 content display in letterboxed mode on 4:3 screens and has graphical elements
optimized for the 16:9 screen. Subsequently, a number of Fox O&Os and affiliates also now
send out the AFD #10 flag over local news and syndicated programs that the stations
broadcast in HD with graphical elements optimized for 16:9 to allow that programming to appear
in widescreen format on 4:3 analog sets. Affiliates It was estimated in 2003 that Fox was viewable
by 96.18% of all U.S. households, reaching a total of 102,565,710 homes in the United
States. Fox has 180 VHF and UHF owned-and-operated or affiliate stations in the United States
and U.S. possessions. Analog broadcasting on Fox largely ended on June 12, 2009 as part
of the transition to digital television. As a newer broadcast network, Fox still has a
number of low-power affiliates, covering markets like Youngstown, Ohio and Santa Barbara, California,
that broadcast in analog. In some cases, including both of these markets, these stations also
have digital signals on the digital subchannel of a sister television station in the same
market. Currently outside of Fox’s core O&O group, Tribune Broadcasting is Fox’s largest
affiliate group in terms of overall market reach, with fourteen stations; the Sinclair
Broadcast Group is the largest operator of Fox stations by numerical total, owning or
providing services to 26 stations. Branding
Station standardization During the early 1990s, Fox began having its
stations use a branding structure using a combination of the “Fox” name and the station’s
channel number, often followed by the licensed call letters. By the mid-to-late 1990s, the
call letters were minimized to be just barely readable to FCC requirements. This marked
the start of the trend for other networks to apply such naming schemes, especially at
CBS, which uses the “CBS Mandate” on most of its owned-and-operated stations. The branding
scheme has varied in some markets, with other stations using a city or regional name within
the branding instead of the channel number; a few of the network’s stations also minimized
use of “Fox” name, opting to use their call letters or a more genericized branding 7 News”
for its newscasts since it joined the network in January 1989).
Starting in 2006, more standardization of the O&Os began to take place both on-air and
online. All of the network’s O&Os began adopting an on-air look more closely aligned with the
Fox News Channel. This included changing the logos to the same red, white and blue rotating
boxkite-style logo. After News Corporation’s acquisition of the social networking site
Myspace, some Fox O&Os launched websites that look the same and have similar URL addresses
under the “MyFox” scheme. Logos
Over the years, the Fox Broadcasting Company has used a few logos, most of which have the
familiar trademark searchlights on either side of the “FOX” nameplate. In October 1986,
when the network inaugurated its programming, Fox introduced its first official logo: three
squares containing the letters “FBC” standing for “Fox Broadcasting Company”; however, that
logo only lasted for six months and was primarily featured at the beginning of The Late Show
with Joan Rivers. When the network began offering prime time programming on April 5, 1987, a
more familiar logo was introduced, which was based on 20th Century Fox’s longtime logo
featuring just the capitalized “FOX” name alongside the signature Fox searchlights and
double-pane platform. In 1993, the familiar logo was given a more
“hip” makeover, with the “FOX” wordmark revised and the angle changed, removing the tilting.
Starting with the introduction of this logo, the network began displaying an on-screen
bug within its programs on the lower right-hand corner of the screen. The “O” character also
was made over, acquiring its trademark pillar-like bowl, which has since become a major focal
point for the logo and Fox advertising in lieu of the searchlight motif.
For the 1995-96 television season, the logo was revised again, dropping the searchlights,
but keeping the lower double panes and adding a third pane atop the logotype. A variant
of the original 1993 logo design was instituted in 1996, this time excluding the panes underneath
the network name, but leaving the searchlights and Fox wordmark.
