TechTV Slashes Tech Live

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Tech Live
went dead on TechTV's daytime schedule Wednesday, as the
tech-oriented cable network canceled the morning and afternoon editions of its
year-old news program on sudden notice.

The cancellation, leaving Tech Live as a half-hour nightly program,
came as TechTV prepares to hit advertisers with a round of upfront meetings
covering its 2002-03 season plans.

Approximately 50 people were dismissed from the network -- including most of
the show's producers, bureau producers and correspondents -- after the morning
edition concluded.

Tech Live anchors Erica Hill, Becky Worley and Michaela Pereira will now
serve as both rotating hosts and correspondents on the nightly version.

The program launched last April as a nine-hour news block, including
breaking-news coverage and tech-focused stock-market updates, but it was cut
back to three separate programs last fall.

With the 90-minute morning edition and hour-long afternoon edition gone,
Tech Live at night will take a newsmagazine approach.

TechTV senior vice president of programming and production Greg Drebin said
the Tech Live terminations were based on strategy -- switching to an
entertainment-based format for the channel geared to the lifestyle of tech
users.

'These fans want more compelling entertainment consistently,' Drebin said.
'Our goal now is to tap a natural energy and excitement around technology that
we need to emulate on-air. People want to know what's going on in the tech world
beyond how to download more into a hard drive. It's all about helping and
entertaining them.'

'No day is a good day to make a decision like this,' he added in reference to
why Tech Live dropped editions in midweek. 'There were internal reasons
to do it today, reasons that were not monetarily-based. It's not a personal
issue. It's a programming strategy issue.'

That strategy change will be highlighted by the introduction of such TV
classics as Max Headroom and Thunderbirds (with special wraparound
segments); a movie package with Coma, Demon Seed and Forbidden
Planet
among the highlights; and the U.S. premiere of Techno Games, a
popular show from England where homemade machines engage in Olympic Games-type
events.

New episodes of Techno Games may be made just for TechTV if ratings
work out.

Drebin stressed that the network is not in financial trouble, and that it is
picking up new advertisers at a solid clip.

However, TechTV will not repeat the lavish upfront lunches held in New York
and elsewhere the past two years. Agency presentations will start next week in
several cities, with the press invited to tag along on a few of
them.

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