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Since debuting The Shield in 2002, American cable channel FX, and more recently its sister network FXX, have gained critical and audience acclaim for their original series like Nip/Tuck, The Americans, American Horror Story, and Atlanta, among numerous others.
In 2020, after both FX and Hulu were acquired by The Walt Disney Company, FX launched a "FX on Hulu" portal within the latter American streaming service which includes additional exclusive series such as Devs and Mrs. America.
Rogers Media holds the exclusive Canadian broadcast and streaming rights to most recent original programming commissioned by FX – including FXX programs, and all FX on Hulu programs to date – under a deal reached in 2011 with FX's then-parent company, 21st Century Fox (later purchased by Disney). Rogers operates a Canadian version of the FX channel which launched that same year, as well as a Canadian version of FXX launched in 2014. These channels are currently only available through cable or similar TV services, and are not available as a pure over-the-top service.
For several years, Rogers' deal meant that the majority of past FX series or seasons covered by the deal were not syndicated to other services such as Netflix in Canada, even though some of those series have been available on Netflix elsewhere. (Some FX series briefly appeared on the short-lived Shomi streaming service co-owned by Rogers, but did not move to another over-the-top service after Shomi closed in 2016.) However, in 2020, some older FX series began to appear on other streaming services, as described below.
How can I access FX Canada?
While Rogers Media is part of the same group as Rogers Cable, you do not need to be a Rogers cable TV customer to access FX or FXX programming.
However, you must subscribe to the channel(s) through a cable, satellite, or IP-based TV service provider of some kind, such as Rogers, Shaw, Bell, Telus, Cogeco, Vidéotron, VMedia, or TekSavvy. This means, at an absolute minimum, a $3-5 per month à-la-carte fee per channel on top of a $20-$25 skinny basic package, unless you're willing to pay for a higher-tier package that also includes FX / FXX.
Unfortunately, currently there is no purely "over-the-top" method for Canadians to access FX or FXX programming without a TV service subscription.
If you are a subscriber to FX and/or FXX through a TV provider, in many cases you can access many past and present FX series through the FXNow Canada streaming platform, which includes apps for iOS and Android mobile devices as well as Apple TV.
However, these apps require TV provider authentication for most programs so, to reiterate, there is no way to directly access FXNow without a TV provider subscription to FX or FXX. Moreover, some providers, including Bell and VMedia, have more restricted carriage agreements that do not provide access to FXNow (though you may be able to access programming on-demand in other ways) – so in this sense, there is an advantage to subscribing through Rogers if you're in that company's territory.
The Toronto Star dug into the issue, and some customers' frustrations with it, in December 2019. At that time, Rogers did not respond to a request for comment to elaborate further on why it distributes FX programming in Canada the way it does.
Are FX on Hulu exclusive series available in Canada?
Although Hulu is not available in Canada, all series to date that have been promoted in the U.S. as "FX on Hulu" exclusives – including Devs, Mrs. America, and A Teacher – have premiered in this country on the FX Canada linear channel, and were subsequently made available on FXNow Canada. Rogers has also confirmed that upcoming Hulu-exclusive FX series such as The Old Man and Y: The Last Man will be handled the same way for at least the current 2020–21 season.
This means that, as with other FX series, these series will only be available in Canada with a subscription to FX Canada through a TV service provider.
Will I be able to watch FX programs on the new Star tile on Disney+?
Yes, but to a very limited extent (for now).
In December 2020, Disney – which, as noted above, acquired FX and Hulu among other properties in 2019 – confirmed that starting on February 23, 2021, there will be a new "Star" tile (or hub) in the existing Disney+ app in Canada among other countries, hosting age-restricted content from Disney-owned studios and networks. Star will become, in many ways, the international equivalent of Hulu, but unlike Hulu it will not acquire programming from outside studios, and thus it will have a much smaller program catalogue. As part of this launch, the monthly Canadian price for Disney+ will increase from $8.99 to $11.99.
Although Disney's announcement specifically states that FX content will be included in Star, it appears that, at least initially, only a limited amount of this programming will be available in Canada, in light of FX's existing contract with Rogers. Moreover, Rogers has also made clear, in a statement to The Canadian Press, that there will be no immediate changes to FX, FXX or FXNow in Canada.
