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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 exclusive Canadian broadcast and streaming rights to most recent original programming aired on FX and FXX, and many FX on Hulu programs including Devs and Mrs. America, 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.
However, following the Canadian launch of the Star hub on the Disney+ streaming service, several (but not all) FX on Hulu programs have begun to premiere on that service instead of on FX Canada. FX on Hulu programs available on Disney+ so far include Reservation Dogs and American Horror Stories.
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, beginning in 2020, some older FX series began to appear on other streaming services, particularly Star, 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 new programming on the FX and FXX channels 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, most of the first batch of series that were been promoted in the U.S. as "FX on Hulu" exclusives – including Devs, Mrs. America, A Teacher, and Y: The Last Man – premiered in this country on the FX Canada linear channel, and were subsequently made available on FXNow Canada. Rogers has also confirmed that the upcoming Hulu-exclusive FX series The Old Man will be handled the same way.
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.
However, in December 2020, Disney – which, as noted above, acquired FX and Hulu among other properties in 2019 – confirmed the launch of the Star hub in Canada and several other countries within the Disney+ streaming service, hosting age-restricted content from Disney-owned studios and networks, and serving a similar (but not exactly identical) purpose to Hulu in the United States.
As part of this launch – and because there is no way to opt-out of the Star hub (nor is there a way to subscribe to it separately) – the Canadian price for Disney+ increased to $11.99 per month, or $119.99 per year (prices are before applicable sales taxes).
Subsequent to this launch, newly-announced FX on Hulu series have begun to migrate to Star, rather than premiering on the Canadian FX or FXX channels. This began with American Horror Stories – the one-story-per-episode spinoff of American Horror Story – in August 2021, followed by Reservation Dogs in September. It's likely that other recent and forthcoming FX on Hulu series, like The Premise and Fleishman is in Trouble, will follow, though we should be clear that as of this writing in early October 2021, these have not yet been officially confirmed by Disney.
Can I watch other FX programs on Disney+ / Star?
Yes, but to a very limited extent (for now).
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 FX's programming to date 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.
Star ultimately launched with a handful of series from the FX archive, including The League, Man Seeking Woman, Sons of Anarchy, The Strain, Tyrant, and Terriers. It has since added a few others, including early seasons of American Horror Story, but has not yet added some prominent FX series that have already concluded, like The Americans (which ended in May 2018).
While it is likely that more shows will be added over time, the timing of when specific shows will appear on Star may be dependent on the length and terms of Rogers' deal with FX – details that, unfortunately, we're not privy to.
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 (not including FX on Hulu series, as discussed above):
- 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 and Prime Video. 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. The program did not air on FXX Canada for reasons that are not clear, but the first four seasons of the program are now available on Disney+ in 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 program's distributor Red Arrow Studios decided to sell international rights separately. As of summer 2021, NYT Presents (including Framing Britney Spears), but not the earlier season of The Weekly, are available on Crave in Canada.
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 FXNow Canada and/or Star, and one or more third-party streaming services. The ones we're aware of:
- 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, but have since moved to Star.
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.
- October 13, 2021 – Updated throughout to properly reflect a number of changes since February, including the launch of Star, and some of the programs that have been added to that hub post-launch
- July 14, 2021 – Added details about American Horror Stories (the new FX on Hulu spinoff of the original AHS).
- 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.