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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Live TV revived for Sky viewers
News Bunny outside Live TV headquarters, east London
The station that brought the world News Bunny is back
Tabloid-style TV channel Live TV has made a comeback - four years after being taken off air.

The station behind such creations as News Bunny, topless darts and weather forecasts in Norwegian was relaunched on satellite platform Sky Digital on Monday.

Live TV, formerly run by ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, existed for four years on cable TV until it was closed by owners Trinity Mirror in 1999.

Its new owners say it will combine old favourites with new items such as Bunny Bulletin - News Bunny's own show.

We don't intend to mess with the formula
Pete Richards, Live TV
The revived Live TV is a joint venture involving former directors of the channel who bought the rights to library footage, and telecoms company Eckoh Technologies.

It will go out to BSkyB's estimated 6.7 million subscribers 24 hours a day on channel 274.

Managing director Pete Richards said there was a gap in the market for the station's "unique, tongue-in-cheek" content.

"We don't see we have got many competitors for what Live TV does," he told BBC News Online.

'Holy grail'

It was aimed mainly, though not specifically, at the 16-34-year-old male viewer - the "holy grail" of advertisers, said Mr Richards.

"We don't intend to mess with the formula," he said.

He declined to discuss the size of the investment but said the company was confident of turning a profit.

Live TV became notorious for its trashy yet innovative style of programming - most famously involving the giant rabbit that appeared during news broadcasts.

It also featured such TV firsts as dwarves bouncing on trampolines and a female City tipster who shed her clothes as she read out share prices.

At its peak, said Mr Richards, it was watched by about 650,000 viewers a day - almost a third of adult viewers in cable homes.

He said it had folded only because of its former owners' business strategy rather than due to poor ratings.

But media analyst Ian Campbell warned that it might have to fight hard to survive.

"It's strange that it seems to be offering all the old "faves" with little new or original," said Mr Campbell, of Lovelacemedia.

"In a multi-channel world that is far more competitive than in the days of the old Live TV, it will have to find a sustainable niche - and that will only come through creative innovation."




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