We’re still waiting for the 24-hour all-Gilligan channel, but cable programmers are rushing to fill just about every other niche they can think of. A slew of new specialty networks will be making their way to the cable box in coming months, serving up everything from cooking instruction to nonstop tracer bullets. That glorious 500-channel future gets a little closer to reality every day.
· TV Food Network: 24 hours of slicing and dicing, with food news, recipe programs, and a celebrity talk show hosted by Robin Leach. ”Henry Kissinger will stop by to talk about solving the Bosnian problem while cooking his recipe for potato pancakes,” speculates TVFN president Reese Schonfeld. Arrives on more than 3 million cable boxes in September (there will be a two- hour sneak peak on Aug. 30).
· The Military Channel: A network John Wayne could sink his teeth into, with a 24-hour bombardment of war movies, war documentaries, and war news. ”We’re not going to glamorize it,” says network cofounder and president Douglas Keeney. ”We’re going to be very PBS-y in our approach.” Arrives on 3 million cable boxes on Jan. 16, 1994.
· The Golf Channel: Round-the-clock coverage of the heart-pounding, thrill-a-minute, edge-of-your-seat world of golfing, with tournament updates, home shopping shows, and visits to golf courses around the world. Arnold Palmer is a co-owner of the venture. Scheduled to launch in May 1994.
· The History Network: Every school kid’s dream, this is bound to become The Homework Channel. Documentaries about history, talk shows with historians, and news about recent historical findings. Launches next summer, to be followed in the fall of 1994 by A&E’s own H-TV, another documentary-loaded history channel.
· Romance Classics: An American Movie Classics spin-off offering 24 hours of commercial-free amour, with classic love stories (An Affair to Remember, Love Me Tender), soap operas (Peyton Place), and original programming about screen lovers. Launches — when else? — Valentine’s Day, 1994.