News

Isnt It Romantic -- TV?

9/12/1999 8:00 PM Eastern

Romance Classics, one of the few cable channels that
targets women, is looking to change its name.

Officials from the channel, which is part of AMC Networks,
have been talking with cable operators about the potential name change, according to MSO
officials. Romance is considering a number of potential new monikers, with one reportedly
being "Romantic TV."

The problem with the current name is the word
"Classics," according to sources. It leads viewers to believe that the
channel's programming is mainly movies or fare from before the 1950s, when in fact,
only a fraction of Romance's programming falls into that category.

Officials at Romance declined to comment on the prospective
name change last week. But sprucing up the name would come at a time when competition is
escalating for cable carriage, as well as audience, by female-targeted networks.

Romance, Style, Gems Television and Lifetime Television,
the dominant women's network, will face a new rival, Geraldine Laybourne's
Oxygen, in February.

Last week, Lifetime named a replacement for its former
senior vice president of affiliate relations, Bill Padalino.

Louise Henry Bryson, a veteran of FX and Courtroom
Television Network, was appointed Lifetime's executive vice president of distribution
and business development. In that newly created position, Bryson will be responsible not
only for the distribution of Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, which was
Padalino's old duty, but also for the business development of future Lifetime
networks.

In terms of Romance, it basically inherited the
"Classics" part of its name from American Movie Classics. Romance began as a
program block on AMC before it was spun off as a 24-hour stand-alone service in 1997. It
now reaches 28 million subscribers, and it is reportedly paying upfront cash launch fees
to boost its distribution.

During the past few years, Romance has been adding original
programming to its lineup and expanding the kinds of shows it airs -- adding
lifestyle-oriented and reality-based shows that cover travel, food and entertaining.

For example, one of the network's stars now is Colin
Cowie, host of Everyday Elegance with Colin Cowie, who offers tips on entertaining.

One cable operator described Romance as "a female HGTV
[Home & Garden Television]," although Romance executives didn't agree with
that characterization.

In terms of the new, original shows, Romance officials have
been positioning the network and its programming as offering an escape for women, rather
than stressing the aspect of the romantic relationships between men and women.

Another potential player in the women's arena, Turner
Broadcasting System Inc., recently dropped its plans for a women's network.

September