In its first branding effort, FX network says ‘no box’ can contain its series’ creativity



By Frazier Moore

NEW YORK – Playing against its formulaic TV rivals, the FX network is claiming “no box” can confine its programs’ creativity.

The heart of the cable network’s branding push – its first ever – is the tagline “There is No Box.” The campaign will be introduced in spots aired during “Nip/Tuck” next Tuesday, according to FX President John Landgraf.

The goal is to build awareness of FX as the home for “a certain kind of cliche-busting quality,” Landgraf told reporters during a preview of several of the two dozen spots Tuesday.

They will be seen not only on FX, but across multiple media platforms of owner News Corp. A 60-second spot will air during Fox’s Super Bowl broadcast in February.

Images from FX series are accompanied by captions that make such statements as “There is no hero,” ”There is no villain,” ”There is no miracle cure,” and “There is no laugh track.”

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In past years, FX has focused solely on marketing individual shows, Landgraf said. Besides “Nip/Tuck,” the network’s eight signature series include other dramas “The Shield,” ”Rescue Me” and “Damages,” the comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and the unscripted, issue-oriented “30 Days.”

Landgraf downplayed the impact of the writers strike on the network’s programming rollout. A full season of both “The Shield” and “30 Days” are in the can, he said, with half seasons – seven episodes apiece – completed for “Dirt” and “The Riches.”

More problematical: “Sunny,” ”Damages” and “Rescue Me,” for which no scripts have yet been written.

Returning for its fifth season, “Rescue Me” would ordinarily start shooting in January, said Denis Leary, the star and co-creator of this firefighter drama, who was on hand for the FX presentation.

“We can’t do anything until (the strike) is resolved, one way or the other,” he said.

Noting the breakdown in negotiations last week, he predicted, “Nothing’s really gonna change until after the first of the year. That’s when everything will hit home. They’ll have to talk by the middle of January.”