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|Type||Broadcast television network|
|Founded||by Rupert Murdoch|
|Slogan||We Are FOX|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||United States|
|Owner||Fox Entertainment Group|
(21st Century Fox)
|Key people||Kevin Reilly (Chairman, Entertainment)|
|Launch date||October 9, 1986 (On-air operations)|
April 5, 1987 (Primetime launch)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV; formatted to downconverted widescreen in many markets) (October 9, 1986 – June 12, 2009)|
720p (HDTV) (September 12, 2004–present)
|Type||Broadcast television network|
|Founded||by Rupert Murdoch|
|Slogan||We Are FOX|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||United States|
|Owner||Fox Entertainment Group|
(21st Century Fox)
|Key people||Kevin Reilly (Chairman, Entertainment)|
|Launch date||October 9, 1986 (On-air operations)|
April 5, 1987 (Primetime launch)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV; formatted to downconverted widescreen in many markets) (October 9, 1986 – June 12, 2009)|
720p (HDTV) (September 12, 2004–present)
The Fox Broadcasting Company (corporate name FOX Broadcasting Company, Inc.; commonly referred to as Fox or the Fox Network, and stylized as FOX), is an American commercial broadcasting television network that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group division of 21st Century Fox.
Launched on October 9, 1986 as a fourth television network, Fox went on to become the highest-rated broadcast network in the 18–49 demographic from 2004 to 2012 and in the 2007–08 season was the most-watched network in the United States.
The Fox Broadcasting Company and its affiliates operate many entertainment channels internationally, 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. Fox affiliate, although most of Fox's primetime programming (as well as NFL on Fox) is subject to Canadian simultaneous substitution regulations.
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.
20th Century Fox was involved in television production as early as the 1950s, producing several syndicated programs during this era. In November 1956, 20th Century Fox purchased 50% of the NTA Film Network, an early syndicator of films and television programs. Following the demise of the DuMont Television Network, 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.
The network's foundations were laid in March 1985 by News Corporation's $250-million purchase of 50 percent of 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 company Metromedia. These stations were: 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, WCVB-TV in Boston, an ABC affiliate, was part of the original transaction but was spun off to 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 (two years later, News Corporation acquired Boston's WXNE-TV from the Christian Broadcasting Network and changed its call letters to WFXT).
In October 1985, 20th Century Fox announced its intentions to form a fourth television network which would compete with the three major U.S. television networks (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 to WNYW and KDAF respectively. These first six stations, then broadcasting to 22 percent of the nation's households, became known as the Fox Television Stations group.
The network's first program was a late-night talk show, The Late Show, which debuted on October 9, 1986 and was hosted by 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 which affiliated with the network in the weeks before the April 1987 primetime launch, such as Milwaukee's WCGV-TV, signed affiliation agreements 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 sitcom Married... with Children and the sketch comedy series The Tracey Ullman Show. It 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 a two-hour movie premiere of Werewolf, and 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. 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.
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, and was permanently canceled 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, in the 1989 television season. The following year, two additional nights of programming were added on Thursdays and Fridays; Fox aired programming on all seven nights for the first time in the 1993 television season with a primetime expansion to Tuesdays and Wednesdays (this format of gradually adding of nights to the programming schedule was replicated by The WB and UPN when those networks launched in January 1995). The 1989 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. This was also the year Fox first introduced its Saturday night combination of Cops followed by America's Most Wanted which would be a staple combination of programming on the network for just over two decades.
Unlike the three larger networks, which air prime time programming from 8 to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturdays and 7 to 11 p.m. Sundays (Eastern Time), Fox has traditionally avoided programming the 10 p.m. hour except for special film presentations which by virtue of their running time must spill over into the 10 p.m. hour and live sports, leaving that hour to affiliates to program locally. The network did schedule programming in the 10 p.m. hour on Sunday nights between 1989 and 1992, but never added programming at that hour on any other night.
Except for KDAF (which was sold to Renaissance Broadcasting in 1995 and became a WB affiliate at the same time), all the original 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 (originally known as WABD) and WTTG were two of the three original owned-and-operated stations of the DuMont network.
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 (it, for instance, did not have to adhere to the fin-syn laws in effect at the time), 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 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 (such as The WB, UPN and The CW) 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 big three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). Until the early 1990s, when Fox expanded programming to additional nights and outside of primetime, most Fox stations were still essentially independents.
