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The network is headquartered at the 20th Century Fox studio in Los Angeles, with additional major offices and production facilities at the Fox Television Center also in Los Angeles and the Fox Broadcasting Center in New York City.
Launched on October 9, 1986, as a competitor to the Big Three television networks (ABC, NBC and CBS), Fox went on to become the most successful attempt at a fourth television network.
That season saw the debut of a midseason replacement series, The Simpsons, an animated series that originated as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show; ranked at a three-way tie for 29th place in the Nielsen ratings, it became a breakout hit and was the first Fox series to break the Top 30.
The Simpsons, at 28 years as of 2017, is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009, it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted primetime television series.
Then, in December 1985, Rupert Murdoch agreed to pay 5 million to acquire the remaining equity in TCF Holdings from his original partner, Marvin Davis.
The purchase of the Metromedia stations was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March 1986; the call letters of the New York City and Dallas outlets were subsequently changed respectively to WNYW and KDAF.
That year, Fox also first introduced the documentary series Cops and crime-focused magazine program America's Most Wanted (the latter of which debuted as a half-hour series as part of the network's mainly comedy-based Sunday lineup for its first season, before expanding to an hour and moving to Fridays for the 1990–91 season).
These two series, which would become staples on the network for just over two decades, would eventually be paired to form the nucleus of Fox's Saturday night schedule beginning in the 1994–95 season. with Children – which broke ground from other family sitcoms of the period as it centered on a dysfunctional lower-middle-class family, whose patriarch often openly loathed his failures and being saddled with a wife and two children – saw viewer interest substantially increase beginning in its third season after, in an ironic twist, Michigan homemaker Terry Rakolta lodged a boycott to force Fox to cancel the series after objecting to risque humor and sexual content featured in a 1989 episode.
The Late Show went back to featuring guest hosts, eventually selecting Ross Shafer as its permanent host, only for it to be canceled for good by October 1988, while Hall signed a deal with Paramount Television to develop his own syndicated late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show. with Children and The Tracy Ullman Show, several affiliates were disappointed with Fox's largely underperforming programming lineup during the network's first three years; KMSP-TV (channel 9) in Minneapolis-St.The film network effort would fail after a few years, but 20th Century Fox continued to dabble in television through its production arm, TCF Television Productions, producing series (such as Perry Mason) for the three major broadcast television networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS).The Fox network's foundations were laid in March 1985 through News Corporation's 5 million purchase of a 50% interest in TCF Holdings, the parent company of the 20th Century Fox film studio.On July 11, the network rolled out its Saturday night schedule with the premiere of the supernatural drama series Werewolf, which began with a two-hour pilot movie event.Three other series were added to the Saturday lineup over the next three weeks: comedies The New Adventures of Beans Baxter, Karen's Song and Down and Out in Beverly Hills (the latter being an adaptation of the film of the same name).