A new premium cable channel looking to launch will charge subscribers for hip-hop music videos and programming without censoring nudity or profanity. Hype TV, an acronym for Hot Young People's Enterta

A new premium cable channel looking to launch will charge subscribers for hip-hop music videos and programming without censoring nudity or profanity. Hype TV, an acronym for Hot Young People's Entertainment, is in introductory discussions with major cable operators to charge a fee of $3-$5 per month.

The commercial-free channel would target viewers 18-34 who would see raunchier versions of the heavily edited fare commonly seen on MTV or BET, with an aim to launch in fourth-quarter 2004.

"To launch it as a channel on basic cable would water it down," said Peter Griffith, founder of Hype and former head of programming at video-on-demand service Diva Systems and hip-hop Web site Hookt.com. "Our focus here is to really give the audience the programming they purchase in the music stores, with explicit lyrics."

But Griffith contends that Hype programming will not be confined to risque music videos. The network will produce such original programming as comedy specials and reality series as well as more civic-minded fare about social activism in the hip-hop community.

Griffith has tapped Tracy Lawrence, former general manager of Fox Family Channel, to serve as president.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print