definition of Wikipedia
|Founded||by Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Owner||Fox Entertainment Group
|Key people||Peter Rice
|Launch date||October 9, 1986 (launch of on-air operations)
April 5, 1987 (primetime launch)
|Former names||Briefly abbreviated "FBC"|
|Picture format||1080i HD
480i SD (formatted to downconverted widescreen in many markets)
By state or By market
|Available throughout the U.S.||See List of Fox affiliates|
|DirecTV||Check local listings|
|Available on most cable systems||Check local listings|
|Fox.com Full Episode Player||Watch episodes (US only)|
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as the Fox Network or simply Fox (and stylized as FOX), is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the 18–49 demographic from 2004 to 2009. In the 2007–08 season, Fox became the most popular network in America in household ratings for the first time in its history, replacing CBS. CBS took back the top spot in the 2008–09 season.
The Fox Broadcasting Company and its affiliates operate many entertainment channels internationally, although these do not necessarily air the same programming as the U.S. network. Most viewers in Canada have access to at least one U.S. Fox affiliate, although most of Fox's primetime programming is subject to Canadian simultaneous substitution regulations.
20th Century Fox was involved in the television production as early as the 1950s. The company produced several syndicated programs during this era. In November 1956, 20th Century-Fox purchased 50% of the NTA Film Network, an early syndicator of films and television programs. Following the demise of the DuMont Television Network, NTA was launched as a new "fourth network". 20th Century-Fox would also produce original content for the NTA Network. The film network effort would fail after a few years, but Fox continued to dabble in television through its production arm, TCF Television Productions, producing series such as Perry Mason for the Big Three television networks.
Fox network's foundations were laid in March 1985 by 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 $2.55 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 in Chicago, and KRLD in Dallas. A seventh station, 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, a fourth television network 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.
The network's first program was a late-night talk show, The Late Show, which debuted on October 9, 1986 with Joan Rivers as host. After a strong start, the show quickly eroded in the ratings and by early 1987 Rivers had quit and the show was being hosted by a succession of guest hosts. After that point, some stations which affiliated with the network in the weeks before the April 1987 primetime launch, such as Milwaukee's WCGV-TV, signed affiliation agreements on the condition that they would not have to carry The Late Show due to the program's ratings weakness.
The network debuted in prime time on April 5, 1987, with the series Married... with Children and The Tracey Ullman Show. It added one new show per week over the next several weeks, with the series 21 Jump Street, Mr. President and Duet completing its Sunday schedule. Beginning on July 11, the network rolled out its inaugural Saturday night schedule with a two-hour movie premiere of Werewolf, and over the next three weeks the series The New Adventures of Beans Baxter, Karen's Song and Down and Out in Beverly Hills were added. Both Karen's Song and Down and Out in Beverly Hills were canceled by the start of the 1987–88 television season, the network's first fall launch, and were replaced by Second Chance and Women in Prison.
The network had already decided to cancel The Late Show, and had a replacement series called The Wilton North Report in development, when the show began a ratings resurgence with its final guest host, comedian Arsenio Hall. Wilton North lasted just a few weeks, however, and the network was unable to reach a deal with Hall to return when it hurriedly revived The Late Show in early 1988. The show went back to guest hosts again, eventually selecting Ross Shafer as its permanent host, and was permanently canceled by October 1988, while Hall signed a deal with Paramount Television to develop his own syndicated late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show.
The network added its third night of programming in the 1989 television season. It gradually added nights of programming over the next few years, airing on all seven nights for the first time in the 1993 television season. The 1989 season also featured a midseason replacement series, The Simpsons; ranked at a three-way tie for 29th place in the Nielsen ratings, it became the first Fox series to break the Top 30. This was also the year Fox first introduced its Saturday night combination of Cops followed by America's Most Wanted which would be a staple combination of programming on the network for just over two decades.
Unlike the three larger networks, which aired prime time programming from 8 to 11 pm Mondays to Saturdays and 7 to 11 pm Sundays, Fox has traditionally avoided programming the 10 pm hour, leaving that hour to affiliates to program locally. The network did schedule programming in the 10 pm hour on Sunday nights between 1989 and 1992, but never added 10 pm programming on any other night.
