MTV-Showtime gay network surfaces anew
Viacom is resurrecting plans for a premium cable network featuring gay-themed programming, having placed the concept on the back burner earlier this year. The channel, informally known as Outlet, has apparently been revived at its MTV Networks unit, according to published reports. MTV had been working on the project with corporate sibling Showtime Networks, where the idea first took root nearly a decade ago. But Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank said in July that development of the channel had been suspended indefinitely, citing the bleak prospects most new cable services face. Sources at MTV have now confirmed that Outlet is back in business exclusively under the aegis of MTV Networks and its chairman and CEO, Tom Freston. Little is known about the venture, with resurrection efforts still in the preliminary stages, but Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV and VH1, is expected to have input in its development. Unknown is which MTV executive will ultimately have oversight of the channel. MTV declined comment.