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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
FilmFour moves mainstream
Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects
Viewers want repeats of favourites like The Usual Suspects
Channel 4's pay-TV movie channel FilmFour is to drop its separate arthouse channel in favour of week-long "cinema-style"showings of more mainstream films.

FilmFour Extreme and FilmFour World, which shared a digital channel, are to be merged back into the core FilmFour channel, the company has confirmed.

On 5 May it is launching FilmFour Weekly, a schedule of three films playing at the same time each day for seven days.

FilmFour said it had acted on research which showed most viewers wanted more chances to see popular films in a simple schedule.

Viewers want greater frequency of great films they know and ultra simple consistent scheduling
Tom Sykes, FilmFour general manager
The first week's schedule of FilmFour Weekly - available to digital viewers on Sky and NTL - is made up of My Best Friend's Wedding, The Usual Suspects and Taxi Driver.

The films will be shown throughout the week at the same time - 2000, 2200 and 0000.

After a week the schedule will change to three different films.

Also playing in the first month will be East is East, Fargo, Monsoon Wedding, Withnail and I and Cruel Intentions.

FilmFour said dropping the Extreme and World strands - which shared a digital channel - did not indicate a lack of interest from viewers.

General manager Tom Sykes said the change was the result of listening to what subscribers wanted.

"Viewers want greater frequency of great films they know and ultra simple consistent scheduling," he said.

"It will be the easiest way to find the films you want to see."

FilmFour Extreme, which showed controversial and provocative films such as Natural Born Killers and Straw Dogs, will be relaunched next month as Extreme Zone at midnight on the main FilmFour pay channel.

International cinema such as Amelie and The Piano Teacher will also be shown on the main FilmFour channel.

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