Except for KDAF (which was sold to Renaissance Broadcasting in 1995 and became a WB affiliate at the same time), all 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 or at least a linear descendant of DuMont, since Metromedia was spun off from DuMont and Metromedia's television stations formed the nucleus of the Fox network. WNYW (originally known as WABD) and WTTG were two of the three original owned-and-operated stations of the DuMont network.
Fox survived where DuMont and other attempts to start a fourth network failed because it programmed just under the number of hours to be legally considered a network by the FCC. This allowed Fox to make money in ways forbidden to the established networks, since during its first years it was considered to be merely a large group of stations. By comparison, DuMont was hampered by numerous regulatory roadblocks, most notably a ban on acquiring more stations since its minority owner, Paramount Pictures owned two television stations. Combined with DuMont's three television stations, this put DuMont at the legal limit at the time. Also, Murdoch was more than willing to open his wallet to get and keep programming and talent. DuMont, in contrast, operated on a shoestring budget and was unable to keep the programs and stars it had. Most of the other startup networks (such as The WB, UPN and The CW) followed this model as well.
Although 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). Until the early 1990s, most Fox stations were still essentially independents. The network did not have significant market share until the mid-1990s, when News Corp. bought more station groups. The first was New World Communications, which had signed an affiliation deal with Fox in 1994. 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 became a Fox O&O). This made Fox one of the largest owners of television stations in the United States.
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 (as well as many behind-the-scenes production personnel) from CBS Sports as well. The NFC deal, in fact, was the impetus for the affiliation deal with New World; many of New World's stations were longstanding CBS affiliates. After acquiring the NFL rights, Fox was 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 20.
The sketch-comedy series In Living Color created many memorable characters (and launched the careers of future movie stars Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Damon Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and "Fly Girl" dancer Jennifer Lopez).
MADtv, another sketch-comedy series that debuted in 1995, became a solid competitor to NBC's Saturday Night Live for over a decade and the most successful show on Saturday nights. Madtv ended in 2009.
Fox would expand to a full week's worth of programming in 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 performed well in its new Thursday night slot, spending four seasons there and helping to launch Martin, another Fox hit in 1992. The Simpsons returned to Sunday nights in the fall of 1994, and has been there since.
An attempt to make a larger effort to program Saturday nights by moving Married...with Children, Martin and two other long-forgotten new sitcoms to the night at the beginning of the 1996–97 season backfired with the public as it resulted in a short cancellation of America's Most Wanted that was criticized by law enforcement and public officials, and roundly rejected by the viewing public, which brought swift cancellation to the newer series, and Married... and Martin quickly returned to their previous nights. Two months later a revised schedule featuring a new and encore episode of COPS, and the revived America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back was launched. Cops and AMW had for many years remained the anchors of the network's Saturday schedule, making it the most stable night in American broadcast television for over 14 years. America's Most Wanted ended its 23 year run on Fox in June 2011.
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. By the 1997–98 season, Fox had 3 shows in the Nielsen Top 20, The X-Files which ranked 11th, King of the Hill which ranked 15th, and The Simpsons which ranked 17th.
Building around its flagship The Simpsons, Fox has been relatively successful with animated shows. King of the Hill began in 1997; Family Guy and Futurama began in 1999 and were canceled in 2002 and 2003, respectively. However, the network commissioned new episodes of Family Guy that began in 2005 due to strong DVD sales and highly rated cable reruns on Adult Swim of Cartoon Network. Futurama would be revived with four direct-to-DVD films between 2007–2009 and would return as a series in 2010 on Comedy Central. Less successful efforts included The Critic, which starred Jon Lovitz from Saturday Night Live (originally airing on ABC then moved to Fox before being canceled), and The PJs, (which was later broadcast on The WB).
Throughout the 1990s, Fox launched its set of cable channels – FX, Fox News Channel, FXM (currently Fox Movie Channel), a controlling interest in the Fox Sports Net regional sports networks, Speed Channel, Fox Sports World (currently Fox Soccer Channel), and Fox Sports en Espanol (currently Fox Deportes).
Many Fox staple shows of the 1990s had ended. During this time, Fox put much of its efforts into producing reality fare such as Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, Temptation Island, Married by America and Joe Millionaire, as well as video clips shows such as World's Wildest Police Videos and When Animals Attack!