This all changed when Fox lured the National Football League away from CBS in 1993. Fox signed a multi-million dollar contract to broadcast the NFC, which included luring Pat Summerall, John Madden, Dick Stockton, Matt Millen, James Brown, and Terry Bradshaw (as well as many behind-the-scenes production personnel) from CBS Sports as well. Shortly afterward, News Corporation began buying more television station groups. The first was New World Communications, which had signed an affiliation deal with Fox in 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 (including two that were later sold to Fox outright due to ownership conflicts) 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 2001, Fox bought several stations owned by Chris-Craft Industries and its subsidiaries BHC Communications and United Television (most of these were UPN affiliates, although one later became a Fox owned-and-operated station). This made Fox one of the largest owners of television stations in the United States.
The early and mid-1990s saw the launch of several soap-opera dramas aimed at younger audiences that became quick hits: Beverly Hills, 90210; Melrose Place; Living Single; New York Undercover; and Party of Five. 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, which would find long-lasting success, and would be Fox's first series to crack Nielsen's year-end Top 20.
The sketch comedy series In Living Color created many memorable characters (and launched the careers of future movie stars Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Damon Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and "Fly Girl" dancer Jennifer Lopez). 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 most successful show on Saturday nights; MADtv ended its run in 2009 after 14 seasons.
Fox would expand to a full week's worth of programming in 1993, which included scheduling the breakout hit The Simpsons opposite NBC's The Cosby Show as one of Fox's initial Thursday night offerings in the fall of 1990 (along with future hit Beverly Hills, 90210) 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 hit in 1992. The Simpsons returned to Sunday nights in the fall of 1994, and has been 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 (Love and Marriage) 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 roundly rejected by the viewing public, which brought swift cancellation to the newer series. Married... quickly returned to its previous night (Sundays, before moving again to Mondays two months later), 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 led ABC, NBC and CBS to largely abandon first-run series on that night (other than newsmagazines, sports and burned off primetime shows that failed on other nights) in favor of reruns and movies by the mid-2000s. America's Most Wanted ended its 23-year run on Fox in June 2011; Cops, meanwhile, will move to Spike in 2013, leaving sports and repeats of reality and drama series as the only programs airing on Fox on Saturday evenings.
Notable shows that debuted in the late 1990s included the quirky dramedy Ally McBeal and period sitcom That '70s Show, Fox's second-longest-running live-action sitcom behind Married... with Children. By the 1997–98 season, Fox had three shows in the Nielsen Top 20, The X-Files which ranked 11th, King of the Hill which ranked 15th, and The Simpsons which ranked 17th.
Building around its flagship The Simpsons, Fox has been relatively successful with animated series. King of the Hill began in 1997; Family Guy and Futurama began in 1999 and were canceled in 2002 and 2003, respectively. However, the network commissioned new episodes of Family Guy that began in 2005 due to strong DVD sales and highly rated cable reruns on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Futurama would be revived with four direct-to-DVD films between 2007 and 2009 and would return as a 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 (originally airing on ABC then moved to Fox before being cancelled), and The PJs (which was later broadcast on The WB).
Throughout the 1990s, Fox launched its slate of cable channels – FX, Fox News Channel, FXM: Movies from Fox (now FX Movie Channel), a controlling interest in the Fox Sports Net regional sports networks, Speed Channel (which was replaced by Fox Sports 1 in August 2013), Fox Sports World (later Fox Soccer, which was replaced by FXX in September 2013) and Fox Sports en Espanol (now Fox Deportes).
By 2000, many staple Fox shows of the 1990s had ended. 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 shows, Fox 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. By 2005, Fox's most popular show by far was the talent competition series American Idol, peaking at up to 37 million viewers on certain episodes and becoming the nation's highest-rated program during the 2004–05 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 in the 2005–06 season.
Fox hit a milestone in February 2005 by scoring its first-ever sweeps victory among all viewers. This was largely due to the broadcast of Super Bowl XXXIX, but also on the strength of American Idol, 24, House, and The O.C. By the end of the 2004–05 television season, Fox ranked #1 for the first time in its history among the 18–49 demographic most appealing to advertisers. 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 has 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.
