Multimedia Entertainment, the distributor of four syndicated talkshows, has announced plans to launch the Talk Channel, a new 24-hour cable service, during fall 1994.
Paul A. FitzPatrick, who was recently president/chief operating officer at the Weather Channel, has been tapped to head operations of the new service, which will offer all-new programming focusing on major news topics as well as other issues of interest.
In addition, Multimedia said the channel will use a live, viewer-involved programming format that will include “constant polling” on issues through a national satellite hook-up linking viewers with the panel of experts and studio audience.
The fall ’94 launch was chosen to coincide with plans to increase channel capacity on multisystem operators. In announcing the venture, Multimedia cited its experience in the genre, producing and distributing the Monday-through-Friday strips “Donahue,””Sally Jessy Raphael,””Jerry Springer” and “Rush Limbaugh” in firstrun syndication.
The company promised “highly distinguishable personalities” as well as new hosts, but said there are no plans to use any of its current roster of syndicated hosts in connection with the new venture; however, it seems natural that the service could at some point provide a limited after-market for Multimedia firstrun fare.
A diversified company whose assets include newspapers, five network TV affiliates and eight radio stations, Multimedia also owns 100 cable systems serving over 400,000 subscribers through its Multimedia Cablevision Co. division.
The company recently announced a series of partnerships with European broadcasters seeking to create talk shows designed for overseas audiences.