After shedding most of these shows, Fox filled its lineup with acclaimed dramas such as 24, The O.C., House and Bones, and comedies such as The Bernie Mac Show, Malcolm in the Middle, and Arrested Development. 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 being the nation's highest-rated program in the 2004–05 season. 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 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 2004–05 television season, Fox ranked No. 1 for the first time in its history among the 18–49 demographic most appealing to advertisers. Another milestone came on May 21, 2008, Fox took the No.1 general households rating crown for the first time, based on the strength of Super Bowl XLII and American Idol.
Near the end of the 2000s, Fox launched a few series that proved to be powerful hits in different respects. In 2008, Fringe debuted to high ratings and critical acclaim during its first season on Tuesdays; though its viewership declined through its run, the series has developed a large loyal fanbase/cult following that had turned the show into a cult television show. In 2009, Fox launched Glee to average ratings but positive reception from critics. Ratings picked up during the first season, and the show has been met with such media attention that it has formed a large loyal fanbase. The cast of the series has been acknowledged by notable people such as the President of the United States Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey, who have each asked the cast to perform live for numerous national events. At the close of the decade and the start of the 2010'a, new comedies Raising Hope and New Girl gave Fox its first ratings successes in live-action comedy in years.
It was estimated in 2003 that Fox was viewable by 96.18% of all U.S. households, reaching a total of 102,565,710 houses in the United States. Fox has 180 VHF and UHF owned-and-operated or affiliate stations in the United States and U.S. possessions.
Analog broadcasting on Fox largely ended on June 12, 2009 as part of the transition to digital television.
As a newer broadcast network, Fox still has a number of low-power television affiliates, covering markets like Youngstown, Ohio (WYFX) and Santa Barbara, California (KKFX), broadcasting in analog format. In some cases, including both of these markets, these stations also have digital signals on the digital subchannel of a sister television station in the same market.
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Fox currently programs 19.5 hours of programming per week. It provides 15 hours of prime time programming to owned-and-operated and affiliated stations: 8–10 p.m. Monday to Saturday (all times ET/PT) and 7–10 p.m. on Sundays. One and a half hours of late night programming is offered on Saturdays from 11:00 pm to 12:30 am Weekend daytime programming consists of the infomercial block Weekend Marketplace (Saturdays from 10:00 am to noon) and the hour-long political news program Fox News Sunday (time slot may vary).
Sports programming is also provided, usually on weekends (albeit not every weekend year-round), and most commonly between 12–4 or 12-8 p.m. on Sundays (during football season, slightly less during NASCAR season) and 3:30–7 p.m. on Saturday afternoons (during baseball season).
Fox's weekday programming differs from the "big three" networks in several significant ways: There is no morning newscast, no daytime television, no evening newscast, no third hour of primetime, and no late-night talk shows. Local affiliates either produce their own programming during these times or run syndicated shows.
Unlike the Big Three, Fox does not currently air national morning or evening news programs, choosing to focus solely on their primetime schedule. However, the network's parent company owns the Fox News Channel, which was launched in 1996 and is now available through virtually all cable and satellite providers in the United States. Fox News does produce some news coverage carried by the broadcast network, usually separate from the coverage aired on the cable channel, as Fox Report and Studio B anchor Shepard Smith anchors most primetime news presentations on the Fox network, especially during political news events (which are anchored by Bret Baier on the Fox News Channel).
Specifically, the Fox network airs coverage of the State of the Union address, presidential debates, national election coverage, as well as live breaking news bulletins from time to time branded as "Fox News Alerts" or sometimes "Fox News Red Alerts". (Carriage of such special coverage may vary from station to station, and is often limited to events occurring within the network's usual primetime block. For example, unlike the Big Three, the Fox network does not generally provide coverage of major political convention speeches, which usually occur during the 10:00 pm ET hour when many affiliates air local news. However the majority of Fox's O&O's and station groups do take weekday breaking news briefs.)
The public affairs show Fox News Sunday also airs on the Fox network on Sunday mornings and is later repeated on FNC. Finally, the Fox News Edge service provides national and international news reports for local Fox affiliates to use in their own newscasts.
