Does FX Networks Have Another 'Sons of Anarchy' Up its Sleeve?

The show has been a big win for FX, but with only one season left in its run, the network needs another hit.

Jun 9, 2014 at 9:27AM

This December, FX drama Sons of Anarchy finished its sixth and penultimate season with record-high ratings. The September season premiere tallied 5.87 million viewers and won the 18-49 demographic for the night . The series finale recorded a network-finale-high of 5.2 million viewers. Notably, 3.5 million members of this audience fell into the coveted 18-49 demographic .

As the show heads into its final season this fall, the question becomes, will FX be able to fill the void left behind by Sons of Anarchy?

An impact for its parent channel
Sons of Anarchy has helped FX continue to be a moneymaker for its parent company, FOX (NASDAQ:FOX), the past few years. In 2012, a year that saw FX moving toward an annual profit of a half a billion dollars , the show was the network's highest-rated series .

Fox's 2014 first quarter total cable earnings were up more than 10% from 2013, and president Chase Carey singled out FX for "its original series that are transforming FX into a standout, must-have brand ." 

A key demo for thirsty advertisers
One of the reasons the show is so attractive to advertisers is that over two-thirds of its viewers fall into the coveted 18-49 demographic .

FX's success with this audience has led to a recent partnership with MillerCoors to showcase the beverage company's products in its shows over the next three years. This deal builds on an existing agreement in which Sons of Anarchy featured MillerCoors drinks .

Are current shows growing?
Of course, Sons of Anarchy is not FX's only well-rated drama. Most significantly, the thriller anthology American Horror Story closed its third season with 4.24 million viewers tuning in for the finale and earning a 2.2 rating in the 18-49 demo that episode. The show's season opener was the second highest single telecast in FX's history, behind only Sons of Anarchy's season opener this year . A fourth installation of the series will air this October.

Newcomer Fargo is off to a strong start, with its April premiere jumping from 2.65 million viewers to 4.46 million once DVR viewing was taken into account .

However, other programs are not necessarily providing sustainable growth. The Timothy Olyphant-starrer Justified performed well in its season finale this year with 2.37 million viewers (before DVR numbers), growing 5% from its previous season. But like Sons of Anarchy, Justified also is scheduled for just one remaining season .

And while boosted by DVR numbers, spy-drama The Americans is losing steam. Its second season premiere was down 44% in viewers from its series premiere , and the show hit a series low this May with a mere 1.12 million viewers and just a 0.3 in the 18-49 demo .

What to watch for next
The network debuts two new drama series this summer. Tyrant will follow a young man who left his war-torn, Middle Eastern country 20 years ago and has now returned. This show premiers on June 24. In a move that's sure to please horror fans, FX is also launching a vampire show this summer called The Strain with heavy hitter Guillermo del Toro signed on as an executive producer .

The concepts above certainly fall in line with the high-stakes, action-oriented brand that has worked well for FX thus far.

There's also reason to be optimistic about FX's development slate. The network can continue to capitalize on brand recognition with projects like an American Psycho reboot to keep its Fargo series company. Also, the network is developing a cyber crimes drama from Ed Burns, whose credits include HBO hits The Wire and Generation Kill .

FX may be losing a record-setting performer in Sons of Anarchy, but there's good reason to believe the network will continue to be a money-maker for its parent company. With a schedule and slate that combines seasoned writers and producers with cinematic and action-filled story lines, this cable player should be on track to continue making waves and profits.

Are you ready for this $14.4 trillion revolution?
Have you ever dreamed of traveling back in time and telling your younger self to invest in Apple? Or to load up on Amazon.com at its IPO, and then just keep holding? We haven't mastered time travel, but there is a way to get out ahead of the next big thing. The secret is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as the industry -- and your company -- enjoy those same explosive returns. Our team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's ready for stunning profits with the growth of a $14.4 TRILLION industry. You can't travel back in time, but you can set up your future. Click here for the whole story in our eye-opening report.

Aimee Duffy has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers