Cable Operators

CN8 Set to Air TalkShow.TV

1/11/2005 8:10 AM Eastern

A start-up programmer plans new spins on the talk-show format with a weekly primetime series set to debut on CN8, The Comcast Network this Friday night.

Showcasing a segment approach that will often put its hosts on-location, the half-hour TalkShow.TV is slated to bow Jan. 14 at 8:30 p.m. (EST).

CN8 -- which is available to 6.4 million homes from Maine to Maryland -- initially plans to run 17 installments of the linear show as part of its entertainment-themed Friday-night lineup.

Featuring three or four segments running from five to six minutes apiece, the show will rotate such topics as style, sports, music and nightlife, and it is aimed at the 18-34 crowd, particularly 20-somethings, who are accustomed to today’s multitasking media world.

Along those lines, TalkShow.TV founder and CEO Chad Shusman said the show is being produced in modular form, with the various segments subsequently available on Comcast Digital Cable’s on-demand platform, as well as on its Web site (www.talkshow.tv).

“TalkShow.TV programming has been developed specifically for distribution on emerging platforms like video-on-demand and broadband, as well as traditional linear television,” Shusman said, noting that the online version will feature a number of interactive elements -- not necessarily longer interview or segment sessions, but outtakes, bloopers and blogs.

The show will include a number of hosts focusing on issues, personalities and events shaping the lifestyles of young adults.

Shusman emphasized that each segment will be highly energetic, while also offering informational takeaway. He believes roving desks -- situated at such locations as Baltimore’s InnerHarbor and Boston’s Faneuil Hall -- will serve as a point of differentiation for the show.

“People like to see themselves or friends on television,” he said. “This is the latest step in the evolution in the talk formats from [Jack] Paar and [Johnny] Carson to [MTV: Music Television’s] TRL and [Home Box Office’s Da] Ali G [Show].”

The first installment is scheduled to feature host Megan Gunning (E! Entertainment Television’s Wild On!, Downtown Philly Stories) interviewing DJ and producer Josh Wickam in his home and on the night-club scene in the “City of Brotherly Love,” as well as poker champion Dutch Boyd providing viewers with strategies and techniques to succeed at Texas Hold ‘Em.

TalkShow.TV further strengthens CN8’s Friday primetime lineup featuring exclusive entertainment programming relevant to our viewing audience,” CN8 vice president and general manager Jon Gorchow said in a prepared statement.

“The insider knowledge and must-see tips featured on the shows will also be available on-demand so that Comcast Digital subscribers can access the information they want, when they want it,” he added.

As it rolls out, TalkShow.TV is being backed by cross-channel support on CN8. Shusman -- who came to the programming world after selling earthwell.com to drugstore.com (www.drugstore.com) -- said the company’s business model is currently reliant on splitting ad revenues with distributors, and he is the process of putting together another funding round.

Looking ahead, Shusman believes the TalkShow.TV format can play very well to audiences across a narrower swath. “We can see TalkShow.TV Philadelphia, TalkShow.TV Boston, TalkShow.TV Baltimore and beyond,” he added. “Relevant regional stories and hosts are the keys.”

September