This was probably not a good week for Mark Cuban, the billionaire NBA team owner who also owns HDNet, his pet media project for much of the past decade. Time Warner Cable said this week it will stop offering both of Cuban's cable venues — HDNet and HDNet Movies — on all its systems nationwide by the end of this month.
The action by TWC comes despite the fact that HDNet was one of the earliest and most energized venues for high-definition content and quality. Cuban remains among HD's most vocal proponents. HDNet's problem early on was securing enough channel assignments on enough local systems to give it some type of footprint among the growing legion of other HD fare that has come along in recent years. It also is a premium (pay extra) service.
HDNet did garner its share of publicity for some of its eclectic programming, which may not have helped it since it doesn't fit neatly into any specific genre. Its typical content ranges from pro wrestling to live coverage of NASA rocket launches to original content. A few years ago, Cuban hired iconic newsman Dan Rather to produce and host his own news magazine, which remains in production today.
HDNet (nor anyone else, to our knowledge) has never released figures on its viewership, which Cuban himself has always speculated is in the millions.
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