During 2012–13, Fox suffered a ratings collapse; American Idol and Glee suffered their lowest ratings ever, along with the network as a whole suffering a 22% decrease in viewership among the 18-49 demographic and falling to third place in total viewers by the end of the season.
On January 13, 2014, Fox announced they would abandon the pilot system, thus dropping their pilot season.
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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: 8–10 p.m. Monday through Saturday (all times ET/PT) and 7–10 p.m. on Sundays. An hour of late night animated programming is also offered on Saturdays from 11 p.m.–midnight ET/PT, branded under the Animation Domination High-Def banner, though scheduling for that hour varies by market due to late local newscasts in the traditional 11 p.m. timeslot. Weekend daytime programming consists of the paid programming block Weekend Marketplace (Saturdays from 10 a.m.–noon, although the block is not carried by all affiliates or offered to another station in the market), and the hour-long Sunday morning political news program – and the network's only regular national news program – Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (9–10 a.m. ET/PT, varied by market due to local news or public affairs programming).
Sports programming is also provided, usually on weekends (albeit not every weekend year-round), and most commonly between 12–4 or 12–8 p.m. on Sundays (often airing longer hours during football season, slightly less during NASCAR season), 3:30–7 p.m. on Saturday afternoons (during baseball season) and during primetime on certain Saturday evenings, with the Saturday evening primetime block currently varying between occasional UFC on Fox events, MLB 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 parent company, usually 20th Century Fox Television or Fox Television Studios.
Typically every Sunday night during primetime (unless preempted, usually by sports telecasts), Fox airs a lineup of original adult animated television sitcoms. This block of adult cartoons–branded by Fox as Animation Domination–has become a staple of the network.
The Animation Domination block debuted on May 1, 2005. The first programs to air in the lineup were American Dad! (which also had its beginnings in the lineup, and will move its first-run episodes to TBS—which already airs reruns of the series—in July 2014), Family Guy (which returned to the network after a four-year cancellation as part of Animation Domination when the lineup began), The Simpsons (the longest-running cartoon, predating the lineup by 16 years), and King of the Hill (which also predated the lineup but by 8 years). Shows currently airing in the lineup include American Dad!, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Bob's Burgers. Among now cancelled programs that previously aired in the lineup include King of the Hill; Sit Down, Shut Up; Allen Gregory; Napoleon Dynamite and The Cleveland Show. An extension of the Sunday primetime block called Animation Domintation High-Def launched on Saturday late nights in July 2013 (marking the return of first-run programming in that time period since the 2010 cancellation of The Wanda Sykes Show), with ADHD Shorts, Axe Cop and High School USA!.
Fox began airing children's programming in 1990 when it launched the Fox Kids Network program block, which aired six days a week, first on Saturday mornings and later on Monday through Friday mornings and afternoons. Its children's programming consisted mainly of cartoons, although it also aired some live-action series (particularly fantasy action programs) including Power Rangers (currently airing on Nickelodeon), 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. Animation-produced Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs and later Batman: The Animated Series (all of which originated either on Fox Kids or in syndication), 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 (now ABC Family) to The Walt Disney Company; the following year, it would replace Fox Kids with a new children's program block, FoxBox (which was renamed 4KidsTV the following year), 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 (the latter of which Fox stations now purchase on the syndication market, as the network decided to stop supplying children's programming on its own), while the latter two hours were kept by Fox to run a network-managed paid programming block named Weekend Marketplace.
Unlike the Big Three, Fox does not currently air national morning or evening news programs, choosing to focus solely on its primetime schedule. 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 all cable and satellite providers in the United States. Fox News does produce some news coverage carried by the broadcast network, usually separate from the coverage aired on the cable channel, as Fox Report and Studio B anchor Shepard Smith anchors most primetime news presentations on the Fox network, especially during political news events (which are anchored by Bret Baier on the Fox News Channel).
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; for example, unlike the Big Three, Fox does not often provide coverage of major political convention speeches, which usually occur during the 10 p.m. ET hour during which many of its affiliates air local newscasts; however the majority of Fox's O&Os and station groups do take weekday breaking news briefs). The political discussion show Fox News Sunday also airs on the Fox network on Sunday mornings and is later repeated on FNC. Fox also operates an affiliate news service called Fox NewsEdge, which provides national and international news reports for local Fox stations to use in their own newscasts.
