International cable channel Reality TV is launching in the U.S., but its offerings aren't what most American viewers probably consider reality. The channel, backed by global broadcaster and distributor Zone Vision Group, offers non-scripted programming more like TLC's Trauma: Life in the ER than invented reality contests like Survivor.
Zone Vision Chairman Chris Wronski says the shows are "unscripted, caught-on-camera programming—anything from a maternity ward to funny home videos."
So far, Reality TV—set to debut later this year—has a deal to be carried on EchoStar's widely distributed Dish Network America's Top 150 package.
Internationally, the channel reaches 35 million homes and has a library of more than 2,000 hours. The U.S. network plans to use some of that—about 50%—as well as original U.S.-based productions.
Although startup channels typically require about $100 million, Wronski says Reality TV's international base lowers its costs into the "tens of millions of dollars." He expects return on investment within three years. The net will be advertiser-supported.
In daytime, Reality TV will program for female viewers with lighter fare and, in prime, will target younger male viewers with high-adrenaline documentary-style shows on police units, emergency medical units and rescue teams.