Interview with TechTV

by Isaac Alexander,

Anime News Network has completed an interview with TechTV's Director of Programming Development Laura Civiello. Laura Civiello is responsible for acquiring television programming, developing co-production relationships and commissioning original production.

ANN: What led you to chose to start running anime on your network? Also, what led you to decide to start a block of anime programming, rather than just one show?

Laura: There are a lot of ways of presenting tech content, from news magazines to product reviews to help and how-to. But technology can also inform the content of a show without having to be the center of it. TechTV can be the filter for choosing new programming. That's true of our decision to air anime. For example, there are any number of anime series and movies that explore the conflict and/or cooperation between humans and machines. That kind of content works for us. Also, we had a hunch that the audience tuning in to Screen Savers, Extended Play, Fresh Gear, etc. is also buying anime, so it made sense to try it out.

As for the scheduling, we wanted to air anime a couple of ways to find out what works best. So we're going to show anime every night
Monday through Thursday from 1:00am-1:30am ET/10:00pm-10:30pm PT
and then as a block on Friday night from 11:00pm-3:00am ET/8:00pm-12:00am.

ANN: Have you watched many anime series yourself?

Laura: As a result of this process, yes. But the first step for me was to turn to our in house team of anime fans and have them come up with a long (50 plus titles)of series and movies that could potentially work on the network. Then I started watching them and held screening meetings with the team before making the final selection.

ANN: How did you come up with the programming block title "Anime Unleashed"?

Laura: Again, worked with the anime team and our marketing department to come up with a name that would appeal to the anime fan and capture the energy of the genre.

ANN: Are the anime series Serial Experiments: Lain, Crest of the Stars, and Betterman going to beyour intial shows you will be premiering Dec.30th?

Laura: Here's our titles from the latest press release.

Crest of the Stars
Serial Experiments Lain
Silent Mobius

ANN: What type of anime titles (specific genre?) will you be premiering in the future if Anime Unleashed is successful?

Laura: I'd like to see which of our series the audience responds to and take it from there. That said, I think we'd be open to exploring a number of genres, making sure we go after the series with strong story lines and compelling visuals.

ANN: Will Anime Unleashed have it's own website like Cartoon Network has for Toonami, their action/anime block? Also, will it include downloads of your commercials you started running on Thanksgiving?

Laura: Yes. It will have its own site.
Though it will start out somewhat more modestly than Toonami, we've got some interesting things planned for our online audience.

ANN: How do you plan to promote the anime programming on your network? For example, will you be doing a major advertising campaign in various publications, or other cable networks and websites

Laura: There will be TechTV promos on air and the website. Possibly some cross channel spots on other networks.

ANN: How can the public get involved with commenting about your new programming?

Laura: Great place to join the dialog is on our message boards in the Interact area of our website. There are threads for individual programs (anime will have one too)as well as a board for general programming comments.

ANN: Will there be an official press release forthcoming about this?

Laura: Anime Unleashed will be announced officially at The Television Critics Tour in Los Angeles on January 6.

ANN: Since you're playing Thunderbirds right now, any thoughts on playing the anime series based off Thunderbirds called "Thunderbirds 2086"?

Laura: Not yet.

ANN: Why was the news broken about anime programming being added to TechTV on your show the "Screen Savers"?

Laura: Because it's live and daily, Screen Savers is a great, informal way to get the word out. Also, it was great to have Morgan mention it because she's such a fan of anime.

ANN: This past summer, Extended Play hosted a show from Anime Expo in Long Beach California. Will we see more coverage of anime conventions in future issues?

Laura: Could be. Cross your fingers Anime Unleashed is as successful as we hope!

ANN would like to thank Catherine Brett the Public Relations Coordinator for TechTV for arranging this interview.

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