IFC Aims to Take Over Friday Nights

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Hoping to create a weekly destination for film buffs, The Independent Film Channel will launch several new original series as part of a new Friday-night block of programming.

The block, slated to bow April 9, will be backed by a major consumer promotional campaign that executives hope will help boost the network’s overall profile.

The "IFC Fridays" lineup will consist of one hour of original programming beginning at 10 p.m., sandwiched between two independent-film blocks, according to programming director Michael Ruggiero.

Signature series Dinner for Five will lead the block, while the second half-hour will consist of one of four original series slated to bow this year.

First to premiere is Rocked with Gina Gershon, a six-part reality series surrounding the actress’s rock-music tour.

Also on the slate: Film School, a reality show profiling the lives of several New York University students; and Ultimate Film Fanatic, a competition-based series testing the Hollywood knowledge of film-obsessed fans.

IFC will air more popular and recognizable independent films at 8 p.m., Ruggiero added, while moving late-night drama/thriller film franchise "Pulp Indies" to 11 p.m.

Senior vice president of marketing Evan Shapiro said the 30 million-subscriber network is hoping its new Friday programming block will appeal to its target audience of upscale men 25-45, who either have few viewing options or haven’t decided what to watch.

Along with the new series, the network will also premiere several new specials, including In Search of Ted Demme, in which famed actors and actresses pay tribute to the late director; and Slasher, a documentary that follows the life of the self-proclaimed "greatest living used car salesman" over a three-day period.

For more on IFC Fridays, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 14 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.