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Monday, May 14, 2007

The Fright Channel


So let's get this straight. A few years back The Horror Channel announced it's launch. After delay after delay, set back after set back, they kinda sorta seemed like they were headed somewhere. Then eventually we ALL realized that it was really going nowhere. Then came Fangoria.TV, which is great, but is mainly confined to broadband braodcasting, which is fine, and they've got some great stuff, but still not a linear cable channel with normal programming. So FEARnet was created, which actually turned out to be a Video on Demand Channel only available on Comcast. Monsters HD has always been around and I always heard good things about, but alas, it's an HD only channel. Months back NBC Universal made the announcement they were forming their own horror channel called CHILLER. The closest thing to a 24 hour cable channel like Monsters HD, but of course, only available to Direct TV customers. What sucks is I had Direct TV back in Texas, dammit. Here, we can't get it.

Now it is important to me to have a horror channel for two main reasons. One, as a horror fan I've been dying to see programing to satisfy my horror fix. Two, as a Indie Horror Moviemaker, it's one more possible outlet to show my work. Now I'm hesitant to spread the word or even talk about a NEW horror network because I've already had my heart broken several times when it came to this subject. As a fan I've just been handed disappointment after diappointment, and not to mention I've had past dealings with one or more of the above networks about Monster Cops being developed into a show and then just subsequently dicked around. So there is reason for my hesitation in posting about the following.

There is a new venture into the world of horror networks, this one entitled THE FRIGHT CHANNEL. Great name, really, great ideas they are putting forth, but honestly, I've heard it all before. But I have to admit their approach is unique and quite intruiging. This is direct from their website:

The Fright Channel™ aims to be the nation’s premiere television network of choice for the horror fan inside us all. Programming will consist of classic monster movies, original documentary and narrative series, classic horror TV shows, and world premiere events of brand new works from today’s burgeoning horror masters. What sets The Fright Channel apart from the countless other attempts at the same goal is that we will bring together the many different local programming entities (currently serving isolated communities) under a united banner. Starting with part-time broadcasts with ever-increasing frequency on a continuingly growing number of stations, The Fright Channel will benefit from the “snowball effect,” eventually reaching every area of the country. This loose cooperative of “affiliates,” self-governed and autonomous, will, by its very existence, gain collective bargaining power in the television industry and allow its leap to major cable provider distribution. As a united group, The Fright Channel will be able to take content directly to the fan on local channels and will share programming content, allowing once-isolated talents to reach a national audience. With its totally unique platform and original approach, The Fright Channel is already “the world’s greatest all-horror network” created by the horror fan for the horror fan.

In other words they are going to start off buying air time in select cities, showing the same programming (Bi-weekly I've heard) and hopefully gain steam from there, eventually covering the entire country and expanding their air time, eventually getting popular enough to be able to become it's own network on it's own channel. Honestly I think it's a great idea and not too dissimilar to what I had in mind for Monster Cops The Series. But we shall see. I have to give the guys kudos for the second paragraph I read in their "about" section.

The Fright Channel began life as The Horror Channel in 1999 and is the abnormal brainchild of TV veteran Rob Claridge. Sadly, though we were first out of the gate, lack of initial funding and the ascension of a similarly-named online entity (good luck and keep going, guys!) sidelined the project for many years. New developments in the cable industry and a resurgence in the genre afforded a new opportunity for life and the project was fortified and re-imagined as The Fright Channel.

I laughed out loud at "good luck and keep going, guys!" An obvious jab at The Horror Channel.

It's kind of a guerrilla approach Mr. Claridge is taking. Which appeals to me. But I'll be keeping my armor on while carrying all this with a grain of salt. I hope this one works out. I think I speak for most of the die hard horror fans as well as the indie horror makers out there when I say, we are sick of being dicked around, we are sick of empty promises, and we are ready for a real horror channel that everyone can have access to. We'll see how it goes.

They launch in July on Friday The 13th in New York and L.A. and possibly other areas. If you want to help them out, the best way is to go to THEFRIGHTCHANNEL.TV and take the survey. Also email them directly and let them know you want the channel in your area. Email them your cable providers name and address at IWantTFC@thefrightchannel.tv

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