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American Revolutionaries to Kick Off Ovation TV’s Relaunch

For its relaunch as a national service June 20, Ovation TV will debut a new programming format, sport a new graphic look and get ready to kick off its first major stunt, tied to the Fourth of July.

Ovation will mark its rollout on DirecTV with a programming event, American Revolutionaries, airing July 1-15, according to Kris Slava, the network’s senior vice president of programming and production.

The lineup for American Revolutionaries includes several world TV premieres, including Old, Weird America: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music and Meet Marlon Brando, a 1966 interview of the actor; as well as several U.S. TV premieres, such as Kurt Cobain: The Last Days,which includes witnesses who saw him the week before he died.

The network, promising to “Make Life Creative,” also plans to do original specials and series, Slava said. One original series is planned for this year, with several more to follow next year.

“They will be about bringing creativity into your life,” he said.

For the channel’s first tent-pole programming event, Ovation secured the rights to 25 film titles, which include several world television and U.S. television premieres. That 30 hours of content -- meant to celebrate American “innovators who changed what we mean by art” -- includes pioneers such as Jackson Pollack, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Martin Scorsese, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ella Fitzgerald, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Miller, Dizzy Gillespie, Woodie Guthrie and James Dean.

“We thought it was an excellent opportunity to frame what Ovation is going to be going forward,” Slava said. “All of these people were brilliant. They were all revolutionary. They were all ground-breaking.”

Ovation’s nightly schedule will focus on a particular art genre each evening: Monday will feature performance arts, such as dance and theater; Tuesday will feature stories of artists; Wednesday will center on visual arts, such as painting, sculpture and architecture and design; Thursday will feature contemporary music; and Friday film.

The network wants its programming to be accessible.

“The lines between fine art and everyday art, between high art and low art, are just down, and what we are going to do is going to reflect that,” Slava said.

With its debut on DirecTV, Ovation will expand its carriage to almost 15 million households, including 5 million cable homes.