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Fox Broadcasting Company

"FOX" redirects here. For other uses, see Fox (disambiguation). Fox Broadcasting Company Type Broadcasttelevision networkCountry United StatesAvailability United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Philippines, Australiaand EuropeFounded by Rupert Murdoch, Barry DillerSloganFox On Owner News CorporationKey people Peter Liguori—Chairman, Entertainment
Kevin ReillyPresident, Entertainment Launch date October 9, 1986Former names Briefly abbreviated "FBC" Website

The Fox Broadcasting Company, usually referred to as just Fox (the company itself prefers the capitalized version FOX), is a television network in the United States. It is owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Since its launch on October 9, 1986, Fox has grown from an upstart "netlet" to the status of the highest-rated broadcast network in the coveted 18-49 demographic from 2004-2007. [2] In the 2007-08 season, Fox became the most popular network in America in general household ratings, dethroning CBS. [3]

The Fox name has been used on other entertainment channels internationally that are affiliated with News Corp., including in Australia (FOX8), Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, Italy, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Portugal, South America, Brazil and Turkey although these do not necessarily air the same programming as the U.S. network. Most viewers in Canada have access to at least one affiliate of the U.S. network.

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.



Groundwork for the Fox network began in March 1985 with 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 $1.55 billion to acquire independent television stations in six major U.S. cities from John Kluge's 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, ABC-affiliated WCVB-TV in Boston, was part of the original transaction but was spun-off in a separate, concurrent deal to the Hearst Corporation as part of a right of first refusal related to that station's 1982 sale to Metromedia.

In October 1985, 20th Century Fox announced its intentions to form an independent television system 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 New York and Dallas outlets were subsequently renamed 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.

Except for KDAF (which was sold to the Tribune Company in 1995), all of 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 of DuMont, since Metromedia was a successor to the DuMont corporation and the Metromedia television stations formed the nucleus of the Fox network.[1] WNYW (originally known as WABD) and WTTG were two of the three original owned and operated (O&O) stations in the DuMont network; the third of the former Dumont O&O's (WDTV Pittsburgh) is currently owned by CBS.

1986: The fourth network is born

In January 1986, Murdoch said of his planned network, "We at Fox at the moment are deeply involved in working to put shape and form on original programs. These will be shows with no outer limits. The only rules that we will enforce on these programs is they must have taste, they must be engaging, they must be entertaining and they must be original."

On May 6, 1986, Murdoch, along with newly-hired Fox chief operating officer and chairman Barry Diller and comedian Joan Rivers, announced plans for "FBC" or the "Fox Broadcasting Company", to be launched with a daily late-night talk show program, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. When Fox was launched on October 9, 1986, it was broadcast to 96 stations reaching more than 80 percent of the nation's households. Starting with the former Metromedia outlets, Fox had lined up 90 independent stations as affiliates, including notables such as KTVU in Oakland, California, WTAF-TV in Philadelphia, WKBD-TV in Detroit, WTOG-TV in St. Petersburg, Florida, and KPTV in Portland, Oregon. By contrast, ABC, CBS and NBC each had between 210 and 215 affiliates reaching more than 97 percent of the nation's households. Despite broadcasting only one show, the network was busy producing new programs with plans to gradually add prime-time programming one night at a time.

Rivers would be gone from the show in 1987, with various guest hosts taking over for a few years afterward; one notable face was Arsenio Hall, who would later front his own late-night talk show to great success, albeit in syndication and not for Fox.

From the beginning, Fox portrayed itself as a somewhat edgy, irreverent, youth-oriented network compared to its rivals. Its first prime time shows, which debuted on Sunday nights beginning April 5, 1987, were a comedy about a dysfunctional family (Married... with Children) and a variety series (The Tracey Ullman Show). The former would become a major hit for the network, airing for 11 seasons, while the latter would spawn the longest-running sitcom and animated series in U.S. history: The Simpsons, spun off in 1989. Another early success was 21 Jump Street, an hour-long police drama. The original Sunday lineup[2] also included the sitcoms Duet and Mr. President.[3]

Fox debuted its Saturday night programming over four weeks beginning July 11, 1987, with several shows now long forgotten: Werewolf, Women in Prison,[4] The New Adventures of Beans Baxter and Second Chance.[5]

The next two years saw the introduction of America's Most Wanted, profiling true crimes in hopes of capturing the criminals, and COPS, a reality show documenting the day-to-day activities of police officers. The two shows are among the network's longest-running and are credited with bringing reality television to the mainstream. In August 1988, America's Most Wanted was Fox's first show to break into the top 50 shows of the week according to the Nielsen ratings. As of 2007, both AMW and COPS were still in active production and are among prime time TV's longest-running television shows.

