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Will TCI Pull The Plug On “The ’90”?

The founder of the ’90s Channel, John Schwartz, calls it the only liberal cable network in America, and he fears that its days may be numbered. Of the approximately 1 million households that get the ’90s, 600,000 are served by Tele-Communications Inc. cable systems. Schwartz says his contract with the cable giant is up this year and doubts that his network will get renewed, especially in the current political climate. TCI brass say no decision has been made, but note that the channel has only two hours of original programming a week. Schwartz acknowledges the fact, but argues that’s more than the conservative National Empowerment Network offers and TCI, in a move to curry favor in Washington, is likely to add that to its systems nationwide. “We’re in a Catch-22 situation,” says Schwartz. “If we could get wider distribution, we could generate the revenues to do more original programming.”

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