Pope Francis Gets His Own Cable Channel

It will be all Pope Francis all the time when the Catholic pontiff makes his first visit to the United States. Cable giant Time Warner Cable has announced it will create a special channel dedicated exclusively to Pope Francis when he visits.

The New York Times reports that major broadcast and cable news channels are already planning extensive coverage of Pope Francis when he visits New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. His speeches and appearances will be broadcast live, in whole or in part, according to the paper.

Time Warner Cable is going a step further, the New York Times reports. The cable provider has announced that Papal Visit 2015 will run round the clock offering coverage of every aspect of the visit starting with a mass by Pope Francis in Havana on September 20 and continuing until Pope Francis departs Philadelphia on September 27.

The one-week run of channel Papal Visit 2015 will be broadcast on channel 199 in New York and about a dozen other markets around the country, the New York Times reports.

According to the New York Daily News, the Pope Francis channel will reach an estimated 15 million households. The Daily News also reports that the channel will be available via Time Warner Cable’s new app.

Steve Paulus, Time Warner Cable’s senior vice president for news, told the New York Times that the cable provider wants to meet the demand of viewers who desire to see everything Pope Francis does during his visit, while having the flexibility to cover its other news obligations.

“The issue with the papal visit is that he does so many events — some of them include whole Catholic Masses,” Paulus said, adding that when Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, came to New York in 2008 some viewers complained about coverage of “people just going up to get communion.”

“At a certain point, when you’re a news channel, you still want to be giving weather on the 1s and providing the coverage people want,” Paulus said.

The New York Times also reports that EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network, is planning to focus heavily on Pope Francis during his visit.

“This is our thing,” said Michelle Johnson, a spokeswoman for EWTN. “We usually go on the air before it starts to give previews and then we stay on to talk about what happened. And we understand the nuances. We have theological people, so if he says something, you’ll know what he meant.”

[Photo by Tânia Rêgo via Agência Brasil]