Time Warner Gets Extreme with Fox


Fox Cable Networks Group has signed Time Warner Cable as one of the first affiliates for its upcoming extreme-sports channel, which will launch in mid-2003.

Fox plans to announce other affiliates for the unnamed channel Wednesday at the Western Show in Anaheim, Calif.

London-based Extreme Sports Group, which supplies content for Fox Sports Net, had attempted to sign Fox as an equity partner for its own U.S. extreme-sports network. But a source said Fox would go it alone for the new digi-net, which will gain substantial distribution on Time Warner systems.

While extreme sports like skateboarding and snowboarding have gained popularity in recent years through outlets like ESPN's X Games and NBC's Gravity Games, Fox will be the first programmer to launch a 24-hour channel dedicated to the genre.

In April, ESPN unveiled EXPN, Action Sports On Demand, which it pitched as the first hybrid broadband/subscription-video-on-demand service. But the service, set to launch in 2003, hasn't announced any cable customers yet.