Rumored to be close to launching for more than 2 years and in at least the discussion stages for about 10, Viacom [VIA] finally took the wrapper off its gay net Tues. LOGO will be a 24/7, advertiser-supported net launched by MTV Networks Feb 17 and overseen by Judy McGrath, with help from former Foodie Eileen Opatut. It will be primarily positioned as a digital net. Its goal is to be everywhere, with early launches to include L.A., NY, Boston, Philly, Atlanta and San Fran, thanks to deals with Time Warner, Adelphia and RCN [RCNC]. More distribution announcements are expected within weeks helping LOGO to reach about 14mln HHs by next year. The net plans to carry a slate of original and acquired shows, with some Viacom fare (i.e., Showtime’s "The L Word") possibly being part of LOGO’s companion SVOD service, which will contain mostly movies. Deals are in place to acquire more than 100 movies from a wide range of studios including, Sony, MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros, New Line, Showtime, Lions Gate, Sundance, Strand Releasing, and Sneak Preview Entertainment. LOGO also will work with other Viacom nets to develop programming and has approached drag queen-hosted series "Cooking’s A Drag," now taping in Phoenix. Owing to the backing of MTV/Viacom, LOGO is getting much of the gay net attention (protests from the Traditional Values Coalition and other conservative groups are already in the works), but there are other nets in the space. Here!tv is gearing up for 24/7 capability by Oct 1, and expects its PPV/VOD product (already on EchoStar and DirecTV) to be available in approx 40mln cable HHs by summer’s end. Canada’s Pridevision still hopes to break into the US, and Q TV (formerly Triangle TV) is readying its launch. The timing of the launch of MTV’s on-again, off-again gay net seems to have been buoyed by improving economic factors and Sumner Redstone’s comments in March that there was "no reason" why the company shouldn’t aspire to reach the demo. It also helps that it’s announcing in the heat of upfronts, on the eve of Gay Pride Month (June) and the TCA tour in July, by which time McGrath promises more programming announcements. — What’s in a Name? Nothing, apparently as LOGO (once dubbed Outlet)isn’t an acronym for ‘Lesbians Or Gays Only,’ but instead signifies the "many meanings of identity," MTV says.

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