1990s: Rise into mainstream success

Despite a few successful shows, the network did not have a significant market share until the mid-1990s when News Corp. bought more TV station groups. The first was New World Communications, which had signed an affiliation deal with Fox in 1994 (see below). 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 converted to Fox). This made Fox one of the largest owners of television stations in the United States. Though 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).

This all changed when Fox lured the National Football League away from CBS in 1993. They signed a huge contract to broadcast the NFC, which included luring Pat Summerall, John Madden, Dick Stockton, Matt Millen, James Brown, and Terry Bradshaw from CBS as well. At first many were skeptical of this whole move, but the first year was a rousing success, and Fox was officially on the map for good.

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, New York Undercover and Party of Five. September 1993 saw the heavy promotion and debut of a short-lived Western with 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 25.

The sketch-comedy series In Living Color created many memorable characters (and launched the careers of future movie superstars Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jamie Foxx, and "Fly Girl" dancer Jennifer Lopez). MADtv, another sketch-comedy series, became a solid competitor to NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Fox would expand to seven nights a week of programming by 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 thrived in its new timeslot, helping to launch Martin, another Fox hit in 1992; The Simpsons returned to Sunday nights in the fall of 1994.)

Notable shows that debuted in the late 1990s include the quirky dramedy Ally McBeal and traditional sitcom That '70s Show, Fox's second-longest-running live-action sitcom behind Married... with Children.

Building around its flagship The Simpsons, Fox has been relatively successful with animated shows. King of the Hill began in 1997; Family Guy began in 1999, and was cancelled in 2002, but the network commissioned new episodes that began in 2005 due to strong DVD sales and highly rated cable reruns on Adult Swim of Cartoon Network. Less successful efforts included The Critic, which starred Jon Lovitz from Saturday Night Live, originally aired on ABC then moved to Fox before being cancelled, and The PJ's, which later aired on The WB.

2000s: The Idol effect

Fox arguably hit a few bumps in its programming during 1999 and the early 2000s. Many staple shows of the 1990s had ended or were on the decline. During this time, Fox put much of its efforts into producing reality fare with subjects often seen as extravagant, shocking, and/or distasteful. These included shows such as Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, Temptation Island, and Married by America. The most successful of these shows was Joe Millionaire, whose season one finale was watched by over 40 million people, although its second season was a ratings disappointment. During this time, Fox also featured weekly shows such as World's Wildest Police Videos and When Animals Attack!.

After shedding most of these shows, Fox regained a ratings foothold with acclaimed dramas such as 24, The O.C., and House, and comedies such as The Bernie Mac Show and Malcolm in the Middle. By 2005, Fox's most popular show by far was the talent search American Idol, peaking at up to 37 million viewers on certain episodes and finishing the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons as the nation's highest-rated program. 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-month 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 2004–2005 television season, Fox ranked No. 1 for the first time in its history among the 18–49 demographic most appealing to advertisers. On May 21, 2008, Fox took the #1 general households rating crown for the first time, over CBS, based on the strength of Super Bowl XLII and American Idol [6].

It was estimated in 2003 that Fox is viewable by 96.18% of all U.S. households, reaching 102,565,710 houses in the United States.[citation needed] Fox has 180 VHF and UHF owned-and-operated or affiliate stations in the United States and U.S. possessions. Fox began broadcasting in HDTV in 720p on September 12, 2004 with a series of NFL football games.


