For over a decade, the FX basic cable network has reveled in the most explicit programming – and forced every subscriber to pay for it.
The Shield. Nip/Tuck. Rescue Me. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Archer. Sons of Anarchy. American Horror Story. The Bastard Executioner. Since 2002, the FX basic cable network has been committed to pushing the most extreme content imaginable into every home with a cable or satellite subscription.
In fact, FX has made it part of their brand to make certain every one of their programs is stuffed with content that requires a rating of TV-MA, for mature audiences only. Though often lauded by critics, these extreme programs generally draw small audiences. And yet, because they are placed on the basic cable tier, every cable and satellite subscriber in America is forced to pay for FX’s ultra-graphic content, whether or not they want it or watch it. They’re even required to pay for it if they object to it!
Contrast this with HBO. That network shows programming every bit as extreme as anything shown on FX; yet, in order to see it, an individual must not only have cable or satellite, but must deliberately choose to “opt in” and pay an additional fee for the programming.
It’s easy to guess what went through the minds of FX’s marketing team a decade or more ago: “Let’s make HBO programming…but force everyone to pay for it!”
The PTC doesn’t object to adults watching the programming they want. We do object to people being forced to pay for something they never use, don’t want, and even find offensive.
It is long past time to state the obvious: if FX wants to be HBO, then the network should move to a premium tier, as HBO has. If FX wants to create the ultra-graphic programming HBO does, then give viewers a choice as to whether or not to pay for it – like HBO does.