Ovation, whose 2013 got off to an inauspicious start when it was dropped from Time Warner Cable, on Thursday unveiled a new tagline ("art everywhere") and a slate of nine new originals, most of them produced by new in-house entity Ovation Studios.
During an upfront breakfast presentation at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (ironically located, execs noted, inside Time Warner Center), the independently owned arts network made the case for why it projects its current level of carriage in 46 million Nielsen-rated U.S. homes to hit 50 million by year-end.
The centerpiece of the network's growth strategy is a roughly fivefold increase in the amount of originally produced programming to 236 hours from 46 hours a year ago. The engine of that content is Ovation Studios, a new facility at the company's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif.
Robert Weiss, chief creative officer, said Ovation is the sole American network focused entirely on arts programming and would continue to mine the space "between ballet and Honey Boo-Boo."
Weiss showed footage from five of the nine 2013 originals, with the rest to be announced next month. They include The Kuhnert Chronicles, The Art Of ..., Culture Pop, Cinema Confidential and The Young Doctor's Notebook. The last is a U.S. pickup of a BBC show produced by and starring Jon Hamm. Daniel Radcliffe also stars.
Development titles for 2014-15, including The Mentor (about the teachers who set celebrities on their successful path), Pick-Up Artists (about dumpster-divers) and Prodigies (about budding cultural stars).
Ovation reported no change in the Time Warner Cable relationship, but Weiss said distribution execs are in regular conversations with TWC about what he called a "bad business decision."
He added, "I am optimistic and hopeful that when our new programming starts populating our network in June and July that heads turn in a good way. The proof is in the content."