Career Entertainment TV Employment With Ops

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A new digital channel dedicated to careers and the workplace plans to launch in fourth-quarter 2004.

Los Angeles-based Career Entertainment Television will offer entertainment and educational-based programming to help viewers navigate today's uncertain and complicated workplace environment, according to network president Connie Johnson. Eschewing tedious job listings for more appealing video programming, the privately owned service — set to launch next Labor Day — will blend original programming with acquired off-network content themed around jobs and careers.

The channel is the second employment-targeted service set to launch next fall. New York-based The Employment Channel, which expects to debut at the end of 2004, will offer career advancement and lifestyle programming, as well as employment and job search tips and listings, according to network president Broderick Byers.

CETV's programming lineup will touch on a wide range of formats, including series, movies, specials, talk and game shows, as well as interactive elements and Internet tie-ins, said Johnson, a former producer of Home Box Office's thriller series Tales From the Crypt.

Some of the entertainment-based content for the network includes the game show Workaholic, in which the reluctant winner has to take a vacation; and Disgruntled, a discussion/talk program in which the host plays mediator and instigator for employees and their employers.

CETV will also present more educational fare, including specials on how to get a job and work ethics, Johnson said.

The service aims to reach a diverse 18-to-49-year-old audience, many of whom may be contemplating a job or career change. CETV said about 57% of the U.S. workforce is expecting or considering a job change, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average American holds nearly nine jobs between the ages of 18 and 34, and has seven careers in their lifetime.

Johnson said CETV has already secured digital distribution deals with operators, although she would not disclose the MSOs. Johnson added the network expects to have as many as 10 million subscribers at launch.

Network finance vice president Darren Barker said the service is charging a license fee, but the cost is dependent on the level of operator distribution.

The network will offer operators two minutes of ad avails an hour. In addition to selling time, executives said this inventory could be used to tout local employment postings, job fairs and training centers.

The network also has some other cable ties, Margaret Loesch, the former president and CEO of The Hallmark Channel U.S., who is currently working for The Hatchery, an entertainment venture targeting kids and families, sits on its advisory board.

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