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Much-anticipated business channel is on air

Rupert Murdoch's business channel started Monday as if it had been on the air for 10 years.

The Fox Business Network went live as planned at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT). It had closely guarded its lineup of shows, but there were no major surprises.

"They went on the air, played it straight and people were giving information whenever I tuned in - that's about as successful as you can be on your first day," said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University.

The News Corp. property promises to "demystify" business news for average investors. Main competitor CNBC, owned by General Electric Co., is aimed more at a sophisticated Wall Street audience.

The new network started with a standard morning program called "Fox Business Morning," recapping the night's news and major sports headlines before turning an eye toward the day's events such as major corporate earnings reports.

That gave way to a program focused on corporate and economic news ahead of the stock markets' opening bells. Subsequent shows revolved around regular reports from the New York Stock Exchange, tracking share-price movements and the Dow Jones industrials average.

"Not everything was perfect, but as a first day, I'll take it," said Kevin Magee, Fox News executive vice president in charge of the new network.

Alexis Glick, vice president of business news and co-host of the premarket show "Money for Breakfast," best exemplified the channel's goal of reaching out to Main Street.

Shortly after ringing the opening bell on the Nasdaq Stock Market along with Magee, she held a humorous interview with "Naked Cowboy" Robert Burck, the scantily clad, guitar-strumming street performer who entertains tourists in Times Square.

"They said they wanted to entertain people and I think they're succeeding," said Porter Bibb, a managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners, a financier of media businesses.

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