BY JON LAFAYETTE No more Dixie and no more chicks for TNN. From here on out, the Viacom-owned network will target men 18 to 49 years old, especially the 25-to-34 bracket, a demographic prized by advertisers. MTV Networks programming whiz Albie Hecht will be president of the network — once known as the Nashville Network — as it takes its latest new direction. He replaces Diane Robina, who is considering other posts at the company, according to MTV. Under Robina, the network’s ratings rose 10%, but were up 9% among viewers 18 to 49. Hecht said he’s surprised that cable doesn’t already have a network for men, considering there are three targeting women, including top-rated Lifetime. In order to drive home its new masculine identity, Hecht said the channel is considering a name change. Men watch less television than women, making them harder for advertisers to reach. That’s why sports on ESPN command some of the highest ad rates on cable. “If a network can demonstrate that they can reach men as effectively as some of the sports stuff, they’ll certainly do well because they’ll charge less than sports,” said Steve Sternberg, SVP and director of audience analysis at Magna Global USA. One rival network ad sales exec said that clients wanting to reach men will pay a premium for sports, but look for bargain-basement rates for other programming. Nevertheless, networks including Comedy Central and E! have reported demand for spots because of their male viewership. “We’ll be the place where advertisers can get men across all their passions, not just the jock. They can get the total guy,” Hecht said, adding that the move was partially driven by the higher CPMs advertisers pay to reach men. TNN could use the help. Its household CPM is $3.09, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, less than half the $6.87 average for the other cable networks Nielsen tracks. TNN already skews 60% male, Hecht said, thanks to a programming lineup that includes WWE wrestling, Star Trek and the James Bond movie package. Spots on Star Trek cost $1,989, according to Nielsen. “It’s a great base, and we want to build off of that,” Hecht said. Long in the pipeline is a prime-time animation block that should be attractive to male viewers consisting of Gary the Rat (featuring the voice of Kelsey Grammer), Stripperella (an animated Pamela Anderson) and Ren & Stimpy. Hecht said the channel’s programming range would be broader than the sensibility of Comedy Central’s The Man Show. “Men aren’t just about that,” he said. Comparing the channel to the men’s magazine category, he said he’d want programming that reflects Esquire, Men’s Health as well as FHM.

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