With Grit and Escape heading into the upfront for the first time, its ad sales effort will be led by executive VP of ad sales Elverage Allen, who is also in charge of sales for Bounce TV. Jonathan Katz, who helped launch Bounce and is its COO, is CEO of Katz Broadcasting.
Escape, which is aimed at female viewers, will start producing original programming, with five true-crime series being created in partnership with Bellum Entertainment.
Escape also has acquired the rights to CNBC’s series American Greed from NBCUniversal and Corrupt Crimes from Bellum.
Katz Broadcasting says initial Nielsen numbers show both network Escape and Grit, aimed at male viewers, growing their viewership by double digits across all dayparts. In primetime Grit is averaging 301,000 viewers and Escape 123,000.
Jonathan Katz says that marketers have been advertising on Bounce TV, and he expects Allen to get them to sign up for Grit and Escape now that they have Nielsen ratings as well.
“Elverage and his team very successfully educated advertisers about the tremendous reach of Bounce and the powerful brand it has become. They are well-positioned to do the same for Grit and Escape,” Katz said.
“These are explosive viewership increases for networks that have only been on the air for less than two years,” said Allen. “Given the growing reach and focused demographic audiences each delivers, we think advertisers will quickly embrace Grit and Escape.”
Katz and Bellum plan to make more than 400 episodes of the five new series for Escape.
Here is how the companies describe the new shows:
• Lady Killers investigates cases of women who murder someone they intimately know. Behavioral experts and psychologists tell the story of how these loving relationships turned lethal.
• Murderous Affairs explores love affairs gone wrong and spouses driven to kill; stories that give a whole new meaning to the vow, “till death do us part." Every case features actual evidence, reenactments, and news footage of these lethal love affairs.
• It Takes A Killer looks at the world’s most notorious murders and takes viewers inside the minds and motives of the killers who committed them, led by experts from the FBI and leading homicide investigators.
• Deep Under Cover goes around the world for the stories of real-life undercover operations, hosted by Joe Pistone, the undercover FBI agent whose story was told in the motion picture Donnie Brasco.
• They Kill for It -- From crimes of passion to carefully planned murders, each episode covers one shocking murder case fueled by jealousy involving spouses, lovers, co-workers, family members, friends and neighbors.
Grit and Escape air on the secondary digital channels of local broadcast stations. Grit is in 101 million households. Escape is in 89 million households.
Katz Broadcasting also operates LAFF, a comedy channel that also airs on secondary digital broadcast channels.