BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- On the eve of spinning off a new channel dedicated to comedy and only comedy, FX on Friday provided more details about the most aggressive development slate in its 20-year history.
Six new comedies are expected to join new channel FXX -- which launches Sept. 2 -- while popular FX series such as "The League" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" will migrate over as well, as previously announced.
In addition, FX ordered two new dramas for the mother (or since it is mostly a channel for guys, father) channel. They are: "The Strain," starring Corey Stoll and John Hurt, produced by Guillermo del Toro and "Lost's" Carlton Cuse, based on the novel of the same name by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, about a vampire virus that infects New York; and "Tyrant," produced by (among others) "24's" Howard Gordon, about a family sucked into violence in the Middle East.
And yes, you will need a score card to keep track of the new comedies, but they include projects produced by Billy Crystal, Larry Charles and Charlie Kaufman, and others starring Tracy Morgan, Nat Faxon and Judy Greer.
Calling the production boom "the most exciting time in our history," FX chief John Landgraf Saturday did add this cautionary note: "There's no doubt that launching a channel in this environment is a big challenge. We'll have our moments of both success and failure."
(Cablevision, which owns Newsday, has yet to officially announce when FXX will join its channel lineup.)
Billy Bob Thornton has been cast in FX's 10-episode adaptation of "Fargo," the Oscar-winning Coen brothers movie of the same name. He'll play Lorne Malvo, based on a similar character played by Steve Buscemi in the flick. The series will air next spring.
Just two seasons old, "American Horror Story" has emerged as one of FX's most popular series, and also most honored (17 Emmy nominations for the second season alone.) The pedal is about to be applied to the metal further. The third season, "Coven," arriving October, stars Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates and Sarah Paulson. On Friday, reporters learned a few additional details about the new edition, set in New Orleans. Said Lange: "Some of us play witches. Some play historical characters. I do play a witch. You know, we move back and forth in time. So it encompasses a lot of different stories."
Meanwhile, series producer Tim Minear said the new edition will be a little lighter in tone: "There is a very strong feminist theme that runs throughout 'Coven' this year. There are also themes of race and themes of oppression. . . . Those are some of the things we'll be exploring this year, along with laughs and scares and a few tears."