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Reelz Drills Into 'Awards Season’

8/26/2007 8:00 PM Eastern

ReelzChannel will reinforce its branding as the network and broadband site dedicated to “everything about the movies — 24/7” with a new programming initiative, launching a series of specials covering award shows and influential film festivals.

The Hollywood “award season” runs from September through the Academy Awards ceremony in April. Reelz’s specials will go beyond red carpet coverage, channel president Gary Thorne said.

ReelzChannel will try to distinguish itself from other venues by its depth of coverage, he said.

Besides the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, the channel will cover awards by the Director’s Guild of America, the Writer’s Guild of America and the Producer’s Guild of America. Reporters will ask filmmaking professionals about their process, not what they are wearing, channel executives said.

The first special is Awards Watch: the Toronto Film Festival, scheduled for Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. (ET). Last year, this festival brought The Last King of Scotland and Babel to the attention of critics and film fans, Thorne noted. And observers can watch for studio marketing trends to determine what titles might get a big promotional push for Oscar consideration.

Other specials planned for this year: a show on holiday-release movies; a Golden Globes special; a program on best supporting actor and actress Academy award hopefuls; a similar special on best actor and actress, best picture and best director; and specials on the DGA and WGA awards.

Ian Valentine, senior vice president of programming, said regularly scheduled programming will also pay heed to popcorn movies. The Transformers movie, for example, advanced computer graphics imaging.

ReelzChannel will host special editions of its daily movie news program Dailies, hosted by Mike Richards, and The Big Tease, hosted by Chi-Lan Lieu. Movie critic Leonard Maltin will use his series, Secret’s Out, to pick his awards favorites, as well as discuss hidden gems overlooked by awards voters.

Thorne said the channel’s Web site (http://www.reelzchannel.com) will set up a microsite for fans looking for awards-related content such as running tallies of awards won, critics’ lists of award show picks and festival information.

ReelzChannel is now available to 30 million pay television homes, primarily from carriage on DirecTV and the Dish Network. It also has carriage on some Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Mediacom systems.

September