Fox Entertainment Group, a division of 21st Century Fox (formally known as News Corporation) currently owns The FX Network (FX Networks and Productions, n.d). In June 2013, News Corp. promoted John Landgraf from president and general manager of FX Networks to CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions. Landgraf now has a larger role, both running the network as well as the business operations (Flint, 2013).
Landgraf has been employed with FX since 2004, and has rolled out several successful shows including Sons of Anarchy, Justified, American Horror Story, and recently The Americans (Flint, 2013).
In June 2013, Rupert Murdoch decided to split News Corporation into two divisions, in hopes to form two new empires. Murdoch joined 20th Century Fox movie studio and Fox broadcast network to create 21st Century Fox. According to Dominic Rushe, journalist for The Guardian, “analysts and shareholders are overwhelmingly in support of the split because it delivers a standalone 21st Century Fox, home to The Simpsons, Avatar and the X-Men film franchise” (Rushe, 2013). Even though News Corporation was split into two divisions, Murdoch will still remain chairman and chief executive of 21st Century Fox, as well as executive chairman of News Corp. Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan will also be part of both companies and sit on the board.
According to freepress.net, News Corp owns twenty-seven television stations: FOX Broadcasting Company, FSN (including the 12 regional sports networks), FX, SPEED, FUEL TV, Big Ten Network, National Geographic, as well as the Fox International Channels (Who owns the media, n.d.).
Besides television stations, News Corp also owns Hulu.com, the New York Post, the Daily News, and the Dow Jones, which includes the “Wall Street Journal, Barron's, SmartMoney, Factiva, Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Local Media and Dow Jones VentureSource,” as well as the website MarketWatch.com (Who owns the media, n.d.).
Fox Filmed Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Twentieth Television, Fox Television Studios as well as BSkyB and SKY Italia also are owned by News Corp. (Who owns the media, n.d).
According to adage.com, the targeted audience for the FX Network is adults eighteen to fifty-four (Ad Age Custom Programs, n.d.). The programs, shows and movies are created to be seen by adults and may be unsuitable to children under the age of seventeen (The TV Parental Guidelines, n.d.). The content that is viewed on the FX channel may contain crude indecent language (L), explicit sexual activity (S) or graphic violence (V) (FX Networks, n.d.). According to tvbythenumbers.com, the season six finale was the most-watched finale in history of the network among adult’s 18-49 with 6.4 million viewers.
Even though the targeted audience for the FX Network is adults eighteen to fifty-four, the network also offers movies geared towards the younger audience, such as Iron Man, Avatar and X-Men (FX Networks, n.d.). According to adage.com, Iron Man has received more than 14 million views, as well as Kung Fu Panda with almost 11 million views.
The FX Network offers original series, original dramas, miniseries, as well as limited series. Some of the hit original comedy serieson FX include, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Louie, Archer, Wilfred, Legit, Chozen, and Totally Biased withW. Kamau Bell, a late night series (FX Networks and Productions, n.d.). Other programs on FX include American Horror Story, The Americans, Anger Management, Archer, The Bridge, Fargo, Justified, Saint George, Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy, The Strain and Two and a Half Men (FX Networks, n.d.).
American Horror Story is FX’s most popular program. According to tvbythenumbers.com, the episode of American Horror Story the aired on Tuesday January 29, 2014, was up 2.2 percent, having more viewers, from the previous week. The episode aired at 10:00pm, having 4,242,000 viewers’ ages 18-49 (Kondolojy, 2014).
Justified appears to be the second most popular show with 2,323,000 viewers the episode that aired March 5, 2013, according to tvbythenumbers.com (Bibel, 2013). The episode aired on March 11, 2014 dropped in ratings with 2,243,000 viewers (Kondolojy, 2014).
Archer seems to be FX Network’s third popular show. On January 13, 2014 Archer had 1,645,000 viewers ages 18-35, which I up 1.0 percent (Kondolojy, 2014).
The March 5, 2014 episode of The Americans had 1,458,000 viewers, which is up 0.6 percent (Bibel, 2013).
