New York -- Just as the two lead characters in Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid wondered, "Who are those guys?" viewers have
been wondering where specific programs are on Sundance Channel.
Starting in November, the fledgling channel for independent
movies will try to remove that hurdle by adopting a primetime destination-viewing strategy
for four key time slots:
"Something New: Sundance Channel
Premieres," slated for Fridays at 9 p.m., effective Nov. 6;
"Shorts Stop: An Hour of Short Films," due
Sundays at 8 p.m., as of Nov. 1;
"Matter of Fact: The Best of Nonfiction
Filmmaking," Mondays at 9 p.m., as of Nov. 2; and
"Saturday Night Special: Movies We Love,"
Saturdays at 9 p.m., starting Nov. 7.
Tom Harbeck, Sundance's executive vice president of
programming and creative director, and Liz Manne, senior vice president of programming and
creative marketing, said in an interview that Something New will offer independent films
that are new to television in the United States. At least six per year will be titles that
have never been seen anywhere in the world.
Matter of Fact will showcase documentaries, while Saturday
Night Special, mixing new and vintage films, will include such titles as Last Year at
Marienbad (Nov. 7).
The destination titles also are designed to convey
attitude, Manne said.
"We don't want our viewers to feel that
we're holier-than-thou: We want them to be part of a community with our welcoming
irreverence," she said.
Sundance's on-air promos will break in early November,
as well, but Harbeck said there will not be a major off-channel marketing campaign, except
perhaps in its "Sundance Recommends" signage at 700-plus Blockbuster Video
stores with independent-film sections.
Sundance -- a joint venture of Robert Redford, Showtime
Networks Inc. and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment -- is a sister company to Blockbuster.
Viacom Inc owns both Sundance and Blockbuster.