Fox first tried its hand at a national news program in primetime in 1988, with an hour-long weekly newsmagazine called 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 network primetime from the network's launch 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's Shepard Smith.
Many Fox stations have a local morning newscast that airs on average two to six hours, including an extra two hours from 7 to 9 a.m. (or until 10 a.m. in several markets) as a local alternative to the national morning news programs. However, Fox did air a national morning show called Fox After Breakfast (which originated as Breakfast Time on Fox's cable sister FX) from 1996 to 1998, an hour-long program that aired at 9 a.m. as opposed to the morning shows on the other major networks that air from 7–9 a.m. Fox tried its hand at a national morning show again in 2001 – this time in syndication – with Good Day Live, an offshoot of Fox-owned Los Angeles station KTTV's Good Day L.A., which was heavily entertainment-focused; the national show was cancelled in 2005. On January 22, 2007, Fox premiered The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet (hosted by Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy of the Fox News Channel's DaySide program), on its owned-and-operated stations. The show was lighter in format and more entertainment-oriented, though the show's focus often changed when major news stories occurred. In February 2007, the show was syndicated to many stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, and CBS in markets where it was not carried by a Fox or MyNetworkTV affiliate; it was cancelled in June 2009.
When the network launched, Fox management, having seen the critical role that sports programming (soccer programming in particular) 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 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 in 1993, when the football contract was up for renewal, Fox made a $1.58 billion bid for broadcast rights to the NFC for four years. The NFL selected the Fox bid, stripping CBS of football 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 Fox reaching a deal with New World Communications to change the affiliations of 10 of their stations to Fox. The rights gave Fox many new viewers and a platform for advertising its other shows.
With a sports division now established with the arrival of the NFL, Fox acquired over-air broadcast rights to the National Hockey League (1994–99), Major League Baseball (since 1996), and NASCAR auto racing (since 2001). From 2007 to 2010, Fox aired the Bowl Championship Series college football games, except for the Rose Bowl, which remained on ABC. The package also included the BCS Championship Game, except in 2010 when the game was played at the Rose Bowl.
In August 2011, Fox and mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) reached a multi-year deal. The agreement includes the rights to broadcast four live events in prime time or late night each year, marking the first time UFC has aired on broadcast television.
Fox maintains several venues to watch their network's programming via video on demand, including a traditional video-on-demand service called Fox on Demand that 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 (a commonality for video-on-demand television services provided by the U.S. broadcast networks) 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 Fox 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 began broadcasting its programming in 720p high definition on September 12, 2004 with week one of the 2004 NFL season and that day's NFC slate of games. The network does not display a digital on-screen graphic logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, except for a ten-second promotional sweep of a "Fox HD" acknowledgement (which before the end of 2010, also featured a sponsor tag for DirecTV); 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 16:9 right-hand corner of the screen, which disappears during commercial breaks (during local pre-emptions of Fox programming, the logo does remain on display even though the station is not airing the programming). 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 their network logo in the 4:3 safe area and forgoes the affiliate's logo, mainly for promotional consideration due to fair use of clips from each series by other media outlets (such as news programming and clip programs like those seen on E! and). 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 shows, a hashtag rests above the affiliate's logo (e.g. #newgirl or #bones) 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 (for instance, the #saturdaynightGLEEver tag for an April 2012 episode of Glee with that episode title) 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 hastag is directly above the Fox logo in the safe area. Beginning with New Year's Eve Live!, The Following, and the March 20, 2013 episode of American Idol, the bug was moved to the 16:9 area.
Fox was the only commercial television network (broadcast, cable or satellite) 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 (American Idol being the first major exception, as it began to be presented in high definition in 2008) were later only presented in the enhanced definition widescreen mode. The children's sports show This Week in Baseball began airing in widescreen in 2009, while Sunday political talk program Fox News Sunday converted to HD when Fox News Channel began operating from its new HD facilities in November 2008 (before the network's widescreen presentation effort went into effect in September 2010, it was the final Fox News program to be produced to fit the 4:3 safe area, as Fox News Channel itself converted to a full-time widescreen presentation on both its HD and standard definition channels in 2009). 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 p.m. timeslot and 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[update].
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 to broadcast their 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.
