Launched today, Varsity TV (VTV) lays claim to being “the world’s first and only teen TV network.” Featuring animated projects and other programming targeted specifically at the teen market, the new broadcast entity aims to bridge the youth-programming gap between Nickelodeon and MTV.
The 24-hour network was co-founded by Joe Shults, a member of the executive team that launched MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1. He was also one of the original management members for E! Entertainment. Co-founder Kelly Hoffman has more than two decades of financial and administrative experience in building start-ups into profitable companies.
In addition to series and films acquired from ABC International, CBC, CTV, Granada, RDF International, and Universal Television, VTV will air teen-created programming. The original series Animation Nation will feature everything from 30 second shorts to feature-length cartoons from teen animators.
Another hightlight for animation fans is the stop motion comedy series Lary Labrat, which plunges a sewer rat into the challenging world of lab test subjects. The show also blends in live-action elements.
VTV debuted on Galaxy 11, Transponder 13 and has now been added to Pod 14 of Comcast’s Headend in the Sky (HITS), whose affiliates service nearly 7 million U.S. households. In addition, a letter of intent has been signed with the National Cable Television Coop, which has more than 14.5 million basic subscribers.
VTV has built a loyal and active audience through its website, www.MyVTV.com. The privately held company with corporate headquarters in Austin, Texas is currently in final distribution negotiations with some of the country’s largest Multiple System Operators.