The current version of the logo was introduced in 1999, completely removing the searchlights
and switching the logo to a wordmark design. Despite this, the searchlight theme remains
an integral part of 21st Century Fox’s branding efforts, they are still incorporated into
the Fox News Channel logo, and in the universal station logo introduced in 2006 by Fox’s owned-and-operated
stations – which were retained by the former Fox O&Os that Fox Television Stations sold
to Local TV in 2008 and had spread to several Fox stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting
and certain other Fox affiliates not owned or operated by either company. The older 1996–1999
searchlight logo is still used within the logos of a few Fox affiliates, also serving
as an alternate logo from 1999 onwards, along with also being part of an alternate version
of the Fox Sports logo. The searchlights were still featured in the logo of sister channel
FX until a rebranding effort in 2008. Differences between Fox and the “Big Three”
networks Network programming
Fox’s programming schedule differs from the “Big Three” networks in several significant
ways: the network airs programming during the primetime hours for only two hours on
Monday through Saturday evenings and three hours on Sundays, compared to the three weeknight
and four Sunday night hours broadcast by ABC, CBS and NBC. This allows for many of its stations
to air local news during the 10:00 p.m. timeslot. Fox’s original reason for the reduced number
of prime time hours was to avoid fulfilling the FCC’s requirements at the time to be considered
a network, and to be free of resulting regulations, though FCC rules have been relaxed since then.
Despite being a major network, Fox also does not air soap operas or any other network daytime
programming. Because of this, affiliates take on the responsibility of programming daytime
hours with syndicated and locally produced programming; Warner Bros. Television Distribution
also has Fox’s O&Os and affiliates forming the bulk of their distribution for the programs
of Telepictures’ celebrity news website TMZ, TMZ on TV and TMZ Live. The network also does
not offer national morning and evening newscasts, network-supplied children’s programming on
Saturday mornings or late-night programming on weeknights. Local affiliates either produce
their own programming during these times or run syndicated programs. Because of the erratic
scheduling of the network’s sports programming, many Fox stations choose to run a mix of syndicated
programming, infomercials and especially movies to fill weekend afternoon timeslots when sports
programming is not scheduled. News programming
Locally-produced news programming on Fox stations differs from stations aligned with ABC, NBC
and CBS in that the quantity of newscasts varies from station to station. Fundamentally,
the newscast schedules on Fox affiliates vary considerably between stations compared to
those aligned with the three longer-established networks. The most common scheduling format
for Fox’s affiliates is to run a one-, two- or three-hour morning newscast at 7:00 a.m.
and a half-hour or hour-long newscast in the hour following the network’s primetime programming.
However, there are several stations that maintain in-house news departments which utilize a
news-intensive format that incorporates early evening and in many cases, midday newscasts
– these stations may also include newscasts in said timeslots plus an early evening newscast
that is extended by a half-hour − each of which may also compete with the national morning
and evening newscasts on the Big Three networks. The first Fox station to adopt a news-intensive
schedule was Miami affiliate WSVN when it joined the network in January 1989, the station
retained its morning, midday, 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts while moving its 11:00 p.m.
newscast to 10:00 p.m. and expanding it to one hour, and adding two hours onto its morning
newscast. This type of scheduling was adopted by the former New World, Burnham Broadcasting
and other former major network stations that switched to Fox between 1994 and 1996.
The Fox affiliate body features fewer news-producing stations in comparison to stations aligned
with the historical broadcast networks. Many Fox stations that have created their own upstart
news departments often do not run a full newscast slate comparable to their larger affiliate
competitors, usually debuting a primetime newscast first, with newscasts in morning,
midday and early evening timeslots gradually being added later on. As of March 2014, 69
stations aligned with Fox produce their own local news programming through news departments
run by the stations. Cleveland affiliate WJW has the largest number of hours devoted to
local news programming of any Fox station with 66 hours each week, followed by Detroit
O&O WJBK with 63½ hours each week. In several markets, the local Fox affiliate
outsources news programming to an NBC, ABC or CBS station in the market; such as Fox
affiliate WEMT newscasts are produced by NBC affiliate WCYB but WEMT is operated through
a local marketing agreement. As a result, stations using this model often do not have
newscasts expanded into other timeslots due to the contracting station choosing to avoid
having newscasts on the Fox station compete in timeslots against their own programs. Stations
aligned with Fox that have newscasts produced by a same-market major network affiliate tend
to have fewer hours devoted to news than the station producing the program. While outsourcing
newscasts is less common for the network’s stations in the 50 largest American television
