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RYN
Apr 15th, 2003, 03:10 AM
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.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 03:16 AM
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!

Steam
Apr 15th, 2003, 03:29 AM
I'm sure there is a joke to be had here but I'm at a loss.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 03:32 AM
You mean the article's a joke or?

Steam
Apr 15th, 2003, 03:33 AM
No, I don't doubt the article. I was talking in general.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 03:53 AM
oh - well I think there are enough gay jokes around anyway! ;(

Steam
Apr 15th, 2003, 04:02 AM
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.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 04:10 AM
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! :D

Steam
Apr 15th, 2003, 04:27 AM
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.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 04:35 AM
lol well it said they could start some new programs too - plus music shows and stuff hosted by gay people! :D

Steam
Apr 15th, 2003, 04:39 AM
lol well it said they could start some new programs too - plus music shows and stuff hosted by gay people! :D

Yes, just what the world needs, Sean Hayes introducing the latest Elton John or George Michael video.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:14 PM
lol who said the music had to be by gay people? :p Just the presenter! ;)

But I wouldn't mind watching TaTu! ;)

Messenger
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:17 PM
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 ;)

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:19 PM
Seriously dude - have you been watching tv lately? :p 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? ;)

Messenger
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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?

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:28 PM
lol yeah, I understand what you mean, and you have a point - but it's just that there hasn't been much in the way of "gay" stuff to watch (until recently - coz now it seems the cool thing to have a gay couple in your show) and so the tv channel seems like a good idea, because then at least there is something for gay people to watch. Perhaps if they do start it, it could in the future become intergrated with mainstream channels! ;)

Messenger
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:31 PM
Yes I was watching the episode of Buffy where that girl was shot (I forget her name), that was pretty sad.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:34 PM
oohhhhhhhhhh :sad: :sad: :sad: Tara! That was the WORST ep of Buffy! :sad: :sad: :sad:
Speaking of Buffy, it's on in about 5 mins here, so I'd better go! Willow's meant to be getting a new g/f here tonight! :D :bounce:

Messenger
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:53 PM
Yeah that's the one. That was such a fluke shot hitting her through the window from the ground.

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 01:51 PM
hehe yeah I know, but they needed a reason for Willow to go bad - her g/f dying was a pretty good reason! ;)

and pfffffff@tonight! They did a repeat of the Musical Episode from last season! So I have to wait till next week for Willow to have her new g/f! :sad:

Kirt12255
Apr 15th, 2003, 02:27 PM
Why should a "Gay-Channel" only have gay Characters....in general we would prefer programmes on Massage, Decoupage, Lineage, Fromage....should be called the ...age channel....but might give heart attacks to the 60+.

ie.....A gay channel would not have to have homo-erotic content as many believe it would :wavey:

Hope it hits our shores....I'll check the TV guide in 5 years LOL :wavey:

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 02:43 PM
Why should a "Gay-Channel" only have gay Characters....in general we would prefer programmes on Massage, Decoupage, Lineage, Fromage....should be called the ...age channel....but might give heart attacks to the 60+.

ie.....A gay channel would not have to have homo-erotic content as many believe it would :wavey:

Hope it hits our shores....I'll check the TV guide in 5 years LOL :wavey:

I think you should be adding a 0 after that 5 there mate! ;)

DutchieGirl
Apr 15th, 2003, 02:46 PM
oh yeah the content wouldn't HAVE to be homo-erotic, but wouldn't it just be SO MUCH better if it was? ;)

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Apr 15th, 2003, 03:20 PM
I see nothing wrong with it? Gay people essentially have their own ethnicity, just like black, asian, latino, yankees, mexicans, christians, etc.

A gay channel would be just like BET or Univision or TBN (ok...maybe not TBN, but you know what I mean).

Because of the gay channel, then mainstream media will pick up even MORE gay characters. PLUS, it would break down even more barriers (in the USA) for equal rights.

decemberlove
Apr 15th, 2003, 06:54 PM
I see nothing wrong with it? Gay people essentially have their own ethnicity, just like black, asian, latino, yankees, mexicans, christians, etc.

A gay channel would be just like BET or Univision or TBN (ok...maybe not TBN, but you know what I mean).

Because of the gay channel, then mainstream media will pick up even MORE gay characters. PLUS, it would break down even more barriers (in the USA) for equal rights.

yeah and who owns BET? a nuch of white guys. that channel sucks. as does MTV for teenagers and Lifetime, or Oxygen for women. so steroetypical it's sickening. not every woman likes to watch sob stories 24 hours a day and not every woman likes to watch soaps 24 hours a day.

there is a serious lack of quality television out there. im sure this channel wont be any better.

thats why i stick to HBO and sports :)

Rocketta
Apr 15th, 2003, 07:32 PM
thats why i stick to HBO and sports :)

omg, me too! :wavey:

Helen Lawson
Apr 15th, 2003, 07:44 PM
Neely and I, I in particular, have a large gay following, though unlike Neely, I never actually married a gay man. I wonder if Ted Casablanca is involved in the network? Hmm, Neely?

If, and I mean, IF, I get top billing, I would be willing to do a few numbers with Neely to kick off the channel, gratis. See if Neely can match me on this one. We might be able to convince that dishrag Anne Welles to come out of "retirement" in Lawrenceville and do a Gillian Girl ad recreation between breaks in the songs. Sadly, Jennifer is no longer with us, but maybe Neely could rouse Tony Pilar out of his coma to sing a tune or two with her.

They could also show some of my old classics like I'll Cry Tomorrow, Smash Up the Story of a Woman, and I Want to Live!, a favorite among my "discriminating" fans so to speak.

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Apr 15th, 2003, 08:28 PM
yeah and who owns BET? a nuch of white guys. that channel sucks. as does MTV for teenagers and Lifetime, or Oxygen for women. so steroetypical it's sickening. not every woman likes to watch sob stories 24 hours a day and not every woman likes to watch soaps 24 hours a day.

there is a serious lack of quality television out there. im sure this channel wont be any better.

thats why i stick to HBO and sports :)
You think every gay person is going to watch the gay channel 24/7 and nothing else? Just like blacks watch BET and women watch LIFETIME?

It's one of a zillion channels that will probably have as much ratings as Outdoor Life Network....it's not gonna cause social policies to be dramatically reversed (or put forward either).

decemberlove
Apr 15th, 2003, 08:31 PM
You think every gay person is going to watch the gay channel 24/7 and nothing else? Just like blacks watch BET and women watch LIFETIME?

It's one of a zillion channels that will probably have as much ratings as Outdoor Life Network....it's not gonna cause social policies to be dramatically reversed (or put forward either).

no my point was we dont need anymore shit on the tv... theres enough.

Joshua Lyner
Apr 15th, 2003, 10:21 PM
"Tales of the City" would be cool but "Queer As Folk"? Blech.

CJ07
Apr 15th, 2003, 11:34 PM
they're making a Channel for gay people!

Man how times changed

I'd tune in for Hot Oil Wrestling, Starring Jenny Macarthy but thats about it

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Apr 16th, 2003, 01:10 AM
no my point was we dont need anymore shit on the tv... theres enough.
Then don't subscribe to it. I think it's great to have such a multitude of choices.

I remember growing up having 1 good channel and 2 fuzzy channels. FOX didn't come on until I was like in 4th grade. PBS doesn't count cause it always had Sesame Street or a Telethon on.

Now, I have like 500 channels to watch.....you can learn a lot from different perspectives......but in the same breathe, rest assured that I watch only about 1 hour of TV a day.