Pink TV Makes an International Splash

Gretchen Gallen
PARIS – Meeting the demands of an estimated 3.5 million gay consumers in France, the very first television channel for European GLBT audiences made a splash launch in Paris calling itself Pink TV.

The new gay and lesbian channel will feature sports, travel, comedy, soap operas, news, cult classics, American programming such as "Wonder Woman" and "Queer as Folk," and porn broadcasts four nights per week after midnight.

The channel will also feature the first transgender sportscaster, Brigitte Boreale.

Pink TV, which is available on cable and satellite television, is reportedly financed by France's three main commercial networks. The newly launched channel is aiming to have at least 180,000 subscribers within the next two years.

Pink represents a major climate shift within the broadcasting world as it changes to accommodate cultural and sexual diversity. Canada launched its first gay network two years ago; Britain has two channels, GayDate TV and GayTV; and Viacom is reportedly preparing to launch gay channel Logo in the U.S.

"Pink TV is a meeting place for gay and gay-friendly people who have been waiting for a new perspective on the world around us," said Pink Founder and President Pascal Houzelot. "Pink is coming at the right moment. There's an evident change in mentalities. We've seen society changed. We've seen the law change. In France, we can clearly say that gays have gone from the era of tolerance to the era of legality, which simply means equality."

Houzelot added that the channel's mission statement is to tackle subjects that are of interest to the gay community, and that it will "seduce a diversified public."

"Pink will not be a ghetto channel, but one to assert gay identity," Houzelot said. "We want to accompany a positive development in society but remain watchful of movements going the opposite way."

The launch of Pink TV also comes at a time when the French government is grappling with the debate over same-sex marriage. There is some hope among gay activists that the gay channel will make homosexuality more accepted in France's otherwise conservative society.

Pink presenter Eric Gueh said the launch of the gay channel is a "giant leap for television, a small step in high heels."