Harsh Reality for Fox


News Corp. will shut down its Fox Reality Channel service next March, although it’s unclear what the company will do with the network’s 47 million subscribers.

The four-year old network, which focused mostly on developing original reality content, will cease to develop new shows on or around March 31, according to News Corp. officials.

“With the changing cable landscape, we’ve made a strategic decision to shift some resources and refocus on emerging channels,” said a Fox spokesman. “However, Fox Reality Channel will remain on our lineup for at least the next several months.”

The network, which was generating less than 10 cents per subscriber, could stay on the air beyond March with repeat programming. News Corp. officials would not say how the network’s resources — including its 47 million-subscriber base — will be used, but sources said it could be divided among other Fox-owned cable services including Speed Networks, National Geographic Channel, FX and Fox Sports’s owned and operated regional sports networks.

Fox Reality Channel, which was launched to 15 million homes in May 2005 in the midst of the reality-show craze, developed several original series including a companion show to the Fox broadcast network’s juggernaut competition series American Idol, but failed to secure a breakout hit.

At the same time, other networks such as VH1, MTV, E! Entertainment Television and TLC have dominated the cable reality arena with such shows as Flavor of Love, The Hills, Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Jon & Kate Plus 8, respectively.

Among Fox Reality Channel’s more-popular shows are The Academy, Solitary and more recently Househusbands of Hollywood.

The network averaged a 0.1 rating and pulled in a mere 71,000 viewers in primetime, according a Disney/ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen ratings.