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FX Network heading north

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BEVERLY HILLS -- FX Network, the U.S.-cable outlet responsible for such acclaimed TV-series titles as The Shield, Damages, Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy and Justified, is about to find a home on Canadian television.

Representatives of Canadian cable/broadcasting giant Rogers Media joined FX executives in Los Angeles on Saturday to announce the launch of FX Canada, a new digital-cable channel that is expected to debut on Nov. 1.

FX, a basic-cable channel launched by Fox Broadcasting in the early 1990s with a roster of mostly movies and sports, has in recent years become one of U.S. television's most innovative creators of original programming. Titles such as The Shield and Damages have won numerous awards and set a new standard for original made-for-cable programming -- a blueprint that has since been followed by AMC, which was once a classic-movie channel but now produces award-winners like Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

Moore confirmed Saturday that FX Canada's Nov. 1 rollout will be offered on a free-preview basis to Rogers' 1.7 million digital-cable customers, and said the company hopes to have carriage deals in place with other providers, such as Shaw and MTS TV in Winnipeg, in time for the new channel's launch.

In addition to offering such FX titles as Louie, the acclaimed cable sitcom starring standup comic Louis C.K., The League, a comedy about friends competing in a fantasy-football draft, and new fall arrival American Horror Story -- a dark, grisly drama from Nip/Tuck and Glee creator Ryan Murphy that stars Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) and Dylan McDermott (The Practice), FX Canada will carry the Rogers-produced Canadian drama Murdoch Mysteries and will begin developing its own roster of homegrown series.

Moore said FX Canada's broadcast license requires that 15 per cent of its programming is Canadian in its first year, 20 per cent in its second year and a full one-quarter Canadian by its third year.

-- Oswald

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2011 C3

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