It’s been a year and a half since Discovery rebranded its Discovery Times Channel as Investigation Discovery, a destination for factual crime and mystery content. Deborah Myers, GM of Science Channel and EVP programming Discovery Emerging Networks spoke with realscreen about the plans for the station’s fall season.
Discovery is proud of its baby. One of the newest rebrands at the company, Investigation Discovery (ID) has one of the highest engagement rates in cable, with its core audience watching for 90 minutes at a time, says Myers. In addition, the channel launched with 16 new series in its first year and became the fastest growing network among women 25 to 54. Surprising that a channel about crime and investigation would lure a female audience, but Myers thinks it makes sense. ‘When I first came over [to the channel] I was shocked by that too, but when you think about it don’t we love stories more than anybody else and don’t we love to figure people out?’ she says.
The strategy for the fourth quarter at ID, according to Myers, is to continue the evolution of the channel by adding more people and personalities to the network. The highest-rating original series for ID is The Shift which follows a team of homicide detectives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department as they investigate murders. After the first season’s success the network ordered a second season from producer Lucky Rabbit and season two will debut September 22.
The big new face for the channel, which Myers believes will become a staple of ID, is Paula Zahn and her series On the Case with Paula Zahn. The series will follow Zahn as she goes out in the field, investigating behind the scenes of major mysteries and talking to key people who are close to these cases but may never have spoken publicly before. With this new series, making its debut October 18, Zahn is exclusive to ID.
Former Hallmark Channel head Henry Schleiff will join the Discovery team as president and GM of Investigation Discovery on the first of August, and while he has yet to start his work at the company, Myers doesn’t expect any big changes when he comes on board. ‘He has been a total fan of where we’re going,’ says Myers, who also added that she’s excited to have Schleiff joining the team because of his background in true crime programming, having been the chairman and CEO of Court TV (now truTV). ‘I’m sure he’ll have ideas, but when you look at the success rate of where we’re going, I can’t imagine any huge sweeping changes. But we’re excited to see him take it to the next level.’
Look for the July-August issue of realscreen which includes a fall preview section featuring a number of U.S. broadcasters and their plans for Q4 2009.