Starz Shakes up Encore Networks in Appeal to Black, Latino, Baby Boomer Viewers

Starz will also appeal to horror fans with late-night programming block

Starz is reaching out to Latino, African American and other audiences with a pair of new networks and other shifts in its programming, the company said Monday.

Encore Black, which is replacing Starz’s Encore Drama, will air a combination of commercial-free movies, comedy specials and TV series such as “What’s Happening!!” “Diff’rent Strokes” and “227.”

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The network will launch next month with special programming revolving around “Snakes on a Plane” star Samuel L. Jackson, whose films “Unbreakable,” “Losing Isaiah,” “Freedomland” and “One Eight Seven” will be aired.

Starz’s Spanish-language network Encore Espanol, meanwhile, will be shifted to a lower tier, where it will be made available to distributors as part of their lower-cost, Spanish-language cable networks.

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In addition, Starz is launching Encore Classic, which will replace Encore Love and is targeted to Baby Boomers. In addition to running movie titles from Encore’s library, Classic will run TV series such as “Murphy Brown,” “Magnum, P.I.” and “Night Court.”

Finally, for fans of the televised gore, Encore Suspense will run the horror block “The Graveyard Shift,” which will air horror titles including “Night of the Living Dead,” “The Fly,” “The Amityville Horror” and “Resident Evil: Retribution,” beginning in December.

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“The new and improved Encore family of channels and services are aligned to super-serve its many constituent demographic groups” David Baldwin, executive vice president of program planning for Starz said of the shakeup. “Growth in Latino and Boomer populations and continued over-indexing in TV usage by African-American audiences created marketplace opportunities for us to add incremental consumer value to the Encore services.  Along with the new nightly horror block, these enhancements will benefit Encore subscribers for years ahead.  Encore truly is ‘Playing Favorites’ with these improvements to the channels and the Encore on Demand and Encore Play services.”