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)
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