MTV: Prepared for Controversy About Gay Channel

Jul 26, 2004  •  Post A Comment

MTV Networks introduced an extensive lineup of programming for its planned gay and lesbian channel, LOGO, while executives said they’re expecting controversy in conservative markets.

“We’re not naive, we know there’s going to be some discomfort out there, even in 2004,” said Matt Farber, an executive consultant who brought the concept to MTV Networks, which is leading the channel’s launch. “We believe all we’re doing is reflecting an audience that already exists. We’re not making a political statement … we believe our voices will drown out those of our opponents.”

Mr. Farber said the channel initially will be available in mostly urban markets, and he pointed out that the demand for the channel could be highest in rural and conservative areas due to the lack of an open gay cultural environment.

“It’s easy to be jaded living in New York and L.A., where you have access to these [gay-themed] theatrical titles and you have a robust gay community,” he said.

MTV has acquired a library of 150 movie and documentary features for the digital channel, which launches Feb. 17, 2005. Some titles include “Philadelphia,” “The Birdcage,” “Kissing Jessica Stein” and “Gods and Monsters.”

Among the planned series, all titles are considered temporary. A few, such as “Big Gay 100,” are produced by Viacom sister channels. Shows include:

  • “Fantastic Voyage:” A reality venture produced by Bunim-Murray in conjunction with Atlantis Vacations hosted by Kathy Griffin and Andre Kell. Each episode will track passengers on a seven-day gay cruise.

  • “LOGO Lens:” An exploration of topical gay issues produced by MTV News.

  • “Chelsea Boys:” An animated series based on a syndicated cartoon strip of the same title.

  • “Do I?” A lifestyle reality show about couples considering marriage.

  • “Twist:” A panel show taking on gay issues.

  • “The Big Gay 100:” A topical countdown show produced by VH1.

  • Two star vehicle projects, one about actor Alan Cumming and the other about comedian Margaret Cho.