Fox Plans Reality Digi-Net

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Fox's competitors have been complaining about that network's flood of knock-off reality series. Now, the reason for the sudden flurry may be clearer.

Fox Networks Group is prepping a new reality-themed digital cable network that will launch early next year. The Fox Reality Channel will program reruns of popular reality shows and dip into Fox's extensive library for older shows from Fox Television Studios and Twentieth Television. The channel also plans original reality shows.

"We have so many resources, this fits so naturally within the company," says Fox Networks Group President and CEO Tony Vinciquerra. "It will work with sheer force of momentum."

Fox already has company, though. Startup network Reality Central is looking to launch next year. It also plans to re-air reality shows and craft new ones. So far, Reality Central has distribution deals with Insight Communications and Mediacom.

The Fox Reality Channel doesn't have any carriage deals yet.  Vinciquerra says the channel could break even when it has about 15 million subscribers. Expect one early distributor to be News Corp.-controlled DBS company DirecTV.

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