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GMC’s New Playlist: Less Music

2/14/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

GMC is singing a new
programming tune.

To complement its gospel music-
themed lineup, the network is
adding more original and acquired
off-network content. The independently-
owned channel, based
in Atlanta, recently shortened its
name from Gospel Music Channel
to GMC, changing its logo to better
represent its focus on entertainment
programming with inspirational
themes.

The network has added original
scripted series and movies, as well as acquired
off-network shows like Dr. Quinn:
Medicine Woman
, Amen and Cosby, in an
effort to better serve its target audience of
25-to-54-year-old women who say they want
more faith-friendly, family-values programming.

“What we heard from everybody is, ‘We
love your network but we want it to be more
than just music,’ ” said GMC chairman Brad
Siegel. “We don’t want a religious channel,
but pure entertainment that has a Judeo-
Christian world view.”

MUSIC SHOWS SHIFTED

As a result, the network has moved much of
its original music fare, such as Wake Up Call,
Uplifting Music Mornings, Soulful Voices, Top
Spin 10 Countdown, Espiritu Latino, Gaither
Gospel Hour, Four: Southern Gospel’s Best,
One Voice Worship, Rock Block
and GMC Insiders
to the 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. time slot, or to
the late-night time period.

The network will continue to showcase
its three major gospel awards events — the
BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Awards, the Stellar
Awards and the Dove Awards.

“We start our day with music and end our
day with music programming,” he said.

In between those hours, Siegel said, the
network will offer a mix of original and acquired
entertainment fare that features uplifting
and inspirational messages. Siegel said
the network will off er as many as six original
movies in 2011, including upcoming titles
like A Mile in His Shoes, the story of a sheltered
farm boy with high-functioning autism
who is recruited to play minor league baseball;
and Trinity Goodheart, about a 12-year-old
girl who is visited by an angel who helps
her embark on a journey to reunite her longlost
mother and disjointed family.

The network jumped into the original
movie genre last year with the debut of The
Way Home
, starring Dean Cain as a workaholic
husband who discovers what’s important
in life after his son goes missing; Blessed
& Cursed
, a modern retelling of the dramatic
Biblical account of Saul and David; and
Christmas With a Capital C. Combined, the
three movies in all of their airings
drew 5.6 million viewers, according
to the network.

The network will also step up its production
of original gospel plays as part
of its “Saturday Night Gospel Playhouse”
programming block. The network
will premiere playwright John
Ruffin’s The Ideal Husband, which will
debut later this month. Another Ruffin
play, Love Me or Leave Me, drew 1.5 million
viewers this past November.

On the original-series front, GMC
will debut several new reality series
this year, including America Sings,
a weekly series featuring choirs and
singing groups from around the country; Rolling
Thunder
, featuring a music group of dogooders
rolling into towns and helping people
in need; You’re Hired, a competition show that
guarantees the winner a job; and America’s
First Family of Entertainment
, a search for the
most talented family in the U.S. Siegel said operators
have not balked about the network’s
buildup of entertainment fare.

‘UPLIFTING DESTINATION’

“I think the operators and satellite affiliates
really get that we did what we said we were
going to do, but we expanded beyond just
music,” he said. “GMC is the uplifting destination
where viewers go to be entertained,
inspired and feel good about the faith and
family-friendly values they cherish.”

September