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Gospel Music Channel Inks Time Warner Deal

Gospel Music Channel and Time Warner Cable are poised to make sweet music together after the two parties reached a distribution deal last week.

Its unclear how many Time Warner systems will distribute the 10 million-subscriber channel, but the network hopes to announce a number of launches with the nation’s second-largest cable operator in the near future.

The hunting-license pact comes on the heels of a new network audience-quality study indicating that Gospel viewers are multicultural, very social and influential within their communities and are more likely to respond positively to advertising they see on the channel relative to other channels, according to Gospel vice chairman Brad Siegel during the network’s upfront presentation last week.

“The Gospel Music Channel can be disproportionately more influential in purchase decisions because they regard commercials that they see as recommendations,” he said. “It’s like giving [advertised products] the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.”

New shows the network will debut later this year include The Kitchen Sink, a weekly entertainment series featuring live performances and other information; I Sing Praises!, a female-targeted variety show; and Total Axxess, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at gospel artists on the road. Specials include Natalie Grant's Special Delivery, Robert Townsend's Gospel Music Theatre, Women of Faith Concert of Praise and Celebrate Freedom.

The network will also return for a sophomore season its Gospel Dream 2008 contest show, in which unknown gospel singers compete for a recording contract.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.