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Fall TV Preview: Bio

Bio isn't just a channel that explores the lives of celebrities and presidents -
August 1, 2008

Bio isn’t just a channel that explores the lives of celebrities and presidents – it’s also about ordinary people who lead extraordinary lives. Consider the channel’s decision to bring back another season of I Survived…, a show first launched earlier this year. The series’ first-person storytelling has everyday folk describing their incredible stories of survival from near-death experiences, and proves Bio’s subjects don’t have to work in Hollywood or the White House.

While Bio has traditionally been more of an acquisitions-based network, that’s changed radically this year, says Robert Sharenow, AETN’s SVP of non-fiction and alternative programming. Now that the A&E development and production team oversees Bio, there’s been a significant increase in the production budget. For instance, seven new original series have been commissioned for 2008/09, a number that Sharenow says has quadrupled compared to the amount of original production last year.

He leaves producers with some programming food for thought: ‘Truth is always more engaging and entertaining than fiction and that’s our driving principle. Whether it’s a celebrity story or an ordinary person’s tale of survival, [our shows] always have to fit those criteria – we always want to find stories that are almost too incredible to be true, but they are.’

Where it airs: Available nationally in the US in more than 47 million households
Hours on air: 22 hours a day (repeats daytime once and primetime once)
Website: www.biography.com
Where to send pitches: Jessica Morgan, manager of non-fiction and alternative programming, A&E Television Networks and Bio
Upcoming shows to watch for: Shatner’s Raw Nerve, a talk show starring William Shatner; the new season of I Survived…; new episodes of Biography year round

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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