The prospect of Heat TV has been long mooted, prompting almost as much speculation among media types as the celebrity gossip magazine devotes to Cheryl Cole’s love life.
Now the Bauer Media title is finally going to transfer to the small screen with a “celebrity news and music TV channel” to be launched by the publisher’s joint venture with Channel 4, Box TV.
Heat TV will launch on 3 July. Music videos will run alongside news stories and links to social networks, with viewers invited to comment on Twitter.
The new venture will replace one of Box TV’s existing seven-strong stable of channels, but it has not confirmed which one. It broadcasts Kiss, 4Music, Kerrang!, The Box, Magic, Smash Hits and Q.
The TV station joins Heat Radio, a digital station that launched in 2003. A basic non-stop music service, presenters and showbiz news were added to the mix in 2007.
Heat TV, which will broadcast on Sky and Virgin Media, will feature “Heat’s huge news”, celebrity guests and “takeovers” of its playlist.
It will also feature “original Heat formats and features following the lives of Heat’s hottest pop stars told through their music, exclusive Heat TV access and hot news archive footage”, Bauer said on Wednesday.
Heat TV will also have the exclusive premiere of Box TV’s biography series, Real Stories, and the “Heatometer”, its pick of the 20 biggest music videos voiced by Heat editor Lucie Cave.
Cave said: “The heat brand has defined celebrity culture for over 10 years in print, online and on the radio. We’ve amused, delighted and, yes, enlightened ‘the heat generation’ in every way but one: TV. So now we’re taking that over too with a 24/7 mix of celeb news as it happens, amazing music, unparalleled access and entertainment.”
Heat magazine, which launched in 2000, was the 10th-ranked title in the women’s weekly sector in the second half of last year, with sales of 325,370 down 12% year on year.
Box TV managing director Gidon Katz described Heat as an “iconic and hugely popular brand”.
Heat Radio had 716,000 average weekly listeners in the first three months of this year, up nearly 15% on the start of 2011.
It is one of the more popular digital radio stations but not among the top tier which includes BBC Radio 6 Music, with 1.45 million, and sister Bauer Media station The Hits, with 1.08 million.