TechTV Broadens Focus In Late-Night - Multichannel

TechTV Broadens Focus In Late-Night

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Continuing an effort to widen its audience, TechTV plans to launch an edgy late-night programming block in late April that will include comedy and animation, officials said last week.

"It's our next step in terms of broadening the network," said Greg Brannan, TechTV's senior vice president of programming. "We think a lot of people will come fresh to the network for this. Part of this is designed to get us noticed."

The new block, to kick off April 28, will air from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It will lead off with Robot Wars,
a British show that features battling robots. TechTV, which is trying to expand into more of a technology "lifestyle" network, has acquired 64 one-hour episodes of the series.

The Martin Sargent Show,
a half-hour comedy hosted by a talent that Brannan described as "the David Letterman of the Internet generation," will follow Robot Wars, beginning May 26. Sargent will interview offbeat guests — like the creators of weird Web sites — and have a segment on "High-Tech Hijinks," the best pranks for the digital age.

X-Play
will celebrate video games by covering games and gamers, and will offer reviews of new releases. The block finishes with Anime Unleashed,
already on TechTV's late-night schedule.

Primetime additions

During the week of April 28 TechTV will also add primetime fare, namely the previously announced Wired for Sex
and Spy School.
Wired for Sex
is about how technology intersects with pornography, sex and fertility, while Spy School
shows how the latest technology is being used in espionage.

As part of its effort to evolve away from just news and information fare to technology-related "lifestyle" programming, TechTV later this year will kick off "Digital Digs," a promotion, that will reward sweepstakes winners with a "tech-fantasy home makeover." TechTV will partner with its cable affiliates to promote the sweepstakes. The winner's makeover will be taped and made into a TV special.

TechTV, acquired by billionaire Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures Inc. several years ago, is trying to increase its audience by broadening its programming.

The former computer network is averaging a 0.1 rating, and wants to bump that number up to a 0.2, Brannan said.

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