It’s all sys­tems GO!

Chan­nel 99 will be a new niche for celebrity watch­ers, writes Dar­ren Devlyn

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

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.

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