Adding Outlaws, Feuds to Heroes Lineup

Nearly one year after its rebranding, the American Heroes Channel is reaching a predominately male audience through dramatic and informative docuseries on key personalities and events in U.S. history.

Unlike Discovery Communications-owned sibling Destination America, which wraps its Americana-themed content around several female-targeted genres like food and travel, AHC uses the lens of past seminal moments, personalities and events in U.S. history, executive vice president and general manager told Multichannel News prior to the network’s upfront presentation this week. The network, which rebranded from Military Channel in March 2014, does so through action-heavy re-enactments and compelling storylines, he said.

The channel’s 2014 primetime ratings fell well short of competing networks like History, but AHC did post its best performances in primetime (226,000 viewers) and total-day (151,000 viewers), per Nielsen.

New projects on AHC’s slate include What History Forgot, in which history buff Joe Moniaci uncovers little-known back stories of famous people or incidents; American Empire, about American business titans such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie; Blood Feuds, about iconic American feuds; and Natural Born Outlaws, about desperadoes and the epic manhunts that would eventually bring them down.

In 2016, look for one series based on the Civil War and another about famous lawmen of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and specials on the 1960s space race and the American cowboy.

Though AHC shows aren’t scripted, the re-enactments in most of its originals often rival the action and intensity of fictional content — with the added bonus of being true to history, Bennett said.

“When you look at a show like Gunslingers, the re-enactment parts would stand up production-wise to a cable scripted series, but what true fans of the genre crave is factual information,” he said. “We try to tell these stories in a modern, contemporary style focusing on the impactful stories that illustrate the historical context of the stories that we know so well.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.