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Working Out the Brand

LOS ANGELES — Discovery Fit & Health next January will rebrand itself as Discovery Life Channel — Discovery’s fourth channel rebrand in just over four years — in an effort to offer more “life-enhancing challenges and moments” in its health-related reality shows to target women aged 25 to 54. Jane Latman, general manager and senior vice president of development at ID: Investigation Discovery, will also serve as general manager for Discovery Life. She sat down with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead during last week’s Television Critics Association Summer Tour to provide a sneak peek of the rebranded channel. An edited transcript follows.

MCN: How will Discovery Life differ from what we see now on Discovery Fit & Health?

Jane Latman: In the near future, it’s about establishing consistency and taking everything that worked for the network over the years and doubling down on that. We want to establish the network among our viewers as the place to go to get great stories that they’re not going to be able to turn off once they get there. We’ve seen success with that from other networks like ID.

MCN: It was mentioned that the network would launch with themed programming during each primetime hour, ranging from medical mysteries to trauma drama. How do you see that building the network’s overall brand?

JL: That’s the way to get consistency so that the audience knows that, “at 8 p.m. I’m getting my medical mystery stories.” It’s giving audiences something they know when they come to the channel. We want the categories to be broad enough so we’re not hemmed in, and it’s amazing how interested the production community already is in working with us. When you think about health programming in its most broad sense — family health, emotional health, psychological health — no one is really focusing on that.

MCN: Are any of the Discovery Fit & Health shows going to migrate to Discovery Life?

JL: Yes. Untold Stories of the ER is a great example — it’s been a huge success and has a great following. We’re definitely going to take the best of what works and build upon that.

MCN: How will Discovery Life differentiate itself from other reality-based networks looking to attract female viewers?

JL: I do want to emphasize that this network will have emotion, great storytelling and, this word often gets overused, authenticity. I do feel that this channel can be an antidote for a lot of what feels manufactured in our lives these days, whether it’s online or on television. What’s out there is fine and people enjoy produced reality and all sorts of reality, but we’re going to be more unfiltered and unrehearsed.