CN8: The Comcast Network has not only tweaked its primetime
lineup this fall, but it also acquired a package of 25 Big East Conference
The local-programming changes and additions come as CN8 --
Comcast Corp.'s regional network, which offers public-affairs and local-sports
programming -- is about to increase its distribution to 2.2 million homes with the
addition of 600,000 Cablevision Systems Corp. subscribers in November.
Roughly 1.5 million of CN8's subscribers are in New
Jersey, with another cluster of 300,000 in Baltimore, all plugged into the fiber
CN8 has just entered its third year and, for the new fall
season, it moved some of its more popular "interactive," or call-in shows, into
primetime, according to Pat Scanlon, the network's general manager.
"The shows were really in fringe hours," Scanlon
said. "And we thought that we should put our best programming in primetime."
Now, Family Talk is airing at 6:30 p.m.; It's
Your Call at 8 p.m.; and SportsTalk at 10 p.m. And sometime in November, a
popular guest on past shows, Dr. Hester Sonder, will be getting her own hour-long call-in
show, Calling Dr. Sonder, which will air at 9 p.m., said Mike Doyle, a Comcast
senior vice president.
With that addition, CN8's primetime block will be
all-live with the exception of one cooking show, which airs from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This season, CN8 has also reached an agreement with ESPN
Regional to air more than 25 Seton Hall University; Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey; and St. John's University Big East basketball games as part of its
"Hoops Heaven" package.
"This year, [the package] became available,"
Scanlon said, "and we think that it's some wonderful product for us. These are
the three major schools in our area."
As part of Hoops Heaven, CN8 also plans to produce and
televise more than 35 men's and women's college basketball games involving area
In addition, CN8 will televise seven Ivy League football
games involving the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. CN8 will actually
distribute those games to Comcast systems nationally that want them, Scanlon said.
With all of these deals and agreements, Doyle said,
"we've strengthened the package."
All in all, officials are pleased with CN8's progress.
The network received five local Emmy nominations this year. And a coincidental phone
survey conducted by Nielsen Media Research in March found that CN8 was doing a 0.7 rating
in primetime, according to Doyle.
Added Scanlon, "We outdistanced services such as
MSNBC, ESPN2 and other national cable networks."
Now that CN8 will be carried by Cablevision systems in New
Jersey, the regional network will also make an effort to recruit guests for its shows from
geographic areas that Cablevision serves, officials added.