The inital Canadian lineup for Star announced in late January 2021 shows a small number of FX shows (as described below), including one, Cake, that had not previously aired on Rogers' FX channels. But there are no other current series, and the most recent past FX series we've spotted is The Strain, which aired its last original episode in September 2017.
In any event, it appears that Rogers' exclusivity on new FX shows will continue for a while yet. After The Strain, the next long-running FX series to end was The Americans (May 2018), so if/when that's added, it will give a better sense of exactly how long Rogers' window lasts.
Are there any FX or FXX original programs not available on FX / FXX Canada?
We are aware of three current FX original series not carried by the channels' Canadian counterparts:
- Archer – New seasons currently air on Adult Swim Canada (episodes available to stream on the Global TV site/app and on StackTV while in season). Past seasons are available on Netflix. The program was initially picked up by Teletoon when it debuted in 2009 and was not affected when Rogers' deal with FX came into effect. It subsequently moved to its current Canadian home in 2019 when Teletoon owner Corus Entertainment consolidated all its animated adult programming on a relaunched 24-hour Adult Swim channel.
- Cake – This FXX short-form adult comedy anthology series features a number of live-action and animated segments, including (in its summer 2020 season) Dicktown with John Hodgman and David Rees. We have seen no evidence it has aired in Canada, either on FX or FXX Canada, but it is included on the launch lineup for Star on Disney+ Canada.
- The Weekly and its mid-2020 follow-up / replacement, The New York Times Presents (both documentary series produced by The New York Times, the latter including occasional feature-length documentaries like Framing Britney Spears) – Evidently, FX only acquired the U.S. broadcast rights, as the NYT has been attempting to sell international rights separately. However, there is no Canadian carrier as of this writing.
As noted above, many past FX series, including several that did not originally air on FX Canada, have since become available through FXNow. However, some series that were commissioned from unaffiliated studios, such as Nip/Tuck (produced by Warner Bros.), are not available. Some of these may be available on other channels or streaming services from time to time.
Many other past series are available, but for similar reasons, not all are exclusive to FXNow and some are also available elsewhere. For example, Rescue Me, The Shield, Damages, and Justified, which were commissioned from Sony Pictures Television, are all available on both FXNow and on Bell Media's free-to-everyone CTV Throwback streaming service - just with more advertising on the latter.
On rare occasions, entire series or individual episodes have been pulled from circulation entirely, such as Louie (for reasons that have been well-publicized). This sort of withdrawal is generally done across the board including FX in the U.S. as well as all of its international offshoots.
Are there any other places I can access recent FX programming in Canada?
A small number of past or long-running FX series are available on both FXNow Canada and one or more third-party streaming services. The ones we're aware of:
- Star, the hub for adult-focused programming on Disney+, will initially carry the following past FX and FXX series in Canada when it launches on February 23, 2021: The League, Man Seeking Woman, Sons of Anarchy, The Strain, Tyrant, and Terriers. As noted above, it will also carry Cake exclusively (it is not on FXNow).
- As noted above, the Sony-produced series Rescue Me, The Shield, Damages, and Justified are available on CTV Throwback.
- The first three seasons of Fargo are currently available in Canada on Netflix. Our understanding is that it was more easily available to Netflix as it was co-produced with (and is distributed by) MGM Television.
- All seven seasons of the past FX series Sons of Anarchy were added to Netflix in Canada in summer 2020 (in addition to availability on Star).
- The first two seasons / editions of American Horror Story were likewise added to Prime Video in Canada in summer 2020.
It is possible to purchase digital copies of many FX, FXX and FX on Hulu series, even ones currently in-season, through digital media stores such as Google Play or iTunes (for the latter I can't link to a list of all FX shows so I've linked to Devs as an example). Of course, a season purchase of this type typically requires an upfront cost of around $10-$20, depending on the show and how recent the season is.
- February 7, 2021 – Updates following the announcement of Star's initial programming lineup in Canada.
- December 20, 2020 – Updates, including a few related to the upcoming launch of Star on Disney+ in Canada.
- July 22, 2020 – Updates to FX series available on third-party streaming services.
- July 12, 2020 – Added Cake to the list of missing series in Canada.
- June 23, 2020 – Updates including confirmation that FX on Hulu programming will continue to air on FX Canada.
- April 1-4, 2020 – Added section on digital purchases; various small updates and copyedits.