The latest aspiring cable net on the scene is Gospel Music Channel, dedicated to gospel music and artists. Former Discovery vet Charles Humbard and ex-Turner Entertainment chief Brad Siegel are heading the channel, which aims for a fourth-quarter launch. Gospel Music Channel won't be affiliated with ministries and isn't taking any money from religious groups. It plans to be an independent source of gospel entertainment, with music videos, concerts, and series that tell the stories about artists and songs (think Behind the Music). Plans call for a range of gospel and gospel-influenced music, including adult contemporary, Christian rock, country, and hip-hop. Gospel Music says it has a corporate-level "hunting license" deal with Cox Communications and will start to pitch the channel to the MSO's systems.
The History Channel is getting a Spanish accent. Spinoff network The History Channel en Español is angling to launch later in the second quarter. The channel will address world and Latin American history with Spanish-language programming, some culled from History's Latin American channel. No carriage deals, but surely A&E Network execs will be working that angle at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association convention.
The United States Tennis Association is pulling together 10 summer tournaments to create the U.S. Open Series, a six-week season of men's and women's North American hard-court play. CBS and NBC will televise some weekend coverage, and ESPN will run live events weekly in prime time.
Digital sports network Tennis Channel will run some early rounds and related shoulder programming. The action—about 100 hours of coverage—will lead up to the U.S. Open tournament. Olympus and Mass Mutual have signed as sponsors.
Fox Sports Net will welcomes its newest personality (and former ESPN host) Max Kellerman May 10 when I, Max,
his new show debuts. The half-hour interview and talk show will run weekdays at 6 p.m. ET on Fox Sports regional networks. On May 9, Fox Sports will add Head to Head With James Brown, a celebrity and sports-star interview show hosted by the Fox NFL announcer.
As World Wrestling Entertainment takes its library to video-on-demand, it is recruiting a Golf Channel vet to lead the way. Peter Clifford, WWE's new vice president of affiliate sales, is tasked with selling cable and DBS operators on WWE 24/7, a collection of pay-per-view, cable, and broadcast wrestling and some original productions. Clifford joined Golf Channel in 1996.