Turner Preps Cable Channel For the South

Turner Broadcasting System unveiled its 18th cable channel last week, Turner South, which will debut this fall in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and parts of North Carolina.
Turner South is led by Bill Burke, president of the TBS Superstation.
Like other TBS properties, the channel will rely heavily on existing programming. Among the offerings will be sports (the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers–all owned by TBS chairman Ted Turner), movies from its vast library and World Championship Wrestling.
Burke said the channel would present original programming as well. Currently planned series include Southern Living, leveraging the relationship with the magazine of the same name, also a subsidiary of TBS parent Time Warner; Whole World Theater, starring an Atlanta improvisational troupe; and The BlueBird Cafe, featuring entertainment from a Nashville, Tenn., nightspot.
Turner officials would not discuss a firm launch date, marketing budget, advertising rates or the target number of subscriber homes.
“We think this channel will be very appealing to this region,” Burke said. “The Turner brand is very well known here in the Southeast. It’s always been our home.”
Burke added that, in addition to national advertisers, the channel will pursue regional sponsors, though he said no sales calls had been made as of last week. “We haven’t had those discussions yet,” he said.
Cable TV outlets carrying Turner South will be allotted two minutes of time per hour to sell.
If the channel does well, it would lead TBS officials to explore similar ventures in other regions.