Discovery Wings Drafted Into Military

Discovery Wings Channel will become the Military Channel Monday, Jan. 10, Discovery Communications Inc. said Tuesday.

DCI said Military’s revamped slate of series and specials is aimed at taking viewers “’behind the lines’ to tell the personal stories of servicemen and women and offer in-depth explorations of military technology, battlefield strategy, aviation and history.”

Among Military originals planned for early 2005:

Delta Company: A two-hour special that puts the audience on the forefront of the action with the Marines of Delta Company 1st Tank Battalion on their push to Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom, airing Monday, Jan. 10, 9 p.m.-11 p.m. (EST/PST).

Task Force Red Dog: The story of a unit of Marine Corps reservists called to active duty and sent to the front line of the war on terror, a "forward operating base" deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, premiering Jan. 10 at 8 p.m.

Top Ten: The greatest technological achievements in military history in such categories as “Top Ten Fighter Aircraft” and Top Ten Tanks.” The Fighter Aircraft installment premieres Friday, Jan. 28, from 8 p.m.-9 p.m.

Goin' Back: Iwo Jima: The first installment of a regular series of specials will allow viewers to travel with American war veterans and their families as they return to the battlefields that came to define their lives, debuting Thursday, Feb. 24, at 9 p.m.

The Blue Angels: A Year in the Life: A four-hour world-premiere miniseries covering a year in the life of the Navy's legendary flight group, debuting Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18, from 9 p.m.-11 p.m.

Red Flag: A one-hour special that offers an unprecedented insider's view of the military's most realistic combat-training exercise, held at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, premiering Thursday, March 31 at 8 p.m.

Battleplan: A multipart series that takes viewers into the heart of famous battles, examining the development and execution of the strategy behind each one, debuting Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m.

“The Military Channel will represent the highest-quality programming across a broad spectrum of military-related genres that we believe consumers have a keen interest in learning more about," DCI CEO Judith A. McHale said in a prepared statement.

"In an increasingly fragmented marketplace, the Military Channel will broaden Discovery Communications' offerings and further differentiate our portfolio of emerging networks,” she added.

“By covering all aspects of the military and the people who define it, we will extend the Discovery brand, create a service that appeals to our existing viewers and attract new viewers and sponsors,” added Discovery Networks U.S. president Billy Campbell.