With new deals from News Corp. and Vivendi Universal in place, budding
martial-arts digi-net Blackbelt TV will increase its programming library to more
than 20,000 hours.
News Corp.'s Fortune Star division will provide Blackbelt TV with about 30
movies per year through 2008, including titles starring Jackie Chan, Jet Li,
Michelle Yeoh, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.
Vivendi's arrangement, through Universal Domestic Television, involves such
flicks as Double Dragon, Hard Target and Street Fighter,
plus TV series Vanishing Son.
Blackbelt TV, organized by Mortal Kombat franchise creator Threshold
Entertainment, surfaced as a proposed digi-net last fall, then touting about
15,000 hours of acquired and original programming in its hopper. Nearly 5,000
programming hours have been added since.
In addition to films and off-network TV series, the channel will offer
martial-arts-tournament coverage from around the world, Japanese anime, health,
fitness and self-defense programs.
The channel is pushing to launch by the end of 2003, but it has not signed
any cable affiliates yet.