Originally created 11/23/05

NBC Universal shutting down Trio network

NEW YORK - NBC Universal is shutting down Trio, but will keep the cheeky pop culture television network alive as a broadband offering.

Trio, perhaps best known for show business documentaries and its "Brilliant, But Cancelled" series resurrecting short-lived TV shows, is currently available in only 9 million of the nation's 110 million television homes. It will sign off at the end of the year, NBC said Monday.

Its fate was effectively sealed last year when bought by NBC Universal, which also owns the similar and more widely distributed Bravo. Trio was subsequently dropped by DirecTV, taking away more than half of its distribution, and prospects for going wider were dim.

But it will relaunch on Jan. 1 as a broadband network under the BravoTV.com banner, a prospect that would have been laughable only months ago but now is a serious business prospect. MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon have all recently started their own online networks.

Trio wasn't able to say on Monday which of its programs would make the move to broadband, since use of any shows on another platform must be negotiated with the people who made them.

"It will feel like the channel," said Lauren Zalaznick, Trio president.

Zalaznick said she hoped some of Trio's documentaries, including ones about show business flops and the lives of Elvis Presley impersonators, could make the move to broadband.

There are no plans to keep any of Trio's programming available on traditional television after it is shut down, but Zalaznick said it was possible some could find its way to Bravo if it proves popular on the Web.


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