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. Fox News Break news capsules segments produced and compiled by WNYW and KTTV reporters also aired during network primetime from the network's launch in 1987 until about 1995. Another failed attempt occurred in 1993, when Fox launched the newsmagazine Front Page in an attempt to capture a younger demographic for such a program, with Ron Reagan among its five hosts.
After FNC launched 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 2002–03 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 am 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 am as opposed to the other major networks airing theirs from 7 to 9 am Fox tried its hand again in 2001, at a 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 (owned and operated) stations, hosted by Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy of the Fox News Channel's DaySide program. The show was lighter and more oriented towards entertainment, though the show's focus often changed when major news stories occurred. In February 2007, the show was syndicated to many ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates where a MyNetworkTV or Fox station did not carry it; it was cancelled in June 2009.
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When the network launched, Fox management, having seen the critical role that sports programming (soccer programming in particular) had played in the growth of the British satellite service British Sky Broadcasting, believed that sports, and specifically professional football, would be the engine that would make Fox a major network the quickest. In 1987, after ABC initially hedged on renewing its contract to carry Monday Night Football, Fox made an offer to the NFL 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 yet established itself as a major network, renewed its contract with ABC.
Six years later, when the football contract was up for renewal, Fox made a $1.58 billion bid for 4 years of rights to the NFC. The NFL selected the Fox bid, stripping CBS of football for the first time since 1955. The event placed Fox on a par with the "big three" broadcast networks and ushered in an era of growth for the NFL. 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 a platform for advertising its other shows.
With a sports division now established with the arrival of the NFL, Fox acquired over-air broadcast rights to the National Hockey League (1994–99), Major League Baseball (since 1996), and NASCAR auto racing (since 2001). From 2007 to 2010, Fox aired the Bowl Championship Series college football games, except for the Rose Bowl, which remained on ABC. The package also included the BCS Championship Game, except in 2010 when the game was played at the Rose Bowl.
In August 2011, Fox and mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) reached a multi-year deal. The agreement will include four live events in prime time or late night each year, the first time UFC has aired on broadcast television.
Fox began airing children's programming in 1990 when it launched the Fox Kids Network. Its children's programming featured many cartoons and some live-action series (particularly fantasy action programs) including Power Rangers (currently airing on Nickelodeon), Bobby's World, X-Men, The Tick, Eerie, Indiana and Goosebumps. When The WB added the Kids' WB programming block in 1995, Warner Bros. Animation-produced 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.
Fox would abandon Fox Kids after selling the children's division and the former Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family) to The Walt Disney Company in 2002 and then sell the four hours of Saturday morning time to 4Kids Entertainment.
4Kids Entertainment ended its TV block at the end of 2008 due to a payment and distribution dispute with Fox that has since been settled, with a last airing on December 27, 2008. Fox did not lease the block to another provider, owing that the competition from cable networks and E/I regulations for broadcast stations have made putting on a competitive children's block virtually impossible. Two hours of the Saturday block have been given back to their affiliates for Saturday morning newscasts or affiliate purchased E/I programming on January 3, 2009, while the latter two hours became a network-managed infomercial block called Weekend Marketplace. However, This Week in Baseball, an E/I show produced by Major League Baseball, was retained for the 2009 season. It airs a half-hour before the start of the weekly game telecast.
Fox maintains several venues to watch their network's programming via video on demand, including a traditional video on demand service called Fox on Demand that is carried on most traditional cable and telco providers. Fox is a part-owner of the streaming video service Hulu, and offers most of their programming through that service, along with traditional streaming via the network's Full Episode portal on Fox.com.
The cable version of Fox on Demand usually runs shows within a day of their original airing, with fast forwarding capabilities disabled and the program's original advertisements as aired presented in this form for a week before direct response advertising replaces the original ads. Hulu and Fox.com offer their streaming video on a eight-day delay for most viewers currently, due to restrictions put in place by Fox to encourage live or DVR same week viewing via traditional and cable on demand means. Select providers such as Dish Network and Verizon FiOS have made agreements with Fox to allow their subscribers to watch programming the day after on Hulu and Fox.com if signed in via their ISP accounts, and day after viewing of Fox programming is available on Hulu for paid Hulu Plus subscribers.
