Rainbow, Voom Feeling Just Divine

Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. will join the growing list of programmers targeting the gay and lesbian communities with the June 1 launch of Divine HD, part of satellite service Voom’s multiplex-movie suite, Cinema 10.

Divine HD will feature more than 100 titles with interest to the aforementioned viewing groups, as well as film buffs, including such movies as The Producers; The Divine Miss M; Les Cage aux Folles 1 and 2; Birdcage; Kissing Jessica Stein; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Love! Valor! Compassion!; and Outrageous.

The films will be supported by introductory comments from notable gay personalities, according to Rainbow senior vice president of business development Nora Ryan.

In addition to these introductions, some of the “HDivas” will present original entertainment segments featuring cabaret-style performances. Celebrated drag queens like Hedda Lettuce, Miss Understood and Miss Bettie will entertain viewers. Personalities including Paris Is Burning director Jenny Livingston, award-winning author Gary Indiana and Village Voice journalist Michael Musto will provide commentary on the films, plus stand-alone entertainment segments.

Ryan noted that flip and flamboyant director John Waters -- who put transvestite Divine in lead roles in such underground classics as Polyester and Pink Flamingos -- has been approached about becoming an HDiva.

“We want John to be one of our on-air personalities,” Ryan said, noting that the channel was not named for Waters’ childhood friend, late actor Harris Glenn Milstead (Divine).

“DivineHD is less about being outrageous than a mood and a place for great films for both gays and lesbians, as well as the general public,” she added.

On Tuesday, MTV Networks officially announced its long-anticipated service targeting gays. Logo, positioned as a digital-basic channel, is set to bow Feb. 17.

And Q Television Network -- following five-hour technical tests earlier this month with Cox Communications Inc. in Louisiana and Comcast Corp. in Washington state -- will soft-launch on Intelsat America’s 7 Channel (129 degrees west) June 1. The mini-pay has set an official launch date for one month later.