Channel Looks to Make History


As it turns 10 this year, The History Channel is hoping to hang on to its coveted male demo, while broadening its appeal with series and specials on everything from weird historical phenomena to the origin of everyday objects to the "psychoses" of Abraham Lincoln.

The channel hopes to lure advertisers with integrated marketing opportunities (program plugs)  and boasts improved production and animation techniques on many of the eight new series and 11 “marquee events” it has slated for 2005-6.

The network, which was scheduled to pitch its new lineup to media buyers Thursday night (4/21), had more than 90 advertisers last year and is on track to do the same this year, says the network’s President Dan Davids. “We’re coming into this year’s upfront in a great position to help all of our advertising clients. We’re more upscale than Discovery, have higher 25-54 delivery than the news networks, and a higher male concentration than ESPN,” he said.

New Weekly Series

*Man, Moment, Machine (M3) – 14-episode, one-hour show for 3Q 2005 hosted by Navy fighter pilot Hunter Ellis relives historical interactions between leaders, time and technology.

*Weird U.S. – 14-episode, one-hour show for 3Q 2005 travels the country each week documenting bizarre historical stories based on a Mark Sceurman/Mark Moran book by the same name.

*Shootout! – 13-episode, one-hour show for 3Q 2005 uses CGI animation to recreate historical shootouts from both perspectives.

*True Heroes – 10-episode, one-hour show for 4Q 2005 chronicles individuals and teams who stood out in times of danger from WWI to the present.

*Declassified – 14-episode, one hour show for 1Q 2006 that sets archival footage from secret organizations to a rock beat to tell untold tales of modern history.

*Where Did It Come From? – 13-episode, one-hour show for 2Q 2006 follows ex-ABC News science correspondent Michael Guillen as he uncovers historical origins of everyday objects.

*The American Revolution – 13-episode, one-hour show for 3Q 2006 tells the personal and political stories of characters involved with the country’s birth.

*Pacific: The Lost Evidence – 8-episode, one-hour show for 3Q 2006 uses never-seen aerial photos to chronicle key battles from the Allied and Japanese perspective.

Marquee Events

The network promises new animation, production, and shooting techniques for specials this year.

*Rome: Engineering An Empire – two-hour 3Q 2005 special uses CGI animation to explore the building of Rome (which, if memory serves, did not happen in a day).

*The Crusades: Crescent & The Cross – four-hour 4Q 2005 special uses first-person dramatized accounts from Christian and Muslim chroniclers, recreations, and on-location shooting to chronicle the first three crusades from the perspectives of both crescent and cross.

*DaVinci and the Code He Lived By – two-hour 4Q 2005 special explores the life and mind of the ultimate Renaissance man (and with a name that, not coincidentally, invokes the run-away best-seller).

*Lincoln – two-hour 1Q 2006 special explores the 16th president’s struggles with depression spurred by personal tragedies.

*The Plague – two-hour 1Q 2006 special uses diaries, letters and manuscripts to recreate personal crises during the Black Death (1330-1350).

*First Emperor – four-hour 2Q 2006 special chronicles Chin Shihuang, who commanded an army that conquered China.

*Ottoman Empire – two-hour 3Q 2006 special uncovers the armies, religion, art and more from the little-known empire.

*Washington the Warrior – three-hour 3Q 2006 special examines events the first president’s military legacy.