Fox began broadcasting in HDTV in 720p on September 12, 2004 with a series of NFL football games. The network has no digital on-screen graphic logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen on the HD feed, except for a ten-second promotional sweep of a Fox HD acknowledgement (which before the end of 2010, also featured a sponsor tag for DirecTV); instead a trigger in Fox's program delivery system at each station displays the affiliate station's logo bug in the 16:9 right-hand corner of the screen, which disappears during commercial breaks (during local pre-emptions of Fox programming the logo does remain on display even though the station is not airing the programming). However, network or affiliate bugs are not displayed during Fox Sports programming. On some Fox shows, a hashtag rests above the affiliate's logo (e.g. #newgirl or #bones) to provide viewers reference to the network's official search tag on Twitter to find or start discussions during the airing of a program. In April 2012, additional episode-only tags relating to plot points in an episode (for instance, the #saturdaynightGLEEver tag for a mid-April 2012 episode of Glee with that episode title) began to also be promoted in this space to both add additional trending topics and spread out more conversations on Twitter..
During some high-profile or live programming such as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance however, Fox does display their network logo in the 4:3 safe area and forgoes the affiliate's logo, mainly for promotional consideration due to fair use of clips from each series by other media outlets (et al., news programming and clip programs such as those seen on E! and TV Guide Network). In that case, the Twitter hastag is directly above the Fox logo in the safe area.
Fox is the only commercial television network (broadcast, cable or satellite) to air programs in widescreen on its digital feed that are not available in HD; programs produced in this format were identified as being presented in "Fox High Resolution Widescreen" from 2001 to 2006, but are currently unbranded, and are now confined solely to select reality programming.
Prior to the launch of its HD feed in 2004, some sitcoms and drama series were presented in this format, but now reality, talk, and game shows (American Idol being the lone exception, as it is presented in High Definition) are only presented in the enhanced definition widescreen mode. The children's sports show This Week in Baseball began being shown in widescreen in 2009, while Sunday political talk program Fox News Sunday converted to HD when Fox News Channel launched their new HD facilities in November 2008 (before the network's widescreen presentation effort went into effect in September 2010, it was the final Fox News program to be produced to fit the 4:3 safe area, as Fox News Channel itself converted to a full-time widescreen presentation on both their HD and standard definition channels in 2009). MADtv was produced to air only in 4:3 until September 2008, likely due to a mix of stations airing the show at differing times than the mandated 11 pm timeslot and unable to offer it on the live air in 16:9, and the show's producers not making the switch to the format. The final network show to convert to HD was Family Guy as of their September 26, 2010 episode.
Fox is unique among US broadcasters in distributing its network HD feed over satellite to affiliates as an MPEG transport stream intended to be delivered bit-for-bit to viewers' television sets. During network time, local commercials are inserted using a transport stream splicer. The affiliates of most other networks decode compressed satellite network video feeds and then re-encode them for final over-the-air emission.
Since late July 2010, when Fox began to broadcast their sports programming with graphics optimized for 16:9 displays rather than the 4:3 safe area, the network has asked cable and satellite providers to comply and use the No.10 Active Format Description code they now send out over Fox programming, which has 16:9 content display in letterboxed mode on 4:3 screens and has graphical elements optimized for the 16:9 screen. Subsequently a number of Fox O&O's and affiliates also now send out the AFD No.10 flag over their HD local news and syndicated programming with graphical elements optimized for 16:9 to allow that programming to appear in widescreen format on 4:3 analog sets.
During the early 1990s, Fox began having stations branded as "Fox", then the channel number, with the call signs nearby. For instance, WNYW in New York City, WTTG in Washington, D.C., and WAGA in Atlanta, Georgia, are referred to as Fox 5. By the mid-to-late 1990s, the call letters were minimized to be just barely readable to FCC requirements. This marked the start of the trend for other networks to apply such naming schemes, especially at CBS, which uses the CBS Mandate on most of its owned-and-operated stations ("O&O").
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 included changing the logos to the same red, white and blue rotating box logo. After News Corporation's acquisition of the social networking site Myspace (which it sold in June 2011), some Fox O&Os launched websites that look the same and have similar addresses, such as MyFoxDC.com.
Over the years, the Fox Broadcasting Company has used a few logos, most of which have the familiar trademark searchlights on either side of "FOX".
