NEW YORK — Rainbow Media will launch three New York MSG Metro channels to 1 million Cablevision System homes tonight at 8 p.m.
The premiere night of Rainbow’s $100 million Madison Square Garden brand extension will include a live interview with “Sex in the City” author Candace Bushnell and ad buys from Mercedes Benz, Miramax, Exxon and PC Richards.
“This is the first time in the history of TV that three channels are being launched at once as part of the same brand,” said Laurie Giddins, Rainbow’s senior VP of business development, who is overseeing MSG Metro.
Giddins said that six weeks after launch, the three channels — MSG Metro Guide, MSG Learning Center and MSG Traffic & Weather — will gain carriage in all of Cablevision Systems’ 2.4 million New York-area subscribers.
However, MSG Metro will not be carried by Time Warner Cable in N.Y., which has more than 1 million subscribers in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. A Time Warner rep did not return a call seeking comment.
Giddins said that MSG Metro is in negotiations with Time Warner and the other cable operators that have pockets of subscribers in the tri-state region.
“It’s critical to our business plan that we are everywhere in New York,” said Giddins.
In most areas of Cablevision Systems — a part owner and managing partner of Rainbow — the MSG Metro channels will appear on channels 16, 17 and 18 to make them convenient for viewers.
Program access rules require that cable channels owned by cable operators have to be made available to competitors. However, because MSG Metro is delivered terrestrially, and not via satellite, direct broadcast services do not have access to the channels.