FXX Launches to Big Ratings Gains

Newbie net shows vast improvement over precursor Fox Soccer Channel

FXX went live Monday at 7 a.m. EDT, and it’s already quite a bit more popular than precursor Fox Soccer Channel.

According to Nielsen’s fast national ratings, FXX in its first day of operation averaged 68,000 total viewers, of which 54,000, or 79 percent, were members of the adults 18-49 demo. The network also delivered 39,000 viewers in the target demo (adults 18-34), more than six times what Fox Soccer drew in September 2012.

Prime-time deliveries were similarly proportioned, as FXX averaged 81,000 viewers, 70,000 adults 18-49 and 48,000 adults 18-34. The latter score was nearly 10 times what FSC scared up a year ago.

While the preliminary results were promising and the ratings will only go up once the original series arrive, for the new inhabitant of FSC’s real estate, there’s quite literally nowhere to go but up. Per Nielsen, FSC a year ago finished dead last among total viewers in prime (30,000) and was 92nd in total day (33,000).

Designed to skew younger than the 21st Century Fox powerhouse FX, the new network is drawing heavily on its sibling’s comedy reserves. FXX’s flagship show is the veteran comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which joins fellow originals The League and Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell.

Going forward, FXX will also carry a number of syndicated comedies (and even a drama or two), including Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, Mike & Molly, How I Met Your Mother, and Parks and Recreation. Also in the wings is the Danny McBride-produced animated series Chozen, the first show to be expressly created for FXX.

The entire original lineup premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 4, starting at 10 p.m., when FXX rolls out the season premieres of Sunny, The League and Totally Biased. It remains to be seen how well the series will retain their ratings season over season against their runs on FX, but FX Networks is committed to the plan, which also involves moving a plurality of its film library over to FXM, formerly the Fox Movie Channel.

FX is essentially making a move to expand an HBO-style slate across three linear, ad-supported networks, with original content airing in prime time and both movies and original series available on an authenticated app called FXNOW. The app will also retain an exclusive window on streaming movies, so if you want to watch, say, Thor during FX’s window, you’ll have to tune in to FXNOW, rather than Netflix.

FXX is the second 21st Century Fox network to launch in the last two weeks. The entertainment channel follows on the heels of the August 17 premiere of Fox Sports 1.