Fall TV Preview: History

You can't talk about A&E Television Networks' History channel these days without mentioning Ice Road Truckers. But the channel is still on the hunt for 'hardcore history.'
August 27, 2008

You can’t talk about A&E Television Networks’ History channel these days without mentioning Ice Road Truckers. As History SVP of development and programming David McKillop says, the recent opening performance of the series’ second season reached a total of almost four million viewers and close to 2.3 million viewers in the channel’s demo – 25- to 54-year-old upscale men. This could be thanks to the new path the show has taken – literally. This season sees the drivers on a different road (it’s out over the open ocean) with a different set of driving rules. ‘We have a simple rule: when a show comes back, you’ve got to do it bigger and better,’ says McKillop.

There won’t be any surprises in terms of genre in the channel’s new fall shows – it’s still ‘history all the time – hardcore history,’ says McKillop. ‘In many ways that’s what makes our brand so strong: it’s clearly definable, it’s clearly understood.’

For producers pitching History (95% of its content is produced with indies), don’t get don’t get caught up in perfecting your idea before approaching the channel. If you’ve got a great idea, but you’re unsure about it, McKillop ensures History’s programmers partner closely with producers: ‘Our programmers’ job is to help producers define their program to make it work under the History brand, and that’s our greatest strength.’

Where it airs: throughout the US and in more than 140 countries worldwide
How many people it airs to: in the US it reaches more than 95 million subscribers
Hours on air: 24/7, with primetime programming repeating post-midnight
Non-fiction programmer: David McKillop, SVP of development and programming, History
Where to send pitches: David McKillop, SVP of development and programming, History
Shows to watch for this fall: Seven new series set to premiere this year and next, including Extreme Trains (Tiger Aspect Productions); Evolve (Optomen Productions); The Works (Powderhouse Productions); Expedition: Stanley and Livingstone (Mark Burnett Productions); as well as new specials Einstein (Left Right Entertainment) and The Brain (Darlow Smithson)

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.