The comedies officially launched FXX on Wednesday night (September 4th), and retained most of their audience, despite the fact that the new channel is in 26 million fewer home than their former home, FX.
Though the shows have loyal followings, there was no guarantee that audiences would make the jump for the shows on a new night, let alone on a new network. Viewers had to do the work on their own to find FXX, which is replacing Fox Soccer on most major cable plans, and then, of course, remember that the shows now air on Wednesday rather than Thursdays.
According to Nielsen estimates, the season nine premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia averaged 648,000 adults 18-49 – down from 809,000 with it’s premiere last October, though the show bested its viewership with men 18-34 (396,000 to 366,000 last year).
The League also showed promise, building from its Sunny lead-in, with 687,000 adults 18-49, down from 732,000 a year ago. The overall audience remained within 13% of last year’s viewership.
While FXX made one smart decision avoiding putting such male-skewing comedies opposite NFL programming on Thursdays, the scheduling shift now pits the comedies against first-run FX dramas The Bridge, now, and American Horror Story, next month. However, FX has said that one reason for differentiating the original network and the new comedy-centric FXX is to hopefully bring a younger skew to the latter – which was the case on Wednesday night’s opener, where comedies on FXX ranked best among men 18-34, and FX dramas performed best with men 25-54.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the numbers play out for FX/FXX dramas and comedies as the season continues. Hopefully with a bit more promotion, and the addition of FXX in homes, the network will more concretely prove itself.
In addition to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League, FXX original comedies Legit and Chozen (an animated series) will be joining the lineup.