EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Fit & Health Orders 'Facing Trauma' to Series - Broadcasting & Cable

EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Fit & Health Orders 'Facing Trauma' to Series

Pick-up part of network's strategy to move toward "transformative" programming
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Discovery Fit & Health has ordered a full season of
docu-series Facing Trauma as part of the network's continuing rebranding effort
that began last January.

Facing Trauma aired as a back-door pilot last
February and was the network's highest rated original telecast since its
launch. An additional five episodes will premiere in the fourth quarter of 2011
(six episodes is considered a full season at DFH).

The series, from Park Slope Productions, follows the work
of Dr. Andrew Jacono, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who serves
victims of domestic violence, violent crime and accidents. Each one-hour
episode of Facing Trauma will chronicle the stories of two disfigured
women as they work to rebuild their lives, physically and emotionally, with
help from Jacono's team and counseling sessions with a psychiatrist.

The addition of clinical psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor to
the series cast (Taylor did not appear in the pilot) is part of the network's
desire to expand beyond straight medical series that were a hallmark of
predecessor Discovery Health to shows with higher emotional stakes.

"We will always have medical/surgical in our DNA, but we
are evolving into transformational programming," said Laura Michalchyshyn,
president and GM, Discovery Fit & Health, in an interview with B&C
Wednesday. "We're always attaching something more around story and character
now."

DFH launched on Feb. 1 as a rebranding of the exercise channel
FitTV with a mandate to incorporate the medical fare that had been featured on
Discovery Health (the channel that turned into OWN). Since then, it has sought
to complement existing series with "trauma drama" shows around topics like
families, relationships, sexuality and extreme parenting that appeal to its
target women 25-54 demo.

An example is the channel's upcoming Are You Fitter
than a Senior
, an adaptation of a British series that pits out-of-shape teens
against super-fit senior citizens in a competition-style format.

The goal with that series, Facing Trauma, and
others in development is to create long-running franchises for the relatively
young network.

"These will define the direction that DFH is going in,"
Michalchyshyn said.

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