Out.com Exclusive: Q Television Shuts Down Production
By Jeffrey Epstein
Q Television Network, one of the three gay cable channels (and the only one that features 100% original content) has shut down production for about two weeks, we have learned. The network, which features openly gay talent like Steve Kmetko, Reichen Lehmkuhl, and Sandra Bernhard, is still paying salaried employees, but all independent contractors (also called 1099 workers) were let go earlier this week, which has sent tongues wagging that this might leave just the Logo and here! networks to battle it out for gay audiences.
Not true, says Honey Labrador, who cohosts and produces Q's morning show Brunch and will be the anchor for the network's extensive coverage of the Gay Games this summer in Chicago. 'We are completely committed to what it is Q Television does and this is provide original, live programming,' Labrador tells us. 'So we are taking until the 13th of February to concentrate on our live programming. Some of it is retooling some of the shows as well as preparing ourselves for the unprecedented live coverage of the Gay Games.' Q owns the exclusive broadcast, radio, and internet rights to the Games.
Q's Executive Vice President of Network Operations, Carol Hinnant, adds that while the 1099 workers have been released, when production starts again on the 13th she expects them all to be rehired. 'We're hoping they'll all come back, but some of them may have taken other jobs by then,' she notes. 'But we can't afford to pay 1099 employees while we're in this planning session.'
Hinnant told us that effective this week Q is in more homes than ever, as they have added part of Massachusetts, Texas, and Virginia to their coverage areas. Plus, she points out, that while shows are not in production, the network has not gone dark. 'Everything is up and running,' she says. 'We prerecorded sessions that we're running this week. But we are a small staff with a large commitment coming up with the Games. We're even going behind the scenes of the Super Bowl to learn how to handle these big events. It's not easy being a stand-alone, start-up network, but I have confidence in what we're doing.'