Gay porn & Wonder Woman team up for french gay TV

Marc Burleigh | October 25, 2004

PARIS — Gay porn and Wonder Woman repeats are to be offered in heavy doses on television in France from Monday as the country's first station aimed at homosexuals starts operations via cable and satellite.

Pink TV, a channel largely financed by the three main existing commercial networks, plans to present a mix of respectable programming and spicy niche shows to draw in a segment of the viewing population it boasts advertisers want because of their supposed higher incomes and lack of dependents.

Most importantly, it sees the time as ripe for such a venture, given the increasing acceptance of the gay lifestyle in France and other European countries.

The open homosexuality of Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, the recent court approval for France's first gay family headed by two lesbians, a June wedding of two men that has sparked a debate over gay marriages and a government push to stamp out homophobic crimes all back its argument.

The announcement of the channel's launch a month ago has generated mostly welcoming reports in the mainstream press.

The left-leaning Liberation newspaper dedicated its weekend front page and three following pages to the new station, while news magazines also gave splashy play.

The most written-about aspect is Pink TV's obsession with sex – most notably its four gay pornographic movies to be screened each week after midnight.

The first male skin flick, Out of Athens, will be shown late Monday, some three hours after the channel is received in homes that have paid the nine-euro (11-dollar) monthly subscription fee.

The lesbian side of the formula will kick off next month with Madame and Eve, according to the station's programmers, who have made no secret of their hopes that straight viewers will also be drawn to their line-up.

For audiences looking for the softer subtext of homosexuality –- and sharing the appreciation of certain gay icons – the channel will have a daily helping of Wonder Woman, the 1970s US superhero series starring Lynda Carter.

Also on the menu are English-language series such as Queer as Folk, Metrosexuality, and French and Saunders along with documentaries of celebrities like Freddy Mercury.

Sports coverage, fittingly enough, will be handled by a tall transsexual in heels and a skirt known as Brigitte Boreale.

The question is: Will the experiment prove viable?

The owners, starting with CEO Pascal Houzelot, a former executive with France's top TV network TF1 who also worked for Jacques Chirac before he came president, believe so.

They hope to have 180,000 subscribers within two years, with advertisers making up 20 percent of Pink TV's revenues, and keeping its budget to 12 million euros.

Pink TV is presenting its future viewers as a young "gay and gay-friendly" crowd with a high disposable income and a taste for consumer products.

But, as Liberation pointed out, big companies with huge advertising budgets, such as Proctor and Gamble or Danone, have not yet come calling.

The channel's advertising mananger, Olivier Cariou, told the newspaper that that would change soon. Pink TV, he said, "is being seen as something urban, trendy and hip."

A similar gay channel launched in Canada in 2001, Pridevision, and Gay TV which started in Italy a year later are struggling, but the niche continues to be tapped abroad, observers noted, pointing to Logo, a station for homosexuals in the United States which is to begin broadcasting next March. – Sapa-AFP

Related stories
Wonder Woman to launch France's 1st gay TV station [30/09/2004]



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