Speaking Wednesday at the Television Association Critics' cable press tour, Showtime Networks Inc. chairman and CEO Matt Blank made no promises about the prospects of Viacom's recently shelved plans for an all-gay cable channel. In the fall of 2002, Viacom had announced that MTV and Showtime would partner in a new gay channel called Outlet, but earlier this week, the company said the idea was being tabled indefinitely. "It's something we'd like to do, and who knows what the future holds, but right now we're not going ahead," said Blank. While cable operators embraced the idea of the new network, Blank noted, "the economic environment is difficult." He also noted that the proposed channel would have required a substantial initial investment "to invest in unique, special programming," rather than relying solely on reruns and theatrical films.