See also: Fox News Channel
Fox News Special Presentation title card for Fox News coverage on the Fox network

Unlike the Big Three, Fox does not air national morning or evening news programs. However, Fox does air live coverage of the State of the Union Address, as well as live breaking news alerts (also known as Fox News Alerts), and produces national news segments to air on the local Fox affiliates' news programs. Fox News Sunday airs on the local Fox network affiliates. In prime time, Fox first tried its hand at a news show in 1988 with an hour-long weekly newsmagazine called The Reporters, which was produced by the same team behind the FTSG-distributed syndicated tabloid program A Current Affair. After two years with low ratings, this program was cancelled.

After Murdoch and Roger Ailes launched FNC in 1996, the network tried 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. During the sweeps of the 2002–2003 TV season, Fox tried another attempt with The Pulse, hosted by Fox News Channel's Shepard Smith.

Many Fox stations have a local morning newscast that airs on average three to four hours, including an extra two hours from 7 to 9 a.m. as a local alternative to nationwide morning programming. Fox, however, did air a nationally based morning show called Fox After Breakfast (which was formerly Breakfast Time on Fox's FX cable channel) between 1996 and 1998, which aired on all affiliates from 9 to 10 a.m. as opposed to the other major networks airing theirs from 7 to 9 a.m. Fox tried its hand again in 2001 at another morning show called Good Day Live, inspired by KTTV's Good Day L.A. — this time in syndication mode. The show did not fare well in ratings and was canceled in 2005. On January 22, 2007, Fox premiered The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet for its O&O stations, hosted by Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy of the Fox News Channel's DaySide program. The show is a lighter, more entertainment-oriented show, though that can change when there is big news. In February 2007, the show was syndicated to many ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates where a MyNetworkTV or Fox station doesn't carry it.[7]

Fox Sports

Main article: Fox Sports

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. To this end, Fox bid aggressively for football from the start. In 1987, after ABC initially hedged on renewing its contract to carry Monday Night Football, Fox offered the NFL to pick up the contract 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 established itself as a major network, chose to renew its contract with ABC.

Six years later, when the football contract was up for renewal again, Fox made what at the time was a bold and aggressive move to acquire the rights. Knowing that it would likely need to bid considerably more than the incumbent networks to acquire a piece of the package, Fox bid $1.58 billion for 4 years of rights to the NFC, considered the more desirable conference due to its presence in most of the largest U.S. markets, such as New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. To the surprise and shock of many, the NFL selected the Fox bid, in the process stripping CBS of football for the first time since 1955.

Fox's acquisition of football was a watershed event not only for the network but for the NFL as well. Not only was it the event that placed Fox on a par with the "big three" broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) but it also ushered in an era of growth for the NFL which continues on largely to this day. More importantly, Fox's acquisition of the NFL rights also quickly led toward Fox reaching a deal with New World Communications to change the affiliation of 10 of their stations to Fox.

The rights gave Fox many new viewers (and affiliates) and a platform for advertising its other shows. With a sports division now established with the arrival of the NFL, Fox would later acquire over-air broadcast rights to the National Hockey League (1994–99), Major League Baseball (since 1996), and NASCAR auto racing (since 2001 season).

Beginning in 2007, Fox now airs the Bowl Championship Series college football games, with the exception of the Rose Bowl, which will remain on ABC. This package also includes the new BCS Championship Game, except once every four years, when the game is played at the Rose Bowl, which will be on ABC.

In the past few years, when Fox aired new episodes of original programing at 7 p.m. on Sundays during football season, some of the markets, especially on the East Coast, are unable to see all or part of the new episode of the scheduled show due to NFL overrun. Futurama was especially victim to this network decision. Beginning with the 2005 season, Fox has extended its football postgame show to 8 p.m. (the weeks Fox has a doubleheader) or it airs reruns of sitcoms (mostly The Simpsons and King of the Hill).

Station standardization

During the early 1990s, Fox began having stations branded as "Fox", then the channel number, with the call signs nearby. By the mid-to-late 1990s, the call signs were minimized to be just barely readable to FCC requirements, and the stations were simply known as "Fox", then channel number. (e.g. WNYW in New York City, WTTG in Washington, D.C., and WAGA in Atlanta, Georgia, are referred to as Fox 5.) This would be the start of the trend for other networks to do such naming schemes, especially at CBS, which uses the CBS Mandate on most of its owned and operated ("O&O") stations.