When looking at ratings for the FX Networks, Fargo, The Strain and Louie (season 4) are to premiere this year. Fargo is expected to premiere April 15, The Strain will debut July 2014, and Season 4 of Louie is set to premiere May 5, 2014. The programs excepted to premiere are all expected to get high rating due to the award-winning writers, directors, actors and actresses (FX Networks, n.d.).
According to the Uses and Gratification Theory, viewers actively seek the media in order to satisfy an individual need. Affective and tension release are motives that viewers use the media for gratification. Affective plays to the emotions and feelings of a person. Viewers use media to encourage emotions, such as happiness, fear or pleasure. Tension release deals with entertainment and stress relief. Viewers use the media as a release or a way to escape from reality (Uses and Gratifications Theory, (n.d.). When viewers watch a drama, they want to partake in the complicated journey, with the characters until the end (Harris, 2011). Harris states that viewers watch dramas “because we want to know how everything turns out” (Harris, 2011). When viewers watch a comedy, they expect to see a likable and similar character to themselves experience something, and be able to predict the characters reaction (Harris, 2013). The statements provided by Harris in his research relate directly to the Uses and Gratification Theory, stating that viewers choose what they watch to satisfy a need by either enhancing an emotion or escape from reality.
FX is the leading entertainment cable channel that reaches more than 98 million homes. FX plans to continue providing viewers with the most up-to-date advances, as well as critically acclaimed and award-winning original programs. FX plans to combine with FXX (spin-off of FX) and FXM (Fox Movie Channel) to deliver viewers more than 25 original series. FXP (FX Productions) also plans to produce limited series and miniseries that will be featured on both FX and FOX. (FX network and productions). FX recently launched video-on-demand, which is called FXNOW (Flint, 2013).
Landgraf plans to have FX feature seven original dramas, as well as a handful of limited series and 4-6 original comedies. FXM will continue to feature movies, as well as repeats of acquired shows, such as Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly. FXM will also feature at least one miniseries per quarter (Sepinwall, 2013).
In targeting different audiences among the three channels, FX plans to overlap the programming within the stations. Therefore, FX will target adults ages 18-49, FXX will target the younger adults; ages18-34 and FXM will target the older adults, ages 25-54 (Sepinwall, 2013).
Fox Entertainment Group, a division of 21st Century Fox owns FX. Murdoch split News Corporation into two divisions in 2013, in hopes to form two new empires. The FX Network offers original series, original dramas, miniseries, as well as limited series. With Landgraf as the new CEO of FX, he plans to continue providing viewers with the most up-to-date advances, as well as critically acclaimed and award-winning original programs.
In order to code The League and American Horror Story, both popular shows on FX, we had to determine how many episodes were in each season as well as the length of each episode. Once that was determined, we then decided to analyze every other episode starting with the first. Next, we decided it would be convenient to analyze every five minutes of an episode. A coding chart was used to help organize the material. When the unit of analysis was determined, we were able to analyze the programs.
In analyzing The League, a sitcom, there are many elements of the series that is used to support or undermine ideology. There are also many perceptions of realism visible in the series. Realism can be seen in two different ways, factual and psychological. Factual realism refers to an event that actually did happen, where psychological realism suggests something, like an event could actually happen.
One may ask, how does realism included into a television show? When looking at the production elements, such as the setting, the producer uses every day locations. By doing so, the dimensions of plausibility and probability exist. Plausibility looks at whether this seems like it could exist in reality. On the other hand, probability looks at if it is likely to happen in reality. The McCarthuer’s house, a local restaurant/bar, a hospital and a retirement home are some examples of every day locations. By having locations such as these, they are actual locations that someone may visit on a daily basis. Therefor making the setting plausible to the audience. Common events are also incorporated into the shows to depict probability. A birthday party, a fundraising event and a New Years party are all examples of activities that resonate with the viewer. Events such as these are likely to happen in reality, making them probable. Locations and events that are shown in episodes of The League, also perceive the dimension of social realism, how similar what is being portrayed on television is similar to our own lives.
