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|Launched||1 January 1993|
|Closed||22 January 2002|
|Network||MIBC (Moscow Independent Broadcasting Corporation)|
|Owned by||Boris Berezovsky (85% stake)
Lukoil-Garant (15% stake)
|Picture format||4:3 (576i, SDTV)|
|Replaced by||NTV Plus Sport, TVS|
|Moscow & Moscow Oblast||6|
TV-6 (Russian: ТВ-6) was one of the first commercial television stations in Russia. It began broadcasting in 1993, and was closed on 22 January 2002. Its frequency has eventually passed to Sport TV.
The channel was founded in 1992, by the holding of VID company. It started broadcasting on 1 January 1993. Until 1994 TV-6 shared time with a minor channel "North Crown" (Северная корона), which was closed a year later.
It was originally an entertainment channel which broadcast talk shows, cartoons, music and series. TV 6 was the first in Russia to air foreign sci-fi series such as Babylon 5, Lexx, First Wave, as well as sitcoms Grace Under Fire and 3rd Rock from the Sun. Until 1996 TV-6 aired no news.
In 1999, 75% of TV6's stock was sold to media oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Channel's policies gradually changed from entertainment to political journalism. In April 2001, after NTV channel was bought by the government gas monopoly Gazprom, several prominent NTV journalists, including Yevgeny Kiselyov, and other employees left to join to TV-6 staff.
After the change of staff Lukoil in May 2001 started the court battle over bankruptcy which the station lost on January 11, 2002, and was put into liquidation unanimously by 14 judges sitting in the supreme arbitration court, overturning a December 29, 2001 lower appeal court decision reviving the channel and ordering a new hearing of the bankruptcy application. Two lower arbitration courts had decided against the network last in the fall of 2001.
An arm of the partly state owned oil company Lukoil, which owns 15% of TV-6, filed the bankruptcy proceedings in 2001. Lukoil used a law that grants shareholders the right to dissolve a company if its net worth falls below a certain level for two years. TV6 stated that its net worth plunged in 1998 but rebounded last year, when the lawsuit was filed, and in 2002 exceeded the legal level. Under a new law which came into force on January 1, 2002, a minority shareholder such as Lukoil can no longer apply for a company to be declared bankrupt. But Lukoil argued that its appeal against the appellate court was valid because the ruling was granted three days before the law came into effect.
The electricity was shut off just after midnight, Tuesday, 22 January 2002, in the middle of "Nightingale's Night" program, while a presenter was singing folk ballads with his guest. Within hours of TV6's closure, the station's frequency was allotted to an all-sports station which promised of live coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Some of both Russian and international critics viewed TV-6 closure to be organized by Russian government, due to Berezovsky's opposition to Vladimir Putin, and thus violating the freedom of speech. US state department representative Richard Boucher responded by stating:
"There's a strong appearance of political pressure in the judicial process against the independent media. Press freedom and the rule of law can be best served by keeping TV-6 on the air."