When it comes to television channels, "niche" is in.
The days are long gone, of course, when the CBS, NBC and ABC broadcast networks were the only games in town.
Later, such cable networks as CNN, Sci Fi Channel, ESPN, Animal Planet, Comedy Central and A&E were stirred into the programming pot.
So what's next?
Here's a peek at selected planned cable TV networks (and their projected debut dates, if available), according to the National Cable and Telecommuncations Association of Washington. (Keep in mind, it is up to individual cable systems to decide whether to carry any new channel.)
- American Legal Network - Providing the general public with updated legal information.
- Auto Channel - Dedicated to the automobile, its history, consumer reports and product evaluations. (Spring 2002)
- Black Women's TV - News, fashion and entertainment aimed at black women.
- Collectors Channel - Entertaining and educational programming, with some "shopping elements," for collectors of eclectic and investment-quality merchandise.
- Eurocinema - European movie releases and coverage of major film festivals and events.
- Fad TV - A lifestyle channel with a core focus of fashion, design and pop culture.
- Fine Living - Guidance in how to spend precious free time, with an emphasis on simplicity and balance.
- Gospel Network - Diverse musical entertainment services featuring gospel music, news, comedy and live concerts, with satellite transmissions connecting black churches.
- Hobby Craft Interactive - Instructional, educational and informative "how-to" programming aimed at various crafts and hobbies, including quilting, sewing, crochet, ceramics and stained glass.
- Investment TV - Investment and business news programming.
- Local News Network - A cable news channel showing complete half-hour local newscasts from virtually every state. -
- Seminar TV Network - Personal development and business training.
- Senior Citizens Television Network - Lifestyle, romance, entertainment, exercise and health programming for viewers 50 and up.
- The Football Network - Games, highlights, features and movies -all dedicated to football.
- Theater Channel - Theatre performances from across the U.S. and from international cities. 6
- Wingspan Air and Space Channel - A channel for aviation and space enthusiasts, offering news and current events.
- World Cinema - Foreign film and TV, offering new and classic foreign films, presented uncut.
(Bob Betcher of the Stuart News in Stuart, Fla., may be reached at bob.betcher(at)scripps.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com)