GEM_logo Viewers expecting to see the debut of the Nine Network’s new digital channel GEM at midday yesterday (Friday) were left underwhelmed when the channel failed to appear.

When Nine originally announced GEM almost two weeks ago, it was always clear that the channel was to officially launch this Sunday but, in a move designed to take some of gloss away from new rival 7mate which launches today, the channel was to start screening programs from midday yesterday.

Instead, digital channel 90 (and channel 80 in regionals) continued as the high-definition simulcast of the main Nine Network channel.

The failure of GEM’s appearance is apparently due to “technical issues” although Nine’s lack of pre-launch promotion for the channel probably ensured that not many viewers were aware of its pending debut anyway.  This lack of any pre-launch promotion, or any advice to viewers that GEM is replacing Nine’s HD simulcast, plus yesterday’s non-appearance all add fuel to speculation that the channel appears to be little more than a rushed-to-air effort to catch up to Seven’s 7mate and following Ten’s announcement of its new entertainment channel, 11.

Nine has now re-scheduled GEM to debut at 6.00am Sunday – meaning that their attempt to spoil Seven’s launch of 7mate has failed.  Although whether viewers actually care who was first by the sake of a day or two is largely irrelevant as this attempted one-upmanship is really just about network egos and is just another chapter in the unending battle between Seven and Nine.

But assuming there are no further delays, GEM’s schedule for Sunday is as follows:

6am Movie: Kim
8.30 Movie: Spring And Port Wine
10.30 Movie: Thousands Cheer
1.05pm Movie: Life With Father
3.35 Movie: The Jazz Singer
6pm The New Adventures Of Old Christine
6.30 Wife Swap USA
7.30 Random Acts Of Kindness (new episode)
8.30 Movie: The Bodyguard
11.10 The New Adventures Of Old Christine (rpt from 6pm)
11.40pm Wife Swap USA (rpt from 6.30pm)

GEM will be available via the Nine Network (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth) on digital channel 90 and via regional networks WIN (Queensland, Southern NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania) and NBN (Northern NSW, Gold Coast) on digital channel 80, and from next month GEM and its counterpart GO! will be available on the Nine Network’s Darwin station.  A high-definition tuner, PVR or set-top-box will be required to view GEM.

GEM will also be available to Foxtel cable subscribers.

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