FOX was the fourth of the major networks to hit the airwaves. In 1985 News Corporation purchased half the interest in 20th Century Fox movie studios and the final half was purchased by Rupert Murdoch
six months later. News Corp would next buy up 6 major independent networks to use at their launching of the new FOX channel. This would reach out to 22 % of the U.S. population. All but one of these stations still remain with FOX as of 2007. Murdoch's plan was to broadcast 20th Century Fox and Metromedia produced original programming. Along with the newly hired CEO Barry Diller and comedian Joan Rivers
, Murdoch would enlist 90 independent stations reaching 80% of the country to air "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers
," a talk show which would last just one season. Although having only one show, they would now be know as the Fox Broadcasting Company.
Since their beginnings, FOX was always geared towards a younger crowd. With such early programming as Married, With Children
, The Tracy Ullman Show
, 21 Jump Street
and The New Adventures of Beans Baxter
, you could tell that this was going to be nothing like the well established networks. They began their broadcasting on Saturday nights, July 11, 1987 to be specific. Their original programs were quite forgettable at first, but within two years would air such staples as Cops
and America's Most Wanted
. AMC would be the first FOX show to enter the top 50 rankings in 1988. By 1993 FOX was on seven nights a week.
FOX survived where others had failed by tricking the FCC and their rules on what was considered a network. Under the rules a network would broadcast under a set number of hours per week. FOX made sure to come in just short of that amount, therefore making a profit yet not being regulated by the FCC board and their rules.
FOX was not successful until the mid 1990's when News Corp bought up a few more studio groups such as New World Communications. They would buy up a large amount of UPN stations when they were merging with Paramount and thus FOX now had one of the biggest amounts of stations owned in the U.S. But it wasn't until 1993 when FOX lured NFL football away from CBS that it was now considered an equal to the big three networks. Now, along with the addition of soap opera styled shows such as Beverly Hills 90210
, Melrose Place
, and Party Of Five
, FOX's nightly programming had moved in as a major competitor against the well established networks. Fall of 1993 saw the first FOX show to break in the top 25. The X-Files
, a cleverly written and well acted sci-fi show made Friday nights worth watching.
In Living Color
, a sketch show would launch the careers of such notable stars as Jim Carrey
, Damon Wayans
, Keenen Ivory Wayans
, Jamie Foxx
, not to mention one time 'fly girl' Jennifer Lopez
. FOX also brought back animation to network TV. The long-running, FOX flagship series The Simpsons
would lead to other animated shows such as Futurama
, Family Guy
and King Of The Hill
The last of the 90's and early 2000 would see a decline in the well established series and the deluge of trashy, reality shows such as "Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire," Joe Millionaire
and Temptation Island
. After scrapping the trash they saw a boost in ratings with popular series like 24
, The O.C.
, The Bernie Mac Show
and Malcolm in the Middle
. But the biggest hit was yet to come, when FOX debuted American Idol
on the country. This would be FOX's first top rated show, drawing fans both young and old. From a very humble beginning, FOX can now be found in over 96% of the homes in the U.S.