New Reality: Fox Cable Pulling Plug on Genre Net


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-based series, will cease to develop original programming on sometime 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 and -distributed cable services including Speed Networks, National Geographic Channel, FX and Fox Sports' owned and operated regional sports networks.

Fox Reality Channel, which launched to 15 million homes in May 2005 during the midst of the reality programming craze, developed several original series including a companion show to Fox broadcasting's juggernaut reality competition series American Idol, but failed to secure a bonafide ratings breakout hit. Among its more popular shows included The Academy, Solitary and more recently Husbands of Hollywood.

During third quarter 2009 the network averaged a 0.1 rating and pulled in a mere 71,000 viewers in primetime, according to Disney ABC Group analysis of Nielsen ratings.