International cable channel Reality TV is coming to the United States, but it is not
necessarily reality TV as Americans know it.
The network, backed by global broadcaster and distributor Zone Vision Group,
will offer nonscripted programming that sounds more like The Learning Channel and Discovery Channel than
Survivor or Big Brother.
Zone Vision chairman Chris Wronski described the channel's shows as
"unscripted, caught-on-camera programming. Anything from a maternity ward to
funny home videos."
So far, Reality TV -- which will debut in the United States later this year -- has a
carriage deal with EchoStar Communications Corp. to be carried on its Dish Network
"America's Top 150" package.
Internationally, the channel reaches 35 million homes and has amassed a
library of more than 2,000 hours.
The U.S. network plans to use some of that library fare -- about 50% -- and
also create original U.S.-based productions.
While start-up channels typically require about $100 million to get off the
ground, Wronski said Reality TV's established international base lowers its
costs considerably, into the "tens of millions of dollars."
He expects a return on investment within three years.