France's first gay TV station takes to air

26th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 26 (AFP) - France's first gay and lesbian television station went on the air Monday, ready to beam a steady diet of homosexual porn, daily repeats of "Wonder Woman" and English language comedies into subscribers' homes.

PARIS, Oct 26 (AFP) - France's first gay and lesbian television station went on the air Monday, ready to beam a steady diet of homosexual porn, daily repeats of "Wonder Woman" and English language comedies into subscribers' homes.

Pink TV, as the channel jointly financed by France's main existing commercial networks is known, hopes to ride on a wave of acceptance for the gay lifestyle in Europe and elsewhere.

More than 2,500 guests, including personalities from the world of films, television, sports and politics, attended the launch party opposite the Eiffel Tower at Paris' Palais de Chaillot museum, illuminated in pink inside and out for the occasion.

The launch "marks an evolution in France, proving that people are ready to accept this type of channel," former prime minister and presidential hopeful Laurent Fabius, a socialist, said at the party.

Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, a member of President Jacques Chirac's conservative UMP party, said PinkTV should offer "a big space of freedom and culture to allow all people to live freely and respect others".

One of the biggest names in women's tennis, Amelie Mauresmo, openly gay Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe and actresses Line Renaud - the party host -, Claudia Cardinale and Nathalie Baye were among the many guests, some of them wearing fancy dresses.

In a recorded message shown on a large screen British singer Elton John wished the network well and sang a few lines from gay anthem "La vie en rose".

The station, available via satellite or cable for EUR 9 (USD 12) a month, follows the launch of similar ventures in Italy and Canada over the past three years, and comes just five months ahead of yet another such channel in the United States.

Long-standing tolerance in Paris - reinforced under socialist mayor Delanoe -and the recent court approval for France's first homosexual family headed by two lesbians, along with a debate over gay marriages triggered by the June wedding of two men, have all convinced Pink TV's backers the time is right for their niche offering.

Underlining its readiness to make waves, the station published an ad using a picture of former leaders Francois Mitterrand of France and Helmut Kohl of Germany walking hand-in-hand with the tag "There's not only sex in the life of a couple".

But sex plays a big part in Pink TV's programming schedule. Four times a week after midnight - on Tuesdays and weekends - the station will screen gay porn movies, starting with "Out of Athens" and later including lesbian features such as "Madame and Eve".

The first broadcast Monday evening was a 45-minute magazine programme about gay lifestyle and culture.

"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 the channel's head, Pascal Houzelot. "I chose the Palais de Chaillot (as a venue) because it is dedicated to human rights," he added.

Houzelot said he had dedicated the evening to those "homosexuals who were deported to (Nazi) concentration camps", to Alexander the Great and Julius Cesar, to French writer Marcel Proust, and to Hollywood icons Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo.

The chief executive - who spent time working for Chirac before the latter became president, and who was an advisor to leading commercial network TF1 - has said the station does not want to be a "ghetto" outlet for homosexuals only.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article