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NBC U To Shutter Trio Jan. 1

Cable network Trio will finally go dark Jan. 1, but NBC Universal will keep some elements alive online.

Trio's distribution slipped to around 5 million subs after DirecTV dropped the network last year.

President Lauren Zalaznick generated tremendous hype around the pop culture channel, but couldn't deliver to NBC Universal executives a business case that they felt would ever be successful.

Trio is a rare venture among major media companies, a channel that executives would rather simply shut down than attempt to morph into something with more ratings success.

Ever since buying Trio along with Vivendi Universal, NBC exectives have felt they would rather use their leverage to get higher license fees for USA Network than try to prop up Trio.

Trio's offereings including the prophetic Brilliant But Cancelled series, plus stunts like AwardsMania and Uncensored will be offered in a Trio section of sibling network Bravo's website.

Although the shutdown of Trio has been in the works for months, Zalaznick has not yet finalized her broadband plans, saying in a statement only that the initiative will roll out at the beginning of 2006, with more content added "later in the year."