When your parent network doesn’t include you in head count, it’s time to worry. So fans of cult cable network Trio will shudder at NBC Universal’s new sweeping carriage deal with DirecTV. NBC proudly added newly acquired USA Network and Sci Fi Channels, plus Bravo HD and the HD feeds of 10 NBC O&O stations into the mix. But Trio is missing in action.
That’s a bad sign, as NBC execs consider whether the channel should live or die.
DirecTV accounts for 15 million of the pop-culture network’s 18 million subscribers. If DirecTV isn’t carrying it, kiss Trio goodbye.
NBC Cable President David Zaslav says he’s evaluating all options and a decision should be made soon. But an industry exec familiar with the deal says that, while DirecTV will listen to any new NBC pitch, the DBS executives expect to drop the culture channel.
Trio aside, Zaslav is happy with the DirecTV deal. He went into negotiations looking for better terms and long-term carriage of Sci Fi and USA. DirecTV, in turn, wanted the right to carry NBC’s HD feed throughout the country, since it doesn’t have the capacity to air the local NBC station in each market. Now both NBC and DirecTV have reason to celebrate.
Meanwhile, Trio President Lauren Zalaznick saw this coming. Trio’s parent division registered Web site savetrio.com last December. Currently, it asks fans to lobby DirecTV to save the network.