In looking at the character in The League, there are perceived dimensions of realism, such as social realism. To some viewers, the characters may seem similar to their social group as well as have a common interest. The language that is communicated between the characters seem to be competitive, always trying to do one better than his or her competitor. By using language in this content, the program implies that the audience too communicates amongst their friends in a very competitive way, which may not be the case at all.
In the earlier episodes of The League, there are also perceptions of the magic window, looking at life from a different point of view. An example of this would be when players were drafted into their fantasy football league. This provides the audience a chance to view the obstacles football players encounter when being drafted by a football team.
The interactions between the characters also play to the plausibility, probability and social realism dimensions. The characters in The League are all friends and have the common goal, beat their friend in fantasy football and become the champion. With a group of competitive guys, there is always the goal to be better or win over your buddy. More than likely, one of the guys would either be married or dating someone, who is then dragged into their hobbies since there is an odd amount of guys. In this case, Jenny is Kevin’s wife who is apart of the league making it an even amount of teams. Whenever the guys get together, there is always competitive talk about whose team is better and which player(s) will dominate for their team. Interactions such as these suggest that all guys are very competitive and always have to out preform their friends.
When looking at the characters and seeing who is more dominant than the other, it seems to be an equal playing field. All the characters are able to hold their own, and dominant in multiple ways. However, Kevin seems to be a little more dominant than the others. Since Kevin is married to Jenny, this implies that being the head of a household holds a more dominant power.
Each character appears to win in one way or another. By this, they may have not have won the fantasy football game for that week, but they all achieve a different victory in the episode. There is always a competition amongst the friends, whether it is who can go to training camp for the Dallas Cowboys or who could win during a paintball war.
Each character is also subverted, however Jenny and Andre seem to have to prove themselves a little more. Jenny is Kevin’s wife and apart of the league to create an even number of teams. She is liked by all of Kevin’s friends, however feels she needs to prove herself more since she is a girl. Jenny is knowledgeable in football, however the guys undermine her and challenge her skills.
Andre seems to be the butt of everyone’s joke. The guys find Andre an easy target, making fun of his personality, fashion and career. Andre’s fashion is very eccentric and flamboyant, which is different from the other characters fashion, more mainstream. Andre is also a plastic surgeon, making him very smart. His friends, the other characters, don’t see his intelligence, so they also challenge his knowledge.
When looking at who “belongs” in the social group and who doesn’t, The League implies that there is not particular “friend” you could have in your social group. As mentioned before, Andre is a plastic surgeon and then you have Taco who is the homeless brother of Kevin, who doesn’t have a career and mooches off of the others. By expressing these characteristics of the friends, it implies that no matter what your career is, as long as you have a common interest you “belong” in the social group. The lesson that is implied about social groups is a great example to teach the audience.
Trends that were depicted while analyzing The League includes competition will always exist among a group of friends, and even though everything is a competition, when something goes wrong they all come together and supports one another. The competition among the friends could also be seen as a dominance or power issue, always having to be one better than your friend. Jealously is also a common factor in multiple shows. Both Kevin and Ruxon are married, causing jealously among the single friends since they have no responsibilities. Jealously can also go the other way, both Kevin and Ruxon have stable families and a career, causing impersonal jealously.
The League displays many elements that support or undermine ideology.
Various types of realism, such as factual and psychological realism, are displayed throughout the season.
When looking at a different genre, horror, American Horror Story demonstrates aspects of realism, cultivation, and the Social Learning Theory as well. In American Horror Story, cultivation theory is used and seen throughout the show in many aspects. Cultivation theory is focused around the act of storytelling. This theory is depicted through the mean world syndrome, where the world is perceived as a mean place because of verbal/physical violence or aggression. Mainstreamed values, ideologies or beliefs that are prevalent in society also are depicted in the show. Resonance refers to aspects that stand out to you, are also portrayed in American Horror Story. In American Horror Story, the show illustrates different behavioral patterns that are represented, as well as prevalent behaviors that are seen frequently, consequences and outcomes of those behaviors, and the justifications for acting on those behaviors.
