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Cable television has scored some hits and some misses in the development of new specialized channels.


From the time it hit the airwaves, cable television has been moving toward increasingly specialized programming, creating channels that are tailored for very specific tastes.Some, like MTV, have found faithful audiences and financial success. Others, like the information-driven Monitor Channel and a proposed Willie Nelson Cowboy Channel, which was to show westerns, foundered or never got off the ground.

In the last couple of years, more channels targeted to fit highly defined niches have become part of the cable landscape. They range from Canal Sur, a Latin-American channel with only 700 subscribers nationwide when it was launched last fall, to Comedy Central, an all-comedy channel that began last April with 25 million subscribers.

Of the nine or so new cable choices, three have commanded the most attention - and have industry insiders counting on long-term success. Two of them, Court TV and the Sci-Fi Channel, are carried by Cablevision Industries, which serves Guilford County. Cablevision of Greensboro does not carry either channel.

The third touted channel, Ted Turner's Cartoon Network, isn't offered by CVI or Cablevision of Greensboro.

Court TV was launched last year with 7 million subscribers. It offers gavel-to-gavel coverage of some of the nation's most intriguing trials. Sci-Fi Channel kicked off its programming Sept. 24 with 10 million subscribers. Owned by USA Networks, the channel features a mix of science fiction movies, action series and more.

CVI added both to its basic cable lineup Sept. 24. Turner's 24-hour Cartoon Network debuted Oct. 1 with about 2 million subscribers. It has a library of about 8,500 cartoons from MGM, Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros. and Paramount.


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