However, while the traditional "Big Three" do not require their affiliates to have such naming schemes, Fox recommends that all stations use it.[citation needed] (However, there are some exceptions; see below.) All Fox affiliates must have a Fox-approved logo, and most refer to themselves on-air as, for example, "Fox 12."[citation needed] But some affiliates do not include the channel number in the name, and opt instead to use a city/regional descriptor in place of the channel number (e.g. Parkersburg, West Virginia, affiliate WTAP employs the moniker Fox Parkersburg rather than Fox 14). This is because many cable companies assign Fox networks to different channels, often a different channel than it is broadcast over the air, which is especially true for Fox affiliates with a channel over 30; Fox O&O WFLD in Chicago goes by Fox Chicago rather than their channel number of 32.

Some affiliates, such as KTVU in Oakland-San Francisco mix between using Fox (channel number) to promote entertainment programming and another brand for news (like their Channel 2 News). A handful of others, like WSVN in the South Florida area and KHON in Honolulu, Hawaii, do not use the Fox brand at all.

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 includes changing the logos of almost all of these stations to have the same red, white and blue rotating box logo. The news music and graphics will eventually be the same on all the O&Os as well.[citation needed] However, WITI in Milwaukee chose to take on the new graphical coloring, but keep their horizontal FOX6 logo relatively similar to their previous version, due to the heavy integration of the former logo into the station's news set.

Taking a cue from News Corporation's recent acquisition of MySpace, many of the Fox O&Os launched new websites that look the same and have similar addresses. For example, takes visitors to the web site of the Fox owned-and-operated station in Washington D.C.


Fox adopted a 19-hour programming schedule in September 1993. It was expanded to 20 hours in 1996. It provides 15 hours of prime time programming to owned-and-operated and affiliated stations: 8-10 p.m. Monday to Friday (all times ET/PT), 8-10 p.m. and 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m on Saturday, and 7-10 p.m. on Sundays. Programming will also be provided Saturday mornings as part of a four-hour animation block under the banner 4Kids TV (which in some markets, especially where Fox Television Stations Group owns both the Fox and MyNetworkTV affiliates and the Fox affiliate was formerly owned by New World Communications, will air on the MyNetworkTV affiliate, while the Fox station airs local news) and the hour-long political news program Fox News Sunday (time slot may vary).

Sports programming is also provided (albeit not every weekend year-round) 12-4 or 8 p.m. Sundays (during football season, slightly less during NASCAR season) and 3:30-7 p.m. Saturday afternoons (during baseball season).

Prime time

Further information: List of programs broadcast by Fox

Returning comedies are in red; new comedies are in pink; returning dramas are in green; new dramas are in blue; returning reality shows are in yellow; returning game shows are in orange; new game shows are in beige; sports programming is in purple.

All times are Eastern and Pacific (subtract one hour for Central and add one hour for Mountain time).

7:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m. Sunday Don't Forget the Lyrics!The SimpsonsKing of the HillFamily GuyAmerican Dad!Monday Local Programming BonesHouseTuesday The Moment of TruthHell's KitchenWednesday So You Think You Can DanceThursday Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?So You Think You Can DanceFriday FOX Friday Night Movie Saturday COPSCOPSAmerica's Most Wanted: America Fights Back
See also: 2007-08 United States network television schedule

Fall 2008

7:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m. Sunday The OTThe SimpsonsKing of the HillFamily GuyAmerican Dad!Monday Local Programming Terminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesPrison BreakTuesday HouseFringeWednesday Bones'Til DeathDo Not DisturbThursday The Moment of TruthKitchen NightmaresFriday Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?Don't Forget the Lyrics!Saturday COPSCOPSAmerica's Most Wanted: America Fights Back
See also: 2008-09 United States network television schedule

FOX shows

Children's programming

Main articles: 4Kids TV and Fox Kids

Fox began airing children's programming in 1990 when it launched the Fox Kids Network. Fox's children's programing featured many cartoons and some live-action series (particularly fantasy action programs) including Power Rangers (currently airing on various Disney-owned networks: ABC, Toon Disney, and Jetix channels around the world), Bobby's World, The Tick, Eerie, Indiana and Goosebumps. When The WB added the Kids' WB programming block in 1995, 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 with new productions and original shows included.