American Horror Story also incorporates different aspects of the Social Learning Theory within each episode. Social Learning Theory implies we learn different things about life, society and individuals by the media we watch. It also takes into consideration that we are impacted and influenced by the content viewed as well.
In American Horror Story, every character represents a different social or racial group that exists in reality. There were characters of different races (African American and Causation descent). Characters also represented different social economic standing, such as upper class, middle class and the working poor. American Horror Story also reflected on the different cultural aspects that might divide certain ethnic groups. The representation of a stereotypical “white woman lifestyle” was compared frequently to the lifestyle of an “African American woman”. These interactions between the two groups suggest that only certain types of character belong with each group. White characters belong with whites, and black characters belong with blacks. This representation of the racial difference created an ideology that the two social groups shouldn’t mix because they are “enemies”.
Characters in the show use profanity frequently towards other characters. This use of language in a frequent manner suggests that all individuals in reality communicate this way.
In American Horror Story, The Supreme is in control of the witch who lives in the coven. She is the most powerful witch and dictates the actions performed. She also teaches the younger witches how to use their powers. This group mainly consists of traditional witches (Caucasian decent), with the inclusion of an African American witch. Another group that is represented is the voodoo witches, who are of African decent and are mutual enemies of the coven. Their head Madame, who controls all operations within the group, leads the voodoo witches.
Throughout the show, every interaction between the two groups is either physically or verbally violent, or has implications of possibly becoming violent in some way. Each group tries to kill other members of the opposite group in efforts to gain more power. The witches who practice voodoo try to recruit the African American witches to their group due to her decent.
The show, American Horror Story implies that people should unite or join forces with people that look like them because the opposite is the enemy. This also implies that any efforts to unite the two groups should be avoided at all costs. Certain characters feel the need to combine with similar groups because they’re experiencing seclusion from their initial group.
In American Horror Story, the idea of killing and revenge is depicted in multiple ways. The act of killing is shown as a necessary act for preservation and survival. The idea that the strong will survive, the weak will die is a reoccurring trend. The act of killing is justified as “right” if you are protecting yourself or friends, if your life is in danger, or you are on the pursuit for power. The idea that killing is wrong is only portrayed in the scenes where an innocent life is taken.
Throughout the show, wealth and youthfulness is greatly expressed. The desire to be young and beautiful, as well as rich and powerful is a dominant factor in the lives of the characters viewed.
While analyzing the coded episodes, I found results that revealed certain trends that were dominant in the show. In American Horror Story, violence, physical appearance, power, wealth, and protection of group is a main focus. The idea that is portrayed is everyone needs to be young and youthful to be considered beautiful. If you are old or not socially the same, you are considered ugly and unattractive.
The concept that power should be attained is very prevalent as well. In many occasions through the episodes views, you saw characters murdering each other over the desire to stay young, and take power. There was also a pattern of violence in conjunction with the groups and their interactions. Characters resorted to violence when their respected groups were in danger or harmed. Each character found it acceptable to resort to murdering another character if they felt they were in danger personally or if a member of their group was harmed. Wealth was also a topic of interest throughout the show. Different scenes depicted elaborate homes, expensive cars, designer materials, and verbal mentions of wealth.
Violence was a common theme throughout the show as well. Every scene had an aspect of physical or verbal violence or aggression. This implies that the world if full of violent people and actions. It also implied that all altercations have to be resolved by violence and no other alternatives.
When looking at the two genres, sitcoms and horror, both The League and American Horror Story demonstrate aspects of realism, cultivation, and the Social Learning Theory. The media content of both shows communicates a culture among the views, representing reality.
FX Network, apart of 21st Century, utilizes an official website, as week as a Facebook and Twitter account.
When looking at the official FX Network website, there are tabs that line the top of the page that link to other pages. The tabs that go across include “about, episode guide, cast & crew, mobile, videos, social hub and shop.” Located at the bottom of the homepage, there are also links for their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The Facebook page links the audience to multiple clips from the episodes. When clicking the “about” section at the top of the Facebook page, there is a link to the official website. By placing the link on their Facebook page, The League is hoping to attract the audience to the official website to gain more knowledge about the show.
