Monday, December 19, 2005

'Star Trek' enters G4 galaxy

G4 is about to boldly go where many networks have gone before.

The Comcast-owned cable network is close to acquiring the syndication rights to the original "Star Trek" and one of its spinoffs, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," from Paramount Domestic Television, sources said.

"Star Trek" has been a syndication fixture since the first edition blossomed there after its brief network run in the late 1960s.

Sources also suggest that "Star Trek" will be part of a Comcast effort next year to reposition the channel brand of G4, which struggled to establish itself as the TV home for video gamers, in a broader play for young male viewers. A name change also is being considered.

A spokeswoman for G4 declined comment on the acquisition but issued a statement regarding the channel's positioning. Paramount declined comment.

"Video games are the core of G4's programming strategy," the spokeswoman said. "They are the foundation and basis of our network. Any programming we add to our slate will be attractive to a gamer audience and serve the male 18-34 demographic."

Financial terms of the acquisition were unavailable, but G4 is believed to be double-running both series weekdays, including a primetime window.

"The Next Generation" starts Jan. 8 on G4; it will continue to run on Spike TV as well with time-period restrictions keeping the programs from running in the same daypart. Spike TV will continue to run other "Star Trek" spinoffs including "Deep Space 9." "Star Trek" will begin on G4 in the second quarter.

"Star Trek" is the latest acquisition G4 has made for a program that isn't overtly about video games. The short-lived Fox series "Fastlane" and Comedy Central franchise "The Man Show" are other recent purchases. The network also has had success with the anime genre, a leftover from G4's merger with a Comcast acquisition, TechTV.

In terms of G4's channel positioning, Comcast has to walk a fine line lest it violate affiliate agreements for G4 with other cable operators that specify the channel focus on video games. However, video games will likely still be part of the mix at G4 given how popular they are with the young males the channel targets.

"Star Trek" isn't exactly alien to the gamer world; the brand has generated more than 70 video game titles.
'Star Trek' enters G4 galaxy | CNET

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