FX is making a major foray into the premium docuseries arena, teaming with corporate sibling Hulu for the New York Times program The Weekly. In a competitive situation, FX and Hulu have landed first-run North American rights to the weekly narrative documentary news program produced by the New York Times and Left/Right, a Red Arrow Studios company.
FX has committed to a minimum of 30 episodes, with the series scheduled to premiere later this year. Hulu will be the exclusive SVOD streaming home to new episodes the day after air on FX. Episodes will also be available on FX’s VOD services FXNOW (with commercials) and FX+ (commercial-free) to authenticated subscribers.
The Weekly is a narrative documentary news program that features one or two of the NYT’s biggest and most important visual stories each week. The show will follow the stories and the reporters that work on them every step of the way as they chase information, conduct interviews, etc.
The Weekly, which will not have a host, will be overseen on behalf of the Times’ newsroom by Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor who is shepherding new digital initiatives at the news organization, including The Daily podcast.
The Weekly will share some DNA with The Daily podcast, which takes a narrative approach to news with host Michael Barbaro and reporters like Mike Schmidt, Maggie Haberman and Rukmini Callimachi. In a similar way, The Weekly will try to tell the stories behind the headlines.
“The New York Times is synonymous with excellence and FX is honored to be chosen as their partner on what will be the first entry for both organizations into the weekly TV news business,” said John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions. “A free press is vital to the health of our American democracy. The Weekly will give viewers compelling stories about the courage and commitment New York Times journalists bring to seeking out and reporting the truth. We also want to thank our partners at Hulu on this deal and the team at Left/Right.”
The big TV deal marks an important new revenue stream for the Times as the venerable news outlet has been looking for ways to offset declining ad sales via subscriptions and digital extensions.
“Our ambition with The Weekly is to bring the authority and excellence of New York Times journalism to the largest possible television audience. Partnering with FX and Hulu together for distribution represents an entirely new and uniquely powerful way do just that,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer of The New York Times Company. “The leadership at each of these organizations demonstrated real enthusiasm for The Weekly and for work of the Times. We are incredibly excited to work with them, and with our production partners at Left/Right, to make millions more people spend much more time with quality, original journalism.”
Left/Right, co-founded by Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver, are the award-winning producers of such docuseries including This American Life and The Circus for Showtime, as well as multiple episodes of Frontline for PBS.
“It’s a documentary filmmaker’s dream to be given an all-access pass to the reporters and editors at the New York Times – journalists who are constantly breaking the news, scooping the competition, and starting some of the most important conversations of our time,” said Druckerman. “Our goal in this series is to add a new dimension to these stories by bringing their words and work to life on the screen.”
The project was repped by WME. The New York Times was repped by Tara Kole at Gang Tyre.