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The Fright Channel Looks to Carve Its Niche

Las Vegas -- Entering an arena that giants Comcast and NBC Universal have a stake in, a veteran TV producer is looking to launch a horror network, The Fright Channel, on Friday the 13th in July.

The independent service’s founder and president, Rob Claridge, said Monday that he plans to buy blocks of time on cable systems in Los Angeles and New York so he can get his network off the ground July 13.

At a press conference at The Cable Show ’07 here, Claridge said he has assembled original horror content, such as never-before-seen movies, and he also has a slate of original programs in development.

The Fright Channel formed a “Fright Force,” a band of independent producers who will create and trade content, according to Claridge.

He noted that NBC U has a horror channel, Chiller, but it is only carried on DirecTV. And Comcast’s horror service, FEARnet, is a video-on-demand service, not a linear channel, he added, meaning that a good chunk of cable subscribers who are horror fans have no place to go for that content.

The Fright Channel launched its Web site this weekend, and it plans to start broadband broadcasts later in the year. Claridge is also developing an offering for kids, Fright Jr., which will have educational content with a horror flare.

The Fright Channel ultimately hopes to be a 24-hour service, but it will kick off as a biweekly block of time, airing from 10 p.m.-midnight it select markets.

Claridge, TV producer and editor, has a list of credits that include The Bachelor, The Mole, Average Joe and Grease: You’re The One That I Want.