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MTV Builds Home for Gays

After years of working out a business plan, MTV Networks is launching a gay network, saying it will debut next February.

The network, christened LOGO, is designed to go on digital cable tiers that won’t reach as wide an audience as analog basic networks do.

MTVN is aiming the channel at lesbians, gays, bisexuals transgenders and “their friends and family.” MTVN Chairman Tom Freston says that despite gay print media and the rise of shows like Queer Eye For The Straight Guy “what has been missing, is a home, a home on television that this audience can really call their own.”

MTVN has been studying a gay network for years, at one point plotting a pay network in collaboration with fellow Viacom division Showtime. But that fizzled, in part because Freston and MTV Chairman Judy McGrath think a more widely-distributed, ad-supported network will be more lucrative.

Logo will be a gay lifestyle channel with less emphasis on sex than Showtime puts in its gay programs Queer as Folk and The L Word.

But MTVN executives wouldn’t offer much detail of what they see the programming being, saying only that much of it will be original shows. They hope to unveil a slate by July.