As expected, A+E Networks announced Wednesday it will rebrand its digital BIO Channel into a new contemporary lifestyles-based channel dubbed FYI.
The new channel, which will be headed by LMN and BIO channel president Jana Bennett, will be a “contemporary lifestyle network” reflecting how people actually live their lives, according to A+E Networks. The company says it has more than 30 potential new series in development, but does not provide specific titles.
The move has been rumored for several months. The popular real estate sales/home improvement genre is expected to be a major part of the network’s programming. A&E has had several hits in the genre, including such shows as Flipping Boston, which could ultimately move to the network.
BIO channel’s current programming – including its signature Biography series – is not expected transition to FYI, according to network sources.
With the launch of lifestyles-based FYI, A+E will look to draw younger viewers into its network portfolio – which includes older-skewing, female-targeted network Lifetime, male-targeted service History and general entertainment-based A&E. It also hopes to increase its overall audience for BIO: the network is on track to average 260,000 primetime viewers, an increase of 4% over 2012 but far short of the more than 1 million viewers drawn by its sister networks Lifetime, History and A&E.
"The transition to FYI is the next phase in our strategy to bolster the A+E Networks portfolio by evolving and maturing our brands to allow for future growth in the rapidly changing media landscape," said Nancy Dubuc, president & CEO of A+E Networks in a statement. "FYI will be an upscale network with a younger and more modern sensibility than what we've seen on traditional lifestyle networks, in an effort to appeal to an audience that has been underserved on linear but thrives online."