Like the Facebook page, The League’s Twitter account also makes available links to clips from the different episodes. Also on the twitter account, there are links to pictures during the production of different scenes.
The League lacks with immediacy, timely posts and updates to their audience. When looking at the official website, under the “videos” tab, the top of the page notifies the audience to come back when the new season starts in the Fall 2014. This seems to be a turn off to the audience, making it uneasy to interact with the show. When looking at the Facebook page, there has not been a recent update or post to engage the audience in the upcoming season. However, when the season was ending in 2013, there seemed to be a clip from the episode posted weekly. By seeing this, the audience became more engaged in the show, rather than sitting around awaiting the next season premiere.
The official website allows the audience to interact in multiple ways. As mentioned before, the website has tabs along the top of the webpage allowing the audience to engage in different aspects of the show. The “episode guide” tab allows the audience to view clips from the various episodes from the different seasons. The “cast & crew” tab provides the audience with biographies from the characters. The “mobile” tab provides the audience with ways to connect and “trash talk.” This allows the audience to connect not only with the characters but also with other viewers. Like the Facebook and Twitter page, the “video” tab on the official website allows the audience to view clips from the different seasons.
The “social hub” tab on the website allows the audience to connect with the cast of The League, providing links to their Twitter accounts as well as connecting to the Facebook page and GetGlue. GetGlue always the audience to check-in and watch episodes from various seasons as well as unlocking “stickers.” Lastly, the “shop” tab allows the audience to browse merchandise from The League to purchase, as well as review.
When looking at the Facebook page, the viewers are able to upload pictures, videos or both. Also, viewers are able to comment on other posts, pictures or videos, allowing interaction. Similar to the Facebook page, the Twitter account allows viewers to tweet, or re-tweet comments posted but either the user or viewers. Twitter also has the feature “hashtag,” which allows the users and viewers to “hashtag” different aspects of the show linking other viewers together. This allows the viewers to interact with not only other viewers but also the users, keeping everyone in touch.
Since the new season of The League begins Fall 2014, the immediacy regarding posts and tweets are lacking. Seeing that the upcoming season has not been released, there has not been much activity between the users and the viewers. Since The League only utilizes a Facebook, Twitter and official website, there seems to be a lack of communication between the users and the viewers. In searching for blogs or forums, there is nothing to be found. This seems to be a downfall, no interaction between the users and viewers to discuss the upcoming season.
Seeing the lack of technology in engaging viewers, this seems to be something that may to loose viewers. The audience wants to interact with one another and stay up-to-date with insiders from the upcoming seasons, however there is very little communication between the viewers and the users.
American Horror Story has been a hit with millions of viewers worldwide (TVbytheNumbers.com). The FX television series, American Horror Story, is so popular; they are using multiple forms of social media to its advantage.
American Horror Story: The Coven has an official website, twitter, Facebook page, and Tumbler. In these different social media platforms, there are links to articles written on the show, and also video clips of the show on FX and YouTube. The show attracts so many viewers because it stays trending and popular.
The Facebook page is constantly posting videos and picture of scenes for its fans/viewers to read and look at. The twitter page is constantly active receiving tweets and sending them out for others to view. The show also keeps updates available to the new season’s arrival, plot, and cast. All this availability allows this show to provide information to its viewers constantly, immediately, and efficiently, thus making them exert true immediacy.
Through these channels, viewers can send messages on Facebook, tweets through twitter, and comments to the show and other viewers all mediums. This also allows for cast members, the official show, and other viewers to communicate with each other. Viewers can send a message to the cast, and the cast can send a reply back.
American Horror Story: the Coven also has a very interactive Tumbler. There is a tap on their tumbler account to pages dedicated to certain characters. This interactive feature allows you to post comments/replies to character fans directly, and every the cast member themselves. This way an interaction with viewers and creators/character allows for fans to resonate with the show more. Since the vast majority of individuals interact via social media platforms that blanked the many aspects of CMC, they reach the largest audience possible, which is their main goal.
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