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 television affiliates, covering markets like Youngstown, Ohio (WYFX) and Santa Barbara, California (KKFX), broadcasting in analog format. 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 the largest affiliate group carrying Fox, with fourteen stations, including some former Fox O&O's spun off in 2008 to finance the purchase of the Wall Street Journal.
During the early 1990s, Fox began having its stations branded as "Fox", then the channel number, and then often followed by the call sign. For instance, WNYW in New York City, WTTG in Washington, D.C., and WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia, are referred to as "Fox 5". 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 ("O&O").
Starting in 2006, more standardization of the O&Os began to take place both on the air and online. All the 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 (which it sold in June 2011), some Fox O&Os launched websites that look the same and have similar URL addresses under the "MyFox" scheme (such as MyFoxDC.com for WTTG).
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, the year that 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. On April 5, 1987 (when the network began offering prime time programming), a more familiar logo was introduced, which was based on 20th Century Fox's longtime logo with the noted difference being that the only wording in the logo was the "FOX" in capital letters. It also contained the signature Fox searchlights and the double-pane platform under the "FOX" typing (FX Movie Channel currently uses a logo also modeled after the 20th Century Fox logo for its Fox Movie Channel block).
In 1993, the familiar logo was given a more "hip" makeover, with the "FOX" wordmark revised, and the angle changed so that the entire logo faces the viewer head-on. Starting with this logo, the network began displaying an on-screen bug within its programs (in which the network logo is featured 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 again revised, dropping the searchlights, but keeping the lower double panes and adding one atop the logotype. The 1993 logo returned in 1996, this time without the panes underneath the network name, but leaving the searchlights and Fox wordmark.
The current version of the logo was introduced in 1999 when the 20th Century Fox searchlights were removed completely, making the network name the sole part of the logo. Despite this, the searchlight theme remains an integral part of 21st Century Fox's branding efforts, they are still seen in the Fox News Channel logo, and in the universal station logo introduced in 2006 by Fox's owned-and-operated stations, and most of the former Fox O&Os that were sold to Local TV in 2008 that retained the logo scheme and had spread to several Fox stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting (including as of December 2013 those Local TV stations) and certain other Fox affiliates not owned or operated by either company. The older 1996–1999 Fox logo with searchlights is still used in 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 seen in FX's logo until a rebranding effort in 2008.
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 p.m. (ET/PT) time slot. 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 (such as game shows or talk shows). Because of this, affiliates take on the responsibility of programming daytime hours with syndicated programming (two syndicated daytime courtroom shows currently carried by most of the network's affiliates, Divorce Court and Judge Alex, are produced by corporate sister 20th Television); Warner Bros. Television Distribution also has Fox O&O's 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 shows. 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.
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 ABC, CBS and NBC (which typically carry a minimum of 3½ hours of daily local news programming in morning, late afternoon and late evening timeslots). The most common scheduling format for Fox's affiliates is to run a one- or two-hour morning newscast at 7 a.m. (though stations that produce their own morning newscasts will often have an earlier start time for the program) and a half-hour or hour-long newscast in the hour following the network's primetime programming (10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, 9 p.m. Central and Mountain Time). However, there are several stations (most notably KTVU in San Francisco, as well as most of Fox's O&Os, save for WFLD in Chicago) that maintain in-house news departments which utilize a news-intensive format that includes midday and early evening newscasts (more closely mirroring news schedules of ABC, CBS and NBC stations), this 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, 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts while moving its 11 p.m. newscast to 10 p.m. (which was expanded to one hour, an 11 p.m. newscast was later brought back to the schedule in 1995) and expanding the morning newscast to three hours. 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 (each of whom have roughly ⅝-⅞ of their stations that broadcast local news programs, either in-house or in conjunction with another station). Many Fox stations that have created news departments from scratch 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 eventually added later. As of September 2013, 68 stations (including 17 of its 18 owned-and-operated stations) aligned with Fox produce their own local news programming through news departments run by the stations. WSVN has the largest number of hours devoted to local news programming of any Fox station with roughly 61½ hours each week, followed by WTVT/Tampa with 60 hours each week.
