History Reveals Original-Content Slate


Riding the coattails of a record-breaking 2004 ratings campaign, The History Channel Thursday unveiled an ambitious slate of original series and specials for the upcoming 2005-06 television season.

The network, which averaged a record 1.0 household rating in 2004, will roll out eight new series and a slew of specials to compliment its current lineup of signature shows such as Modern Marvels and Mail Call, president Dan Davids said.

Davids would not reveal how much the network is budgeting for original programming or what, if any, increases it has garnered compared with last year’s budget. Nevertheless, he said, the new lineup was developed to appeal in particular to its targeted male 25-54 audience.

“Our goal is to continue to satisfy our growing upscale audience and males 25-54 and 18-49 with our original, award-winning programs,” he added. “We’ve basically become a must-buy for advertisers trying to reach a dynamic male audience.”

Among the new series the network will launch over the next 12 months: ManMoment Machine, which explores intersection between a dynamic leader, a significant moment in time and important technology; Weird U.S., a series based on the best-selling book of the same name that takes an offbeat look at American history; Shootout!,which explores a famous shootout in history; and True Heroes,which profiles heroes from World War II to the present day.

Also on the docket are Declassified, a unique, fast-paced, rock-music-driven series that tells historic stories with previously unseen archival materials and footage; Where Did It Come from, a series hosted by former ABC News correspondent Michael Guillen that explores the historical origins of things used in everyday life; The American Revolution,which profiles the personal and political stories of the major characters involved in the birth of our nation; and Pacific: The Lost Evidence, which recounts through the use of never-before-seen aerial photographs the key battles in the Pacific.

New specials for the network include Rome: Engineering an Empire, The Crusades: Crescent & the Cross, DaVinci and the Code He Lived by, Lincoln, The Plague, Ottoman Empire, Washington the Warrior and the previously announced 10 Days That Changed America.

The network said it will also create specials around legendary magician Houdini, as well as popular science-fiction series Star Trek.