In a major and surprising switch in strategy, MTV Networks is transforming
TNN: The National Network into the country's first entertainment network for
men, officials said Thursday.
While there are three basic-cable networks targeted toward women -- Lifetime
Television, Oxygen and WE: Women's Entertainment -- there are no such services
for men, and Viacom Inc.'s MTVN claimed that there's a void to be filled.
TNN, with 86 million subscribers, plans to build on its predominantly male
audience to superserve men with original programming from a broad array of
genres, including animation, video games, men's health, finance and reality
As part of the shakeup at TNN, Nickelodeon veteran Albie Hecht was named
president of the network, which will keep the name, "The New TNN."
Hecht, who joined MTVN in 1993, has presided over Nickelodeon Animation
Studios, bringing hits like SpongeBob SquarePants to Nick. He is also
head of Nickelodeon Movies.
Hecht will replace Diane Robina, TNN's current general manager, who will
remain at MTVN in a capacity yet to be determined.
Robina during the past two years has overseen TNN's first transition from
regional country-music service TNN: The Nashville Network to TNN: The National
Network, a general-entertainment network with a pop-culture spin.
TNN came under MTVN's wing when CBS and Viacom Inc. merged.
Most recently, MTVN has just been calling the channel The New TNN, dropping
tag line "The National Network."
Hecht will introduce a new 2003 development and production slate for TNN in
the next few weeks -- a lineup aimed at the 100 million men in the United
"We are going to present a channel that speaks to and listens to men," Hecht
said in a prepared statement. "Our look, sense of humor and style will all come
from a male point of view. Our future original series will be developed through
a men-first filter, as will our specials, such as the Video Game Awards, and our
He noted that TNN already has a strong male base with franchises such as
Star Trek, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,the James Bond
film library and fare from World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
There are several efforts underfoot by independents to create cable networks
that strictly target men.
A group of ex-Showtime Networks Inc. executives are looking for financing to
launch Maverick Entertainment Network, MEN, early next year.
Maxim magazine has also been talking with potential partners about a
men's channel, Maxim Entertainment Network.
And Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc. studied doing a men's network based on
Hecht will report to Herb Scannell, president of Nick, TV Land and TNN. Hecht
will continue to oversee Nick Movies.