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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Gay Channel

GAY NETWORK COULD DEBUT WITHIN A YEAR
Showtime And MTV Would Develop It For Viacom; Others Considering, Too

By J. Max Robins


MTV and Showtime are in "serious discussions" about launching a gay channel, according to several sources familiar with the project.

The would-be developers are part of the Viacom media empire that includes CBS, UPN, Nickelodeon and VH1. However, they're not the only big-time players considering a gay network. According to industry sources, there have been such discussions at HBO, USA Networks, as well as at Rainbow Media, the programming arm of Cablevision, which runs Bravo and AMC. But the proposed MTV/Showtime venture appears to be closer to reality, although both parties declined comment.

"It's being given real consideration," says a Viacom insider, who indicates such a network could launch within the next year. [As early as March, Showtime may begin a trial run with a four-hour gay programming block on its companion service Showtime Too.] Little wonder such a network may launch soon. An already successful Canadian model exists: PrideVision, which launched last year.

"Look at the success Showtime has with programming like Queer as Folk," the insider says. "And MTV has a long history of being out in front on gay issues and marketing to that community."

Both networks have been pioneers in bringing gay storylines to television, long before Will & Grace became prime-time players. Real World, MTV's long-running hit reality series has included gay participants since it began in 1992, as have the game-show Singled Out and the late-night teen soap Undressed.

Showtime got into the game even earlier. In 1984, the premium cable network launched Brothers, the first gay-themed TV series. It also has offered Tales of the City, a recurring miniseries based on the Armistead Maupin novels about gay and straight life in San Francisco. Queer as Folk, the drama based on a hit British series, recently began its second season. The show credited with boosting Showtime's audience.

"It's about time somebody had gone after that audience with a network," says Tom Wolzien, senior media analyst of the investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. "It's an important segment of the audience that has traditionally been under-served. The money is certainly there to support it."

According to the marketing publication Brandweek, research suggests that six percent of the adult population, roughly 15 million people, identifies itself as gay or lesbian, with combined annual spending in the $250-$350 billion range. Major advertisers including Miller Brewing and General Motors, have increasingly targeted gay and lesbian consumers, with select commercials and print ads.

"Whoever does this could win big," says Randy Barbato, co-president of World of Wonder, an independent production company that created The RuPaul Show for VH1.

MTV and Showtime are undecided if the proposed gay network will be advertiser supported like MTV or a commercial-free pay service like Showtime. Some industry observers believe the latter might minimize resistance from anti-gay groups against cable systems that would carry the network as part of a basic cable package. "You wouldn't have the content issues that you're inevitably faced with if you go the ad-supported route," Wolzien says.

Programming for the gay channel may include existing and original programs, including gay-hosted talk and music video shows, relationship game shows and news.

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 03:16 AM
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That sounds really cool! We can get MTV here, so I wonder if we'll also be able to get this channel if it starts running!

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 03:29 AM
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I'm sure there is a joke to be had here but I'm at a loss.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 03:32 AM
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You mean the article's a joke or?

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 03:33 AM
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No, I don't doubt the article. I was talking in general.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 03:53 AM
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oh - well I think there are enough gay jokes around anyway! ;(

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 04:02 AM
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Well, I wasn't looking for a derogatory joke but there has to be something there. I don't know if my 30% gay self will want to watch any of it though. I mean what will they show? That channel would do for Will & Grace what FX did for Mash.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 04:10 AM
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They can show Buffy - that has gay people in it! And Queer As Folk. I don't watch Will and Grace, so I don't know anything about it.

Lots of shows are starting to get gay characters now - even The Bill has some!

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 04:27 AM
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And they could show the "That there is anything wrong with!" Seinfeld as well.

Hopefully, they come up with some better programming or else it will turn into the "Tune in to watch the show that has the stereotypical gay character" Channel.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 04:35 AM
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lol well it said they could start some new programs too - plus music shows and stuff hosted by gay people!

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkyfan
lol well it said they could start some new programs too - plus music shows and stuff hosted by gay people!
Yes, just what the world needs, Sean Hayes introducing the latest Elton John or George Michael video.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 12:14 PM
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lol who said the music had to be by gay people? Just the presenter!

But I wouldn't mind watching TaTu!

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 12:17 PM
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I don't like it. I'm not homophobic or anything, but wouldn't it be better if there was just more gay content in the mainstream media? Instead of always separating it as "alternative"? You know, only today I found out there's a gay guy in the X-Men

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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 12:19 PM
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Seriously dude - have you been watching tv lately? There are more and more shows with gay characters - that's a start! But why shouldn't gay people have a channel to watch too?

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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Because if it's in the mainstream media people will just think it's normal and not give it a second thought. If there's a gay channel, then there's a gay channel. It's hard to explain, but do you know what I mean?

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