markets, WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh is the largest Fox station by Nielsen market ranking using
this arrangement as its 10:00 p.m. newscast has been produced by Cox Media Group-owned
NBC affiliate WPXI since WPGH owner Sinclair Broadcast Group shut down its news operations
after the 2006 closure of News Central. A small number of Fox affiliates do not run
any newscasts and air only syndicated programming in time periods where newscasts air on other
major network affiliates. Evansville, Indiana affiliate WEVV-DT2 is currently the largest
Fox station by market size that does not carry news programming, and Springfield, Missouri
affiliate KRBK the largest Fox station without full-scale newscasts. Prior to April 2013,
WUTV in Buffalo was the largest Fox affiliate without any news programming as it had long
opted to air only syndicated programs outside of the Fox schedule instead of investing in
a news department or entering into a news share agreement with another Buffalo area
station, due to the large number of television news operations in Buffalo, Hamilton and Toronto
and due to the fact that it also sells advertising targeted at viewers in Southern Ontario; Sinclair
Broadcast Group later agreed to move a 10:00 p.m. newscast produced by Gannett-owned NBC
affiliate WGRZ to WUTV from its MyNetworkTV-affiliated sister station WNYO-TV, to increase viewership
for that program, and expanded the agreement with WGRZ to include an hour-long morning
newscast. Controversy
News Although the Fox network itself does not carry
any national, regularly scheduled news programming other than Fox News Sunday, both that program
and the network’s breaking news coverage are produced by the Fox News Channel, and are
regular subjects of controversy. The network has also received some criticism for at times
deciding not to carry scheduled news events during primetime, such as presidential speeches,
in order to air regular entertainment programming. Indecency
Controversy surrounded the network in 2002 and 2003 over obscenities, expressed respectively
by Cher and Nicole Richie, aired live on the network’s broadcast of the Billboard Music
Awards on its affiliates in the Eastern and Central time zones despite the use of five-second
audio delays; the indecent material was edited out on broadcasts in the Mountain Time Zone
and westward. Both of the obscene instances were condemned by the Parents Television Council
and named by them among the worst instances on television from 2001 to 2004. PTC members
filed tens of thousands of complaints to the Federal Communications Commission over the
broadcasts. The Fox network’s subsequent apology was labeled a “sham” by PTC president L. Brent
Bozell III, who argued that Fox could have easily used an audio delay to edit out the
obscene language. As the FCC was investigating the broadcasts, in 2004, Fox announced that
it would begin extending live broadcast delays to five minutes from its standard five or
ten seconds to more easily be able to edit out obscenities uttered over the air. In June
2007, in the case Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, the U.S. Second
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC could not issue indecency fines against Fox
because it does not have the authority to fine broadcasters for fleeting expletives,
such as in the case of the Billboard Awards. The FCC eventually decided to appeal the Second
Circuit Court’s finding. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari and oral arguments
in FCC v. Fox, et al., began November 4, 2008. The Parents Television Council has also criticized
many popular Fox shows for perceived indecent content, such as American Dad!, Arrested Development,
The Simpsons, Family Guy, Hell’s Kitchen, Married… with Children, Prison Break and
That ’70s Show. The Council sometimes has gone even as far as to file complaints with
the Federal Communications Commission regarding indecent content within Fox programming, having
done so for That ’70s Show and Married by America, having successfully been able to
get the FCC to fine the network nearly $1 million for its airing of the latter program.
That fine was reduced to $91,000 after it was discovered that the FCC originally claimed
to have received 159 complaints; it later admitted to only receiving 90, which came
from only 23 people. Blogger Jeff Jarvis studied the complaints and realized that all but two
were virtually identical to each other, meaning that the $1.2 million judgment was based on
original complaints written by a total of only three people. Armed with the new information,
Fox promised to fight the fine. The fine was ultimately reduced to $91,000 in January 2009.
Also, Fox programming has been chosen by the PTC for its weekly “Worst TV Show of the Week”
feature more often than programming from any other broadcast network.
International broadcasts Canada
Like ABC, CBS and NBC, Fox programming is carried on cable, satellite and IPTV providers
in Canada through affiliates and owned-and-operated stations of the network that are located within
proximity to the Canada–United States border. Most programming is generally the same, aside
from simultaneous substitutions imposed by the provider that results in the American
signal being replaced with programming from a Canadian network if both happen to air a
particular program in the same time period. Caribbean
In the Caribbean, many cable and satellite television providers offer Fox programming
through New York City O&O WNYW or Miami affiliate WSVN. A few locally owned Fox affiliates do
exist in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fox programming is available on cable in the
Bahamas and Bermuda, via over-the-air stations in the United States.
