Trio to host ‘Laugh-In,’ docs

Relaunch set for June 10

NEW YORK — Barry Diller’s small-scale cable network Trio is getting a makeover that includes the exclusive rights to 70 hours of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” and network TV premiere of “Elizabeth,” the historical drama starring Cate Blanchett.

At a press briefing in New York Tuesday morning, Patrick Vien, president of emerging networks for USA Cable, said Trio would relaunch June 10 with a new logo, fresh graphics and a primetime programming lineup consisting of “Laugh-In” at 7, reruns of the PBS music series “Sessions at West 54th” at 8 and a movie at 9. It didn’t hurt Trio’s access to “Elizabeth” that the movie comes from USA Films, a sister company of Trio.

Kris Slava, VP of programming and acquisitions for Trio, said the full rerun hours of “Laugh-In” haven’t played on any network since the show left the NBC primetime schedule in 1973.

Some of Trio’s other programming deals include 10 hours of the 2001 New Orleans Jazz Fest hosted by Branford Marsalis and a group of documentaries and magazine shows, many of them purchased from international broadcasters. Slava said 90% of the docus will be U.S. premieres.

Andrew Cohen, VP of original production for Trio, said originals on the network will include “Walkthrough,” a filmed tour of some of the greatest individual art collections; “Art & Outrage,” a series focusing on controversial artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe; and “America On Stage,” offering in-depth interviews with the likes of the late Jason Robards, Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, Lauren Bacall and Nathan Lane.

Trio is an ad-supported digital network that reaches about 11 million subscribers. Vien said the network is counting on a big increase in the number of digital boxes in homes over the next few years to drive the circulation of the network.