In October 1986, the year of its inaugurating television service, Fox got its first official logo. It was three squares containing the letters "FBC" standing for "Fox Broadcasting Company"; however that logo only lasted for six months and was primarily featured at the beginning of The Late Show with Joan Rivers. On April 5, 1987 (when the network debuted in prime time), a more familiar logo was introduced, which was based on 20th Century Fox's longtime logo with the noted difference being that the only wording in the logo was the "FOX" in capital letters. It also contained the signature Fox searchlights and the double-pane platform under the "FOX" typing (Fox Movie Channel currently uses a logo also modeled after the 20th Century Fox logo).
In 1993, the familiar logo was given a more "hip" makeover, with the "FOX" wordmark revised, and the angle changed so that the whole logo faces the viewer head-on. Starting with this logo, the network began watermarking their programs on-air (where the company logo is featured on the lower right-hand corner of the screen). The "O" character also was made over, acquiring its trademark pillar-like bowl, which has since become a major focal point for the logo and Fox advertising in lieu of the searchlight motif.
For the 1995-96 television season, the logo was again revised, dropping the searchlights, but keeping the lower double panes and adding one atop. The 1993 logo returned in 1996, this time without the panes underneath the network name, but leaving the searchlights and Fox wordmark.
The current version of the logo was introduced in 1999 when the 20th Century Fox searchlights were removed completely and only the network name was visible. Despite this, the searchlight theme remains an integral part of News Corporation's Fox branding efforts, still seen in the Fox News Channel logo, and in the new universal station logo utilized by the FTSG stations, those former Fox stations sold to Local TV LLC, and several of Tribune Broadcasting's Fox stations, in addition to being used by some other Fox affiliates not related to FTSG, Local TV and Tribune. The older 1996–1999 Fox logo with searchlights is still used by many of the network's affiliates in their logos, also being an alternate logo from 2000 onwards, plus also being part of an alternate version of the Fox Sports logo. The searchlights were still seen in FX's logo until a rebranding effort in 2008.
Fox only airs two hours of network programming during the prime time hours, and three hours on Sundays, compared to the three weeknight and four Sunday night hours broadcast by the Big Three networks. This allows for many of its stations to air local news during the 10 pm (eastern) time slot. Fox's original reason for the reduced number of prime time hours was to avoid fulfilling the FCC's requirements at the time to be considered a network, and to be free of resulting regulations, though FCC rules have been relaxed since then.
Fox also does not air soap operas or any other network daytime programming, such as game shows or talk shows, despite being a major network. Because of this, affiliates have more time for syndicated programming. Currently, Fox produces two syndicated daytime courtroom shows, Divorce Court and Judge Alex.
At least half of Fox's 180 O&O and affiliated stations air local news in the 10–11 p.m. ET/PT (9–10 p.m. CT/MT) time slot. The newscast schedules on Fox stations vary more from station to station than ABC, CBS and NBC's affiliates. Some Fox stations have a newscast schedule similar to the Big Three's affiliates along with the added late evening newscast at 10 pm and a late afternoon newscast extended by a half-hour competing with the national evening newscasts, while others only have a 10 pm newscast.
Miami's WSVN has the most local news of any Fox station with roughly 54 hours per week, followed by Tampa's WTVT with roughly 52.5 hours per week. Only a few Fox stations that air an 11 pm (or 10 pm) newscast along with a 10 pm (or 9 pm) newscast. WTVT in Tampa, KDFW in Dallas/Fort Worth, WAGA in Atlanta, WOFL in Orlando, WJBK in Detroit, KMSP in Minneapolis-St. Paul, KSAZ in Phoenix, WTTG Washington, D.C., and WFXT in Boston are the only Fox-owned stations to have a 11 pm/10 p.m. newscast in the Eastern Time Zone, Central and Mountain Time Zones with only WFXT, WTTG, and KSAZ airing it every night. WDAF-TV in Kansas City, WITI in Milwaukee, WBRC in Birmingham, KOKH in Oklahoma City, WTIC-TV in Hartford, WXXA in Albany, WZTV in Nashville, WVUE in New Orleans, KTVI in St. Louis, KOKI-TV in Tulsa, KLRT in Little Rock, KPTV in Portland (has 50 hours of news per week), Oregon, and WSVN in Miami are among the non-O&Os airing a 10 pm (or 9 pm) and a 11 pm (or 10 pm) newscast.