Asia Pacific Guam
Fox programming in Guam through low-power affiliate KEQI-LP. Programming is shown day
and date on a one-day tape delay due to Guam being located on the west side of the International
Date Line, with live programming and breaking news airing as scheduled, meaning live sports
coverage such as the NFL and NASCAR often airs early in the morning.
American Samoa In American Samoa, Fox programming is shown
on cable via the network’s Honolulu, Hawaii affiliate KHON-TV.
Federated States of Micronesia Fox is available on cable television in the
Federated States of Micronesia, also via KHON-TV. Europe
Bulgaria On October 15, 2011, a domestic version of
the network launched in Bulgaria. Fox Bulgaria is part of a collection of television networks
distributed by Fox International Channels, which include entertainment channels Fox Life,
Fox Crime, documentary channels National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild, cooking channel
24KITCHEN, news channel Sky News and children’s channel BabyTV.
Finland Fox International Channels Nordic started
terrestrial broadcasts in Finland on April 16, 2012.
Latvia A domestic version of Fox debuted in Latvia
on October 1, 2012. Russia
A Russian version of FOX Russia debuted on October 1, 2012, replacing FOX Crime Russia.
Fox International Channels also operates a regional version of its female-targeted Fox
Life network. Fox Russia also distributes its signals and other Russian channels, Baby
TV, NatGeo Wild and National Geographic Channel. Serbia
On October 15, 2012, FOX Serbia debuted in Serbia. The channel is distributed by Fox
International Channels, which also owns Fox Life, Fox Crime and Fox Movies, National Geographic
Channel and Nat Geo Wild, 24KITCHEN, Sky News and BabyTV.
Croatia Fox launched in Croatia on October 15, 2012.
Also operated by Fox International Channels Bulgaria, all of Fox’s channels, NatGeo Wild
and BabyTV have identical programming as those in Serbia. Most of them feature subtitled
promos and content. All channels except for BabyTV are broadcast in 16:9 widescreen, while
Fox will soon be offered in HD. Turkey Fox Turkey launched in Turkey on February
24, 2007. UK and Ireland On January 11, 2013, the United Kingdom and
Ireland version of FX was rebranded as Fox. Greece On October 1, 2012, a regional version of
FX serving Greece and Cyprus was rebranded as Fox. The channel is operated alongside
five others that are owned by Fox International Channels Greece, Fox Life, Nat Geo, Nat Geo
Wild, Nat Geo Adventure and Baby TV. In 2013, Senior Vice President of Fox International
Channels Southeast Europe, Adam Theiler announced the creation of a new channel dedicated to
cooking with domestically produced productions, the production of documentaries catering to
the Greek audience and the launch of HD feeds for Fox and FOXlife, because of the success
of Fox International Channels in Greece. Netherlands
A domestic version of Fox launched in the Netherlands on August 19, 2013. The channel’s
schedule features a mix of American series, such as The Walking Dead and The Simpsons,
as well as sports programs. Fox is available digitally on channel 11 for Ziggo or UPC users,
on channel 14 for KPN users, and on channel 52 or 58 for CanalDigitaal users.
See also 20th Century Fox
4Kids TV MundoFox
FOX Fox8
Fox cartoons Fox Kids
Fox News Channel Fox Filipino
Fox Sports Fox Television Stations
FX FXX
FX Movie Channel Foxtel
Animation Domination Animation Domination
Friday night death slot Fox Channel Asia
Fox Life Fox
Fox Fox
Fox Fox Life Greece
Fox Life List of programs broadcast by Fox
Lists of United States network television schedules
List of United States over-the-air television networks
Fox Broadcasting Co. v. Dish Network, LLC Notes References
Alex Ben. Block, Outfoxed ISBN 0-312-03904-2 Daniel M. Kimmel, The Fourth Network ISBN
1-56663-572-1 External links
Official website Fox on Facebook
Fox on Google+ Fox on Twitter
Fox’s channel on YouTube

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