Showbiz Tonight CNN Headline News
Aired June 30, 2005 - 19:00
BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I'm Karyn Bryant.
Well, you got your news TV, your Food TV, and your MTV, and just a short
time from now, you are going to have more gay TV, and that is the topic of
tonight`s "Showbiz In-depth."
Tonight, MTV Networks launches Logo. It is the first advertiser- supported
cable network targeting the gay community. The network is tapping into an
estimated potential 15 to 17 million gay viewers. And this year, "Ad Age"
magazine says gay Americans have the spending power of more than $600
So this is very big business indeed. Joining us live from Hollywood to talk
about gay TV is Chad Allen. He is the star of "Third Man Out." It`s a TV
series airing on subscriber-based Here TV. We also have CEO and founder of
Here TV Paul Colichman. And Christopher Lisotta of "TV Week."
We should mentioned that we invited Logo TV to participate with us tonight,
but they have declined.
Now, Christopher, I want to start with you. Why is the climate right for a
gay TV network?
CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA, HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.: I think there`s a couple reasons why
it`s right. I think part of it is there`s availability, in terms of cable.
Viacom, which owns Logo, made space on their tier of digital networks to put
it out there.
I think, in terms of culture, "Will and Grace," "Queer Eye," all of these
shows have laid the groundwork, "Queer as Folk," on all these other
networks. It`s something that Viacom has been talking about, in terms of
Logo, for a long time. And they felt that now was the time to sort of put it
I think there is a critical mass, in terms of audience acceptance, as well
as a growing gay and lesbian advertising market, in terms of, you know, the
kind of people who are out there who would be interested in this kind of
programming. And then, I think, for "Queer Eye," as an example, people feel
that there would be a crossover, there will be enough people. Just like men
watch Lifetime, straight people could definitely watch Logo and Here.
BRYANT: OK now, Paul, I want to address you on this one. How is Logo going
to be different from your channel, Here TV, or even QTV?
PAUL COLICHMAN, CEO, HERE!TV: Well, Logo`s an advertiser-supported network.
We`re a pay service. We`re a gay HBO, for lack of a better term. And Logo is
going to choose programming that`s appropriate for a basic cable audience.
And I think they`re going to do a really spectacular job at it. Those folks
are pros, and they`re doing a classy service, nothing that`s going to upset
anyone. It`ll be a great addition to a basic cable lineup.
BRYANT: Would you say, then, it`s fair to say that Logo is a channel that
maybe would be preaching to the unconverted, whereas your channel here is
already preaching to the converted?
COLICHMAN: That`s certainly a way to look at it. Certainly, as a basic cable
channel, they have responsibilities different than I do as a pay cable
channel. They need to make sure that the wider audience is, a, not upset by
the channel, and more importantly they have this wonderful opportunity to
increase the visibility and the respect of the gay community.
So I think it`s a marvelous opportunity. We`re thrilled and delighted, and I
And Chad, you`ve got a show. And you have worked with the different
networks. When you`re thinking of ideas for shows, do you want to target a
very specific audience, or do you want to do something like "Will and Grace"
has done and reach for a broader audience?
CHAD ALLEN, HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.: You know what? At the end of the day, I`m
a storyteller, and I hope to be a good storyteller. And I think good stories
appeal to everybody.
The fact of the matter is, I'm also an openly gay actor. I've been openly
gay for ten years now, something like that. And we've been waiting for a
long time for this opportunity.
When I came out, they told me, "You're probably never going to work again.
Get used to it," you know?
ALLEN: Now I`m working with three different all-gay networks talking
about creating stories where we get to show our heroes in our life. I'm so
excited about it. It's a great opportunity, not just for us, but everybody.
Showtime, with their "Queer of Folk," found that 40-something housewives
were watching it more than gay men, so...
BRYANT: Right. So certainly, they've had success with "Queer as Folk" and
with "The L Word." But I'm curious, though, is there really that much of a
difference if you're watching, let's say, a detective show? How is that
going to be different if the detective happens to be gay?
ALLEN: I don't know. We're going to find out. I think one of the
fantastic things that Paul has decided to do with his network is really sort
of dedicate it to telling great stories.
You know, for once we're going to get to tell those classic genres,
adventure stories, detective stories, you know, jump in. It's just going to
be fantastic, and those characters happen to be gay. You know, I'm so
excited. The show that we're doing, "Third Man Out," I just watched it again
last night. It's a fantastic show. I actually think my dad's going to enjoy
watching the show.
COLICHMAN: And yet the images are authentically gay and lesbian. We don't
shy away from intimacy. We don't shy away from relationships. All of our gay
and lesbian characters are fully fleshed out, living active, engaged lives.
It's very exciting.
BRYANT: Now, Christopher, speaking of that, if some of these shows do tend
to sort of push the envelope, what kind of reaction has the advertising
community had to the idea of Logo?
LISOTTA: Well, obviously, for Here TV, it'll be less of an issue. The real
issue is going to be with Logo. They launched a very low-key campaign. I
don't think it's a surprise that they didn't come on the air.
I think their focus is going to be focusing on the gay community,
particularly like running ads in gay papers, on gay Web sites, and getting
an audience, building it up that way, and then slowly rolling out to a
They have been very specific about saying that the programming will be very
advertiser-friendly. And I don't think that's going to be a problem. I
thinks some people are wondering, well, is that going to mean watered- down,
you know, content?
But if you look at something like "Queer Eye," there's a perfect example of
a show that definitely has a point of view, that definitely has been edge,
but has been able to not only keep advertisers but attract new ones, and
actually high premium ones. If you look at sort of the way, you know, it
looks at redoing your life, redoing your home. I mean, that's a natural
place for advertisers to go. And my guess is that people at Logo will be
doing the same thing. I mean, these are very smart people doing a very smart
BRYANT: OK, well, thank you very much. Guys, I'm sorry, we have got to wrap
it up. But the channel starts in just a little while. So I want to thank you
now, and people can check it out for themselves. Chad Allen, Paul Colichman,
and Christopher Lisotta, thank you. And Logo TV, by MTV, launches tonight on
select cable carriers across the country.