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NCTA Notes

Jun 11, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Where Trekkies and politics meet
If you’re a Trekkie, you’ll want to beam right over to the TNN booth, where Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) will be signing autographs and posing for pictures.
If you’re a basic-cable subscriber who has thus far resisted the blandishments of premium pay, you will want to circle July 20 to July 22 on your calendar. That’s when Showtime will offer its free preview. If you’re a fan of Showtime’s “Soul Food” series or of psychic phenomena, stop by the booth and meet Malinda Williams and Boris Kodjoe from “Soul Food” and psychic Sylvia Browne, who has a pay-per-view special coming up.
If you’re enamored of politics, cable talk or media synergy, then drop into the Monday Public Policy lunch to hear new Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) or stop in at the Tuesday morning keynote address, where new Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell is set to speak.
TechTV signs on with cn8
TechTV’s booth sounds like a computer maven’s delight, with hands-on instruction in burning your own CDs as well as kiosks set up with plasma screens and digital set-top boxes to demonstrate interactivity. Tech is also set to announce a programming partnership with cn8, the Comcast Network, to provide original “TechTV Minute” segments on cn8 News. cn8, which reaches approximately 4 million homes across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, will air four new “TechTV Minute” segments each month.
Mixed Signals unveils new ITV tools
Also on the high-tech frontier: Mixed Signals Technologies, a specialist in enabling interactive TV infrastructure products and services, will announce the launch of its new bundle of ITV enabling tools designed to generate broadcast-ready ITV content for producers, as well as new partnerships and business development agreements with ITV industry players. As part of Diva’s demonstration of subscription video on demand, Al Unser Jr., two-time Indy 500 winner, will make an appearance.
Rainbow makes programming pushes
MuchMusic, Rainbow’s all-music channel, will be making a big push to bring its interactivity concepts before cable multiple system operators. Current carriage agreements will put the feisty new competitor to MTV in 40 million homes by the end of the year. In other parts of the Rainbow: Rainbow Media Holdings has reached a 20-title film licensing agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Rolling out across AMC, Bravo, WE: Women’s Entertainment and the Independent Film Channel will be such theatricals as “Fargo,” “The Usual Suspects” and “Ronin.” And WE: Women’s Entertainment is launching a new weekday-afternoon programming block devoted to relationships. It debuts in August.
VH1 to offer theme nights
VH1 is redefining prime time and repackaging its recently announced new series into theme nights. To accommodate viewers better, prime time this summer at VH1 will be from 9 p.m. until midnight, according to Fred Graver, the music network’s new executive vice president, programming and production. On Mondays, for example, viewers will be invited to the VH1 Web site, where they will be able to select the programming on “Behind the Music”; Wednesdays will be movie night; and Fridays will be reserved for various “performance” series. Meanwhile at sister network MTV, in the rotation is a cross-platform fourth-quarter advertising and promotion opportunity for affiliates to highlight the benefits of interactivity and high-speed Internet access.
Oxygen announces series, special
Oxygen has greenlighted 13 episodes of “Free Ride With Greta Gaines,” a half-hour travel/adventure series hosted by the well-known sportswoman. The series will premiere in September. Oxygen is also announcing a half-hour special profiling feminist leader Gloria Steinem. The special, which will air under the network’s “Who Does She Think She Is?” umbrella, is set for July 23. At the Oxygen booth this year will be Isaac Mizrahi, Simran Sethi, May Lee and Stephanie Miller, all of whom will have shows on the network this fall.