While remaining steadfastly committed to the classic-movie genre and its
traditional viewing audience, Turner Classic Movies will introduce a new series
in 2003 that it hopes will draw in younger viewers.
Under the Influence, which features current stars talking about the
classic movies that inspired them, will hopefully help the network to reach an
audience younger than its typical total-day viewer, who averages 56 years of
age, senior vice president and general manager Tom Karsch said.
The show is part of a slate of originals that also includes four new
documentaries and several monthly movie festivals.
Although TCM dominates the classic-film genre, the recent move by AMC (the
former American Movie Classics) to revamp itself into to a commercial-based,
contemporary movie channel has opened up additional windows of opportunity for
TCM, according to Karsch.
The channel wants to expand its viewership by reaching 18- to 34-year-olds
who aren't familiar with the movies of the 1930s through the 1960s.
"We want to get into [younger viewers'] 10- to 12-channel consideration set
that they have when they're looking for something on TV," he said. "We're using
newer movies to enter other people's consideration sets."
Karsch believes the new original shows such as Under the Influence and
Directors Under 30 -- a monthlong movie festival highlighting young
filmmakers' movies -- can help TCM to get on that list.
On the documentary front, TCM in February will premiere The John Garfield
Story, which highlights the career of Hollywood's 'original heartthrob';
Complicated Women, a look at women who starred in movies made before the
film industry's 1934 Code of Ethics; Rita, a spotlighting the life of
Rita Hayworth; and a portrait of famed director Cecil B.