TV channel to promote family values: Broadcaster to offer eight hours a day of 'good clean laughs, thrills and romance'

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The Independent Online
A TELEVISION channel to be launched next month is promising viewers no sex, no violence and no bad language. Instead, drama, comedy and light entertainment on the Family Channel - available on the BSkyB satellite service from 1 September - will be 'exciting, uplifting and positively entertaining'.

'Tune in to the affirmative' runs a jingle for the channel, which will broadcast 'good clean laughs, thrills and romance' eight hours a day from 5pm. Programmes include Bordertown, a western drama set on the US-Canadian border, Big Brother Jake, a sit-com about a foster family, and Snowy River, shot on location in Australia. Most programmes will be imported from the American parent company, International Family Entertainment, whose channel is seen in 60 million American homes. But there are plans for British drama and the station launches with a British game show based on Trivial Pursuit.

The Family Channel in the US was founded by the television preacher and 1988 Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson, and is now valued at dollars 500m ( pounds 333m). The British company is chaired by his son, Tim, and is based at the Maidstone and London offices of TVS, the former ITV broadcaster which failed to regain its franchise and was bought by Mr Robertson's company. In contrast to International Family Entertainment in the US, the British company emphasises that it has no religious programming. But the spirit of Pat Robertson is evident. Rick Busciglio, marketing director, said that with growing concern over screen violence, the channel was launching at the right time. Most broadcasters justified strong language and violence, he said, by claiming they mirrored society. 'At the Family Channel we would rather set an example of honesty and decency, the basic values that make life liveable. We are not trying to change viewers' values but to maintain those we were raised with.' In a survey of 1,000 adults conducted for the Family Channel by BMRB last weekend, 68 per cent said they wanted more family programmes. More than 40 per cent said the present effect of television on family life was negative.

Mr Busciglio said: 'Offensive language, sexual content or excessive action will get ratings. But we are not just into ratings. We have some responsibility for the people at the other end.'


5.00 Danger Bay

5.30 Wonder Years

6.00 Big Brother Jake

6.30 Catchphrase

7.00 Trivial Pursuit

7.30 All Clued Up

8.00 Remington Steele

9.00 Neon Rider

10.00 WKRP Cincinnati

10.30 Mary Tyler Moore

11.00 Bob Newhart Show

12.00 Lou Grant