MGM, Fox Stations to Launch Light TV Digital Multicast Channel From Roma Downey’s LightWorkers Media

Cynthia Littleton
Variety

MGM has set a deal with Fox Television Stations to launch Light TV, a faith and family-oriented digital channel created by Roma Downey’s LightWorkers Media.

The channel is set to bow next month as a digital multicast offering on Fox stations in top TV markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

At the outset Light TV will feature movies and TV series, most of them from MGM library, ranging from the Fox game show “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”to the vintage NBC drama “Highway to Heaven” and pics including “Rocky,” “Hoosiers,” “Red River,” “Little Man Tate,” ”The Nutcracker,” “Lilies of the Field,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “The Black Stallion,” “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” “Pink Panther,” “Fame” and “Mr. Mom.”

Downey’s LightWorkers Media production banner was acquired by MGM two years ago as part of its purchase of Mark Burnett’s One Three Media. Burnett, who is married to Downey, is now  president of MGM Television and Digital. Burnett and Downey have been looking to launch a faith-focused digital venture for some time. The digital multicast real estate available on broadcast TV stations around the country is a natural distribution outlet for an advertiser-friendly venture.

“This is the beginning of our new, multi-platform faith and family network, where the demand is greater than ever for family friendly entertainment,” Downey said. “This is the last unclaimed vertical. As we have already seen from the success of ‘The Bible’ series and our 20 million social followers this audience is looking for inspiring and uplifting programming that they can watch in a trusted and safe environment on any platform.”

Burnett added that Light TV aims to become “an ideal platform to reach the enormously, underserved family audience.”

MGM was an early entrant into the digital multicast channel arena with its 2008 launch of the This TV general entertainment outlet that has more than 130 affiliates. Last year, MGM introduced the sci-fi channel Comet.

With Fox as the core launch group, MGM will begin pitching stations in other markets for carriage of Light TV. Digital multicast networks are typically offered on a barter-split basis in which stations give MGM a portion of the advertising inventory on the 24/7 channels.

Fox stations lined up to carry Light TV are: New York (WNYW); Los Angeles (KTTV); Chicago (WFLD); Philadelphia (WTXF); Dallas (KDFW); Houston (KRIV); San Francisco, CA (KTVU); Washington, D.C. (WTTG); Atlanta (WAGA); Orlando, Fla. (WOFL); Phoenix (KSAZ); Minneapolis (KMSP); and Charlotte (WJZY), N.C.

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