Discovery Communications officially rebranded FitTV into Discovery Fit & Health on February 1, with a new on-air look and logo. The new network combines the best of FitTV and Discovery Health, the latter which was transitioned into the Oprah Winfrey Network on January 1.
Laura Michalchyshyn, president and GM of Discovery Fit & Health and Planet Green, tells realscreen that as the launch of OWN was approaching, “there was still some very strong viewer audience interest and loyal engaged viewers who were very curious and vocal about Health’s programming,” she says.
“We realized that there is a real opportunity to take the best from what was Discovery Health and the best of what is Discovery Fit – we have a platform that is in approximately 50 million homes in the U.S. We decided it would be a strategic opportunity to take that platform, which is primarily [about] workout, exercise and fitness, ‘super charge’ the two and bring them together.”
Michalchyshyn says that the female-skewing Discovery Fit & Health will focus on storytelling that chronicles the human experience, from the cradle to the grave.
“This network is about emotion, whether it’s amazing medical stories, forensic stories, emergency room trauma dramas or pregnancy programming. It’s also about life transitions and how we move from those cycles,” says Michalchyshyn.
The new network will air a Fit programming block from 6 to 9 a.m., with exercise content such as Dance & Be Fit and Namaste Yoga. The 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. content will focus on babies, parenting and family-oriented programming, and from noon on, the content will come from Discovery Health stunts and stacks, like ‘Baby Week,’ which will now be called ‘Baby Madness.’
Michalchyshyn says that the new few months will be very intensive for development. Producers should know what was working previously on Discovery Health and concentrate on engaging characters and storytelling, Stories about transformation and extreme life conditions work well for the net.
Fit & Health is also interested in coproduction, as well as pre-licensing and acquiring programming that has never been seen in the U.S. before.