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The Trouble With Q

February 13, 2006 12:00 AM

The gay-and-lesbian-themed cable channel Q Television Network is suffering financial challenges, at least in the short term. Checks to freelancers started bouncing in January, and this month most staffers were let go. New production has been halted, with Q running repeats on its entire schedule. The troubles come just months after Q nailed distribution deals in Houston and San Diego and weeks after signing a carriage agreement with Verizon's FiOS TV, the cellphone company's fiber-optic TV service, not to mention Q's prominent event sponsorship at the Sundance Film Festival. Q had no comment, but one insider said the network hoped to have new funding in place this week to meet its Feb. 15 payroll. These days things at Q are very queer indeed. -Christopher Lisotta

Speaking of Gay Programming ...

Last week Bravo announced it is partnering with PlanetOut to launch Outzone.com-the first broadband channel for gay and lesbian online viewers. Which raises the question: Is Bravo coming out of the closet? Though its executives have always denied the channel has a gay theme, the network stocks nearly as much gay-friendly content as Logo. How much hairdressing, fashion designing, making over, "Boy Meets Boy," Cirque du Soleil, Cher and Kathy Griffin can one network have and still be playing it, well, straight? "If that was the case, then [the broadband channel] would be the Bravo brand, not Outzone," said Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment. "Bravo has a strong gay following, and this is a way for us to super-serve that following by feeding it some of our content." Presumably the Bravo content that won't fit the PlanetOut brand will include ... um ... er ... well, we'll get back to you on that. -James Hibberd

'Speed-Dating' for Broadband

Cox executives will be shooting the arrows this Valentine's Day, when the cable operator hosts the second annual U.S.-Israel Broadband Business Exchange, an event it has billed as "speed dating" for broadband businesses. The two-day matchmaking affair, being held today and Tuesday, will pair 30-plus Israeli and Southeast U.S.-based emerging broadband technology firms with established companies such as Cox, Comcast, Charter, Concurrent, Tandberg and Turner as well as venture capitalists. Each newbie will have nine or 10 quick dates, sitting across a table from the prospective partner a la the traditional speed-dating setup, to see whether there is common ground for business partnerships or at least a second date, said Guy Cherp, manager of strategy and development for Cox. This year's event should include 600 meetings between possible mates, up from 300 last year-giving Cupid's arrow more chances to strike.-Daisy Whitney

'Star Trek': Still Dead

With UPN and The WB dissolving into The CW, some in the online message board universe are wondering if Paramount might choose this moment to resurrect the still-warm "Star Trek" franchise. A year ago UPN canceled the abysmally rated "Star Trek: Enterprise," ceasing production of any new "Trek" episodes for the first time in 19 years. Internet howling ensued. With The CW announcement, might Paramount not bring back "Trek," just like when the fantastically mediocre "Star Trek: Voyager" launched UPN in 1995? Yeah, right, like they're going to make that mistake again. "With the Paramount split, 'Star Trek' is under control of Leslie Moonves, and he's not a big 'Star Trek' fan," said one insider. "So it will still be a few years before it comes back." -James Hibberd

Hey, Hey, It's the Monkeys

Readers of TVWeek and TVWeek.com were asked to submit their choices for best Super Bowl commercial. The overwhelming top selection was CareerBuilder.com's "Monkey Party," featuring an out-of-control simian sales force. Next was the Federal Express special-effects-driven "Caveman" spot. Budweiser's (cloying to some) "Clydesdale American Dream," starring a colt who aspires to pull a beer wagon, came in third. Other mentions: the two Ameriquest ads, Budweiser's "Magic Fridge" and the Aleve spot featuring Leonard Nimoy. -Tom Gilbert