'Science Times' to be launched

New show to make premiere on cable TV

— National Geographic's new TV channel and New York Times Television have struck a partnership for a science magazine show that will allow them to swap information and promotion.

The hour-long "Science Times" show is scheduled to make its premiere in June 2001, six months after the channel's planned January launch.

"We believe the partnership will elevate the programming and reporting to new levels," Christian Gwinn, managing director of New York Times Television Enterprises, told a news conference Wednesday at the cable TV industry's Western Show.

The name "Science Times" is borrowed from the New York Times' Tuesday science section, with the show airing the same day to allow for cross-promotion.

The two-year agreement calls for an initial commitment of 26 episodes that will focus on the impact of science on everyday life and follow new discoveries and the scientists making them, the companies said.

The New York Times' television operation produces nonfiction programming for cable channels including The Learning Channel and Discovery. Earlier this year, the company also announced a limited agreement with ABC to share news resources for some programming and to jointly produce a 15-minute Webcast on political issues.

The Times also is having talks with MacNeil-Lehrer Productions about the possibility of jointly launching a 30-minute news program to air on PBS stations at 11 p.m. five nights a week. The show, tentatively titled "National Edition," is still in the early stages of development and has not yet received financial backing.

In other announcements, Romance Classics said it is relaunching as WE: Women's Entertainment and has signed agreements with Adelphia and Charter Communications to carry the channel to about 10 million homes.

WE features films, original series and specials relating to women.

Cable industry members also announced adoption of an initiative to increase cultural diversity in the workforce. Among the elements: stronger efforts to recruit diverse talent and career rewards for those supporting diversity.

Ethnic diversity became a hot-button issue in the broadcast TV industry last year after civil rights groups complained that minorities were underrepresented on screen and in the workplace by the major networks.


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