English-Language Hispanic Service Eyes Cable


Los Angeles -- Si TV, a veteran production company that
just closed sitcom deals with Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, is trying to raise $100
million to launch a 24-hour English-language cable network targeted toward Latinos,
officials said last week.

The mission of the proposed network, which Si TV aims to
roll out next year, is "to speak to audiences in English, with a Latino voice."

Si TV co-chairman Jeff Valdez said he is looking to appeal
to younger, bilingual Hispanic audiences, who he said prefer TV in English, as well as
crossing over to non-Latino viewers.

The proposed network's original programming will
include first-run episodes of some of Si TV's signature shows, such as Café Ole
with Giselle Fernandez
and Funny Is Funny,which are now in syndication.

Si TV needs to raise $100 million to launch its cable
network, and it is looking to get $25 million from "friends and family" and $75
million from outside investors, such as Wall Street, according to Valdez.

Si TV co-founder Bruce Barshop, head of venture-capital
firm Barshop Ventures LLC, is working on recruiting investors.

To help the network's start-up effort, Si TV has also
created an advisory board that includes Maria Conchita Alonso, Jimmy Smits, Hector
Elizondo, Cheech Marin and other Hispanic entertainers.

The new network is being developed by and will get help
securing carriage deals from Si TV CEO Bob Owen, a former executive of Cencom Cable
Associates and a founder of Argyle Communications Inc.; and Newberger Greenberg &
Associates, a consultant to several cable start-ups.

Si TV recently sold two half-hour pilots to cable: Just
for Kicks
to Disney, and Brother Garcia -- described as a Latino TheWonder
--to Nick. Si TV also has produced Latino Laugh Festival for
Showtime and Comedy Central.