New York -- Time Warner Cable of New York City made a
number of channel changes to its lineup last week in an attempt to group together networks
of like genres, said Barry Rosenblum, its president.
Time Warner has had to withstand a blistering array of
criticism from local clerics due to its removal of Odyssey Channel in favor of adding one
of Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.'s MSG Metro Channels.
Rosenblum has said that ratings for the nondenominational
religious service -- which is changing its format this spring in favor of more
"family" programming -- were low. He added that the system offers other
Operators are looking with increasing favor at adding local
services that they can hold exclusively as competition from direct-broadcast satellite
services and, to a lesser extent, from telephone companies intensifies.
A series of Federal Communications Commission rulings set
back some operators' efforts to hold onto regional-sports services exclusively, so
more of them are turning to local services such as the Metro Channels.
Time Warner also programs an exclusive 24-hour local-news
service in the city, New York 1 News.
In Manhattan, Fox Family Channel got the biggest upgrade,
moving from channel 66 to 14.
While Time Warner is trying to put networks on the same
channel numbers citywide, including in Brooklyn and Queens, there are variances in parts
of the city.
The Metro Guide service -- one of three Metro Channels that
Rainbow programs in the tristate New York region -- is undergoing changes in time for the
Time Warner launch. The operator is adding, at least for now, just one of the Metro
The Guide will now provide more local entertainment and
lifestyles information to consumers by expanding its 30-minute programming wheel to one
hour, with 10-minute blocks highlighting different slices of New York life, said Laurie
Giddins, senior vice president of Rainbow and executive in charge of the Metro Channels.
Each block will feature at least three recurring,
short-form series that will run about one to four minutes.
"Viewers have told us that the programming thus far
has been particularly useful, but we wanted to provide even more entertainment
information," Giddins said.
The network's new hour-long programming block includes
"MetroEntertainment," "MetroStories" (neighborhoods),
"MetroStyle," "MetroFood," "MetroFamily" and
"MetroMotion" (fitness and lifestyles).
Among the network's lineup of new talent is former New
York Mayor Ed Koch, who will give movie reviews.
The Metro Channels are already carried in Rainbow parent
Cablevision Systems Corp.'s 2.8 million homes in New York, New Jersey and
Connecticut. The addition of Time Warner puts the Metro Channels in front of almost 4