In several markets, the local Fox affiliate outsources news programming to an NBC, ABC or CBS station in the market (either due to insufficient funds or studio space to produce their own newscasts or in most cases, the station being operated as part of a legal duopoly or through an operational agreement with a major network affiliate); 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 (differing from outsourcing agreements between two stations affiliated with the three pre-1986 broadcast networks where newscasts may be simulcast on both stations in the same timeslots). 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/Pittsburgh (ranked as the 23rd largest market) is the largest Fox station by Nielsen market ranking using this arrangement as its 10 p.m. newscast has been produced by Cox Media-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. The largest Fox affiliate by market size that had no news programming at all until April 2013 was WUTV/Buffalo, a Sinclair station which long opted to air only syndicated programming instead of investing in a news department or contracting news programming to another Buffalo area station, as it is within range of the Toronto market and features advertising targeted at Southern Ontario viewers, as well as due to the large number of Buffalo, Hamilton and Toronto area stations already producing local newscasts. In that month to increase the exposure and ratings of the 10 p.m. newscast produced by Gannett-owned NBC affiliate WGRZ-TV on WUTV's sister MyNetworkTV station WNYO-TV, Sinclair agreed to move that program to WUTV, and also take a WGRZ-produced morning newscast to air on WUTV while WGRZ airs Today. With that, Evansville, Indiana's WEVV-DT2 is currently the largest market Fox affiliate overall, and Springfield, Missouri's KRBK the largest Fox station whose affiliation is carried on its primary channel that do not carry news programming.
Although the Fox network itself does not carry any national, regularly scheduled news programming other than Fox News Sunday, both this 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 deciding not to carry scheduled news events such as presidential speeches at times in primetime in order to air regular entertainment programming (such as a speech in September 2009 which would have jeopardized the long-promoted fall premiere of Glee had it aired).
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 the Fox network because the FCC 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 make the FCC fine the Fox network nearly $1 million for Married by America. 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.
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 (such as KCPQ/Seattle, KAYU-TV/Spokane, KMSP-TV/Minneapolis-St. Paul, WFFF-TV/Burlington, WFXT/Boston, WJBK/Detroit and WUTV/Buffalo). Most programming is generally the same, aside from simultaneous substitutions imposed by the provider that result 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.
For Canadian television networks, programs seen on Fox in the United States are distributed on the open market and air on other Canadian networks with simsubbing in most cases, usually CTV/CTV Two or Citytv for the network's live action programming, and Global for the network's animated programs.
In the Caribbean, many cable and satellite television providers offer Fox programming through WNYW/New York City or WSVN/Miami. 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, via over-the-air stations in the United States. Fox programming is available in Bermuda on cable television.
Fox programming is shown on KEQI-LP in Guam. Programming is shown day and date on a one-day delay using tape delay due to Guam being on the west side of the International Date Line (for example, the Sunday night "Animation Domination" block is carried on Monday nights and is promoted as such), 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.
Fox is available on cable television in the Federated States of Micronesia, also via KHON-TV.
On October 15, 2011, a local version of the network is available in Bulgaria. Fox Bulgaria is part of a collection of television channels 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.
A local version of Fox debuted in Latvia on October 1, 2012.
A Russian version of FOX Russia debuted by discontinuing broadcasting "FOX Crime Russia" on October 1, 2012. Russia also has a special version for women and girls - Fox Life. Fox Russia also distributes its signals and other Russian channels: Baby TV, NatGeo Wild, National Geographic Channel.
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.
Fox launched in Croatia on October 15, 2012. Also operated by Fox International Channels Bulgaria, all of Fox's channels (Fox, Fox Life, Fox Crime, Fox Movies, 24Kitchen, NatGeo (both SD and HD), NatGeo Wild (also HD and SD) and BabyTV have identical programming as those in Serbia. Most of them (all except NatGeo HD and BabyTV) feature subtitled promos and content. All channels except for BabyTV are broadcast in 16:9 widescreen, while Fox will soon be offered in HD.
Fox Turkey launched in Turkey on February 24, 2007.
On October 1, 2012, FX was rebranded as Fox in Greece and Cyprus. The channel is operated alongside others owned by Fox International Channels Greece: Fox, Fox Life, Nat Geo (SD and HD), NatGeo Wild (SD & HD), 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 local productions, the production of local documentaries and the HD development for Fox and FOXlife, because of the success of Fox International Channels in Greece.
A local version of Fox launched in the Netherlands on August 19, 2013. The channel's schedule features 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.
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