WASHINGTON — The popular-arts channel Trio will dedicate the month of June to censorship, including the premiere of an original doc hosted by the Sandra Bernhard and a simultaneous art exhibit in Gotham, bringing together for the first time some of the most controversial artwork of modern times.
The initiative will be announced Monday by new Trio prexy Lauren Zalaznick, who described the Uncensored banner as an important step in offering a concentrated dose of programming “super-serving” the viewer.
Various programs and unedited films on the sked also could generate buzz about the fledgling cable net, particularly considering the prevailing sensibilities of the post Sept. 11 world, with most TV nets rushing to pack their skeds with family fare.
“Our point isn’t to make anybody look wrong or right. Our point is to let people speak their minds. Remember, it’s a TV channel, it doesn’t have an opinion,” Zalaznick says.
Trio, carried by major cable systems Time Warner and AT&T on their basic tiers, reaches only 14 million or so households and hasn’t yet become a client of Nielsen Media Research. Vivendi U inherited Trio last year when it bought USA Networks from Barry Diller.
Uncensored will debut June 5 when Trio premieres “Art & Outrage,” the hour-long doc hosted by Bernhard exploring controversial films, stage, music TV and artwork.
The same day, the companion art exhibit will open at the Robert Miller Gallery in New York, featuring such controversial pieces as Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” and Robert Mapplethorpe’s “The X Portfolio.”
“I think it’s fantastic, especially in the political landscape we are living in, with the Bush administration in power,” Bernhard tells Variety. “It’s a wonderful statement, it’s very bold and a great time for somebody to put their cards out on the table.”