Stations that don't air local news air syndicated programming, usually off-network sitcoms in that time slot. Some small market Fox affiliates outsource their newscasts to a Big Three station in the market (either situation may change in the future as more Fox stations start their own news divisions), although markets as large as Pittsburgh also do this where Fox affiliate WPGH-TV airs a 10 pm news from NBC affiliate WPXI after WPGH shut down its news division in 2006. In some smaller markets with duopolies, the Fox affiliate usually airs a 10 pm newscast from a sister station, such as Columbus, Georgia where ABC affiliate WTVM airs a 10 pm newscast on its sister station, Fox affiliate WXTX. Upstart Fox local news divisions do not run a full slate of newscasts (i.e., morning, midday, early and late evening newscasts plus news on weekend evenings and possibly weekend mornings), instead starting with a 10 pm newscast then gradually adding other newscasts. Between September 14 and September 21, 2009, six Fox affiliates owned by Tribune Company added an early evening and/or midday newscast; Fox has pushed its affiliates to carry more newscasts (especially ones in midday and early evening time slots) for several years, prior to the formation of Fox News Channel.
The largest market with a Fox affiliate that airs no news whatsoever is Buffalo, New York, where WUTV has long opted for sitcom reruns instead; that station is within range of the Toronto area and targets Southern Ontario heavily with their programs and advertising instead of launching a news operation in an area with heavy news coverage already from other stations in Buffalo, Hamilton and Toronto.
Although the Fox network itself does not carry any national, regularly scheduled news programming other than Fox News Sunday, both this program and the network's breaking-news coverage are produced by the Fox News Channel, and are regular subjects of controversy. The network has also received some criticism for deciding not to carry scheduled news events such as presidential speeches at times in primetime in order to air regular entertainment programming (such as a speech in September 2009 which would have jeopardized the long-promoted fall premiere of Glee had it aired).
Controversy surrounded the network in 2002 and 2003 over obscenities, expressed respectively by Cher and Nicole Richie, aired live on the network's broadcasts of the Billboard Music Awards on its affiliates in the Eastern and Central Time Zones despite the use of five-second audio delays; the indecent material was edited out on broadcasts in the Mountain Time Zone and westward. Both of the obscene instances were condemned by the Parents Television Council and named by them among the worst instances on television from 2001 to 2004. PTC members filed tens of thousands of complaints to the Federal Communications Commission over the broadcasts. The Fox network's subsequent apology was labeled a "sham" by PTC president L. Brent Bozell III, who argued that Fox could have easily used audio delay to edit out the obscene language. As the FCC was investigating the broadcasts, in 2004, Fox announced that it would begin extending live broadcast delays to 5 minutes from its standard 5 or 10 seconds to more easily be able to edit out obscenities uttered over the air. In June 2007, in the case Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC could not issue indecency fines against the Fox network because the FCC does not have the authority to fine broadcasters for fleeting expletives, such as in the case of the Billboard Awards. The FCC eventually decided to appeal the Second Circuit Court's finding. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari and oral arguments in FCC v. Fox, et al., began November 4, 2008.
The Parents Television Council has criticized many popular Fox shows for perceived indecent content, such as American Dad!, Arrested Development, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Hell's Kitchen, Married... with Children, Prison Break, and That '70s Show. The Council sometimes has gone even as far as to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission regarding indecent content within Fox programming, having done so for That '70s Show and Married by America, having successfully been able to make the FCC fine the Fox network nearly $1 million for Married by America. That fine was reduced to $91,000 after it was discovered that the FCC originally claimed to have received 159 complaints, it later admitted to only receiving 90, which came from only 23 people. Blogger Jeff Jarvis studied the complaints and realized that all but 2 were virtually identical to each other, meaning that the $1.2 million judgment was based on original complaints written by a total of only three people. Armed with the new information, Fox promised to fight the fine. The fine was ultimately reduced to $91,000 in January 2009. Also, Fox programming has been chosen by the PTC for its weekly "Worst TV Show of the Week" feature more often than programming from any other broadcast network.
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