Pop Culture

NBC Universal demotes Trio channel to Web

Trio is dead. Long live Trio.

NBC Universal said Monday that its struggling cable venture, which generated cult buzz among the pop-culture cognoscenti but not among advertisers, would be yanked from its digital channel slot and relaunched as an Internet-only service.

“Trio has always been for people who are obsessed with the arts and pop culture,” said Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo. “The Web is a perfect place to expand that ’programming philosophy’ to an unlimited audience.”

Beginning Jan. 1, Trio will become a broadband channel that will be linked to http://www.BravoTV.com, the Web site for Trio’s sister channel, Bravo. Existing Trio programming including acquired series under the “Brilliant, But Cancelled” banner will continue on the Internet, and more new programming will be added throughout the year.

Trio has been on life support since losing half of its available homes when DirecTV pulled the plug on Trio at the end of 2004.

NBC Universal has not yet decided what to do with the digital channel position Trio occupied. The company recently announced its intent to launch a new cable channel devoted to crime-themed programming, Sleuth.

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