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Scott D. Pierce: New FX show ‘Devs’ won’t be on FX, it’ll only be on Hulu

(Photo courtesy of Raymond Liu/FX) Nick Offerman as Forest and Sonoya Mizuno as Lily in "Devs."

OK, TV fans, you’ve heard of FX — the cable channel. And you’ve heard of Hulu — the streaming service. Have you heard of FX on Hulu?

It’s a thing. Well, it will be on Monday, when it starts streaming. This isn’t altogether surprising. Disney owns Hulu. Disney owns FX. Makes sense, right?

Well, it’s a little weird that Disney owns FX, which is called FX because it was launched by Fox. And FX is Fox without the “o.” But Disney bought it, along with most of what used to be Fox — the movie and television studios, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic Channel and about a million movies and TV series.

And, beginning Thursday, most of the original series that have aired or used to air on FX can be streamed on Hulu. On a specific area of Hulu branded as — you guessed it! — FX on Hulu.

(Chris Pizzello | Invision/AP file photo) John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, addresses members of the Television Critics Association on Aug. 9, 2017.

“Knowing we would be able to maintain the brand that we’ve worked so hard to develop for almost two decades is of critical importance for us and for the artists with whom we work,” said FX chairman John Landgraf.

Important fact — there is no additional charge or the FX “hub” on Hulu. It’s part of a regular Hulu subscription.

It’s not up for debate that FX has produced and aired some pretty spectacular shows, beginning with the debut of “The Shield” in 2002. That show, along with “Rescue Me,” “Damages,” “Justified,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Fosse/Verdon,” will be among the offering on FX on Hulu. As will current series like “American Horror Story,” “Archer,” “Atlanta,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Mayans M.C.” and more.

And here’s where it gets a little strange. FX on Hulu will also feature shows that have never (and, we’re told, will never) air on an FX cable channel. The first of those never-on-cable FX shows is:

• “Devs” (starts streaming Thursday): This is a decidedly strange suspense/sci-fi series from creator and producer Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”). Nick Offerman stars as the CEO of a secretive tech firm and Sonoya Mizuno as an engineer who is searching for the truth about the nefarious goings-on there.

It’s eight episodes of weirdness, atmosphere and conspiracies. It’s a one-shot, so the end of Episode 8 is the end.

And, quite honestly, I’m not sure that it would succeed on a cable channel. But maybe it will on Hulu, where — as Landgraf was quick to point out — viewers tend to be younger. (Viewers of ABC series on Hulu are “about 20 years younger” than network TV viewers; the audience for FX’s movie “A Christmas Carol” was 17 years younger, on average, for Hulu than the cable TV audience.)

So, no, I don’t think FX on Hulu is just a dumping ground for shows that aren’t ready for FX. Upcoming FX on Hulu exclusives include “Mrs. America” (April 15), which stars Cate Blanchett as anti-ERA crusader Phyllis Schlafly; and, later this year, the spy thriller “The Old Man” (starring Jeff Bridges) and “A Teacher,” about a teacher (Kate Mara) who has an affair with a student.

But the streaming-only series will be the exception on FX, not the rule. New episodes of shows on FX and FXX will stream on FX on Hulu the day after they air on cable. That includes the new FX show premiering this week:

• “Breeders” (Monday, 11 p.m., FX): Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard star as harried, haggard parents in this sitcom, a British co-production. It’s uneven, but there are some very funny moments.

Two episodes will air back-to-back each week.

“Dave” (Wednesday, 11 p.m., FXX): Comedian and rapper wannabe Dave “Lil Dicky” Burd stars as himself — a white guy who thinks he’s going to be the next rap superstar. And he’s obsessed with his own, um, male anatomy. Occasionally, it’s sort of funny, but, overall, it’s pretty terrible.

Two episodes will air back-to-back each week.

FX isn’t planning to abandon its TV channels, although — what with all the people who are cutting the cord and giving up cable — Landgraf said, “I think the brand hit a ceiling.” And he sees Hulu as a big part of his brand’s future.

“I think what the FX on Hulu thing does is allows us to aggregate all of the strength that we have on our linear channels (in about 85 million homes) with a new 30 million-ish (Hulu) homes and growing,” he said. “All I know is that I’m truly excited by the opportunity before us, and I believe that FX can become even stronger, remaining one of the most relevant and vital television brands at Disney and across the landscape of American TV.”

We’ll see ...

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