TV Guide to Debut First Series Slate

Apr 4, 2005  •  Post A Comment

After months of airing occasional specials and timely red carpet coverage, TV Guide Channel is readying its first weekday slate. The Monday-through-Friday schedule will be filled by two new original series, two series based on previously aired backdoor pilots and one series that has been renewed. It’s a lean lineup, to be sure, but TV Guide Senior VP and General Manager Tom Cosgrove said he sees the slate as a major step toward establishing TV Guide Channel as a programming destination. “We’re at an exciting point where we actually have a real schedule and are implementing a traditional scheduling strategy,” he said.

The channel has hired singer and former “On-Air With Ryan Seacrest” co-host Rosanna Tavarez as an on-air personality and correspondent for its entertainment coverage.

The new one-hour shows, both airing at 8 p.m., are “Open Call” (Mondays) and “Seeing Stars” (Wednesdays). The former is a reality show following Hollywood casting director Marki Costello as she finds talent for TV projects. “Stars” follows hypnotist Ricky Kalmon as he convinces volunteers they are various television personalities.

Tuesdays will feature the makeover show “Look-a-Like.” On Thursdays will be a movie preview show called “Flicks,” and on Fridays “The 411,” which previews upcoming TV shows, will air. The new slate debuts April 18.

Previously, most TV Guide Channel original programming aired on weekends or during special events.

“It’s true 8 p.m. isn’t a great hour for cable, but it is for us, because we get a lot of people coming to us to see what’s on other networks,” Mr. Cosgrove said. “In a way, the scheduling scroll is our best promotional tool.”

The programming scroll will remain on the network during entertainment programming, though it’s profile has been reduced. Original programming and guidance makes for an unusual combination, which Mr. Cosgrove admits.

“I don’t think it was by design that we got to this place, but it’s actually opened some doors for us,” he said.

TV Guide Channel’s parent company, Gemstar-TV Guide, also announced last week it will launch an on-demand component to the channel. Dubbed TV Guide Spot, it is slated to launch in the second quarter of this year and feature original programming including “Catch Up,” an update on the story lines of popular prime-time programs such as “Survivor,” and “Big Movie Guide,” showcasing current pay-per-view and cable movie premieres.

The service will launch to more than 15 million Comcast, Time Warner and TiVo subscribers.

Two weeks ago, Gemstar-TV Guide Television Group president Ian Aaron resigned and his spot was filled by CEO Rich Battista until a permanent replacement is named.