It’s all systems GO!
Channel 99 will be a new niche for celebrity watchers, writes Darren Devlyn
CHANNEL 9 will be out to capture the imaginations of celebrity-obsessed teenagers with the August launch of its new digital channel, GO!
Nine chief executive officer David Gyngell says GO!, to be delivered on free-to-air TV on channel 99, aims for the 14-39 demographic with shows including Gossip Girl, Fringe, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Weeds, The Wire and CSI.
Reality shows Survivor, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and The Hills will feature on GO!, as will comedies Seinfeld, Entourage, Sex and the City and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Nine’s move comes after Channel 10 secured the sports crowd with its free digital channel ONE, and the ABC stitched up kids with the planned ABC3. Seven has yet to announce which programs will be on its new digital channel.
First-run shows to screen on GO! this year include the critically applauded US series The Vampire Diaries, about a girl torn between rival vampire brothers.
Gyngell says the launch follows the signing of ‘‘the biggest deal ever’’ in Australian TV. He recently sealed a $500 million contract with Warner Bros to supply programs for the digital platform and Nine’s main channel.
In the past, Nine has on-sold some of these niche shows — including Gossip Girl and Entourage — to Foxtel, but now they will be earmarked for GO! The new channel also gives shows such as Fringe, which scored only lukewarm ratings on Nine, a second chance.
‘‘This multi-channel format is a natural evolution for Nine and for free-to-air television,’’ Gyngell says.
‘‘It means that within weeks our viewers will have free access to a second channel offering quality and a great deal of first-run content through its schedule.
‘‘Warners produce the best international programming across the board, no question.’’
GO! seems a natural fit alongside Nine’s premium channel, which is aimed at 25 to 54-year-olds. Nine will be able to bundle advertising across both channels, an advantage in these cash-strapped times.
Ian Law, CEO of PBL Media, says: ‘‘We think the proposed schedule of GO! is exciting and as a network we are focusing very much on having two channels with distinctly different content.’’
Pulling in the teens: (above) Gossip Girl gets another airing as does (below) Summer Glau in Sarah Connor Chronicles as Nine goes digital.