Seeing is believing

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There was "ellen," and now "Will & Grace."

This fall, Fox will air "Don't Ask," starring John Goodman as a gay dad. But despite a spattering of TV shows with gay characters that have turned the eye of the gay and lesbian community, there has not been one network that has intentionally courted them. At least, not until C1TV.

Launched in January, advertiser-supported C1TV reaches 6.5 million homes in 24 cities via two-hour and four-hour programming blocks a week. Current programs include a dating show, "The Look," and "Wow," covering the hottest fashions, gadgets and travel destinations. The network also recently gained the exclusive rights to British-created "Queer as Folk," a drama series depicting the lives of three gay friends.

NOT EXCLUDING ANYONE

"We are driving a gay audience, delivering a gay audience," says Darren Mankovich, exec VP and one of five founding managing partners, "but this is not a gay television network. We are not excluding anyone else from watching." He adds the network "is positioned for hip, urban, trendsetting audiences," as well as gay audiences.

"We've positioned it so that any corporate advertiser can feel very comfortable advertising their brand in our environment without compromising their corporate identity," Mr. Mankovich says.

Current advertisers on the cable channel, whose tag is, "The world through your eyes," include glbank.com, quickbrowse.com and overstock.com. "That's without aggressive ad sales," he says.

HEARING PROPOSALS

C1TV was scheduled to begin advertising this month after reviewing several proposals from ad and PR agencies.

Positioning the channel as "another Oxygen" network that converges programming from the Internet with its cable shows, Mr. Mankovich is optimistic about drawing in corporate advertisers.

"Up until now, if you're talking specifically about the gay and lesbian consumer, [advertisers] have only been able to reach them from direct marketing, print and event sponsorship and, most recently, the Internet. We knew that if we took the most powerful medium -- television -- and combined it with the Internet, we could develop an [outlet] for advertisers."

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