The Health Network will launch eight new shows devoted to
parenting and women's health this week, targeting "communities of interest"
the way the Internet does, according to officials.
The new series, being introduced starting today (Sept. 13),
will be closely tied to and integrated with content on THN's Web site, according to
senior vice president of programming and production Marc Krigsman.
THN launched in July after America's Health Network
and Fit TV were combined into one programming service, to be operated by Fox Networks as
part of the Fox Entertainment Group.
The program lineup included shows culled from each of those
two networks, Krigsman said, but the eight fall shows are original content being created
expressly for THN.
There are five new parenting shows: Generation Next,
which focuses on conception and pregnancy; 9 Months and Counting,which
chronicles the relationship between the mother and infant during pregnancy, hosted by Dr.
Alix Casler; 1 2 3 Grow, a program designed to help children
grow developmentally, hosted by former Beverly Hills 90210 star Gabrielle Carteris;
Baby Steps,the latest health and medical news from Casler; and Bloopy's
Buddies, a kids' series focused on exercise, nutrition and health.
Krigsman described Generation Next as a combination
of Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Golden Girls and The View.
That's because the show begins like a sitcom, with
three women -- one with a baby and two without -- discussing child-rearing issues. A
"Greek chorus" of four opinionated grandmothers offer running commentary. And
then, during the last half-hour of the show, viewers can participate in a live discussion
with Casler on that day's episode.
In fact, the format for the new one-hour shows is for the
first 30 minutes to be preproduced fare and the last half-hour to be call-in segments done
live from THN's studio in Orlando, Fla., Krigsman said.
The three series slated for the women's health
community are: The Whole Woman, designed to help women of all ages to learn more
about their bodies; A Healthy Balance,a program for women in their 30s and
40s who are balancing work, relationships and children; and Hitting Your Stride,
whichaddresses the health concerns of women 50 and older.
THN's rival, Discovery Health Channel, will launch new
episodes this fall of several series it already has on-air, including She TV,
Vital Breakthroughs and Lifeline,according to Discovery Health Media
Inc. senior vice president of programming and production Kathy Quattrone.
A special on Lance Armstrong -- winner of this year's
Tour de France and a cancer survivor -- will air during Discovery Health's Take
Charge primetime documentary strip, which airs Monday through Thursday at 8 p.m.
The content on the Discovery Health video channel is
closely tied to its Web site, with both Discovery Health and THN adopting that strategy.
But Quattrone claimed that Discovery Health's overall
programming strategy is very different from that of THN. She noted that much of THN's
programming relates to fitness, and it is often studio-based.
"They seem to be doing a subset of what we're
doing," Quattrone said. "[Fitness is] part of what we're doing, but
we're going much further. We're doing exhaustive, in-depth coverage on medical
issues and also technology."