Net Gets Its AARP Card


On the eve of its first anniversary, Retirement Living TV reached a major production and distribution deal with the AARP that will include the development of original content for the network.

As part of the agreement, Retirement Living TV — which recently named former G4 founder Charles Hirshhorn as its chief creative officer and counts former Time Warner Cable programming executive Fred Dressler as an equity owner — will develop several new original series from the AARP’s Washington, D.C., television studios.

According to Retirement Living TV vice president of programming Elliot Jacobson, the organization also will produce a variety of programs to premier on the network, although it’s unclear how many shows will air or when such programming will be available.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With 38 million members over 50 years of age, the AARP pact is a major coup for the 29-million subscriber network, which has distribution deals with DirecTV and on several Comcast systems.

While AARP has yet to produce any TV content, the organization has extensive experience in print media through the production of such publications as the bimonthly AARP The Magazine and the monthly newspaper AARP Bulletin.

“I can think of no greater compliment than to have AARP place its shows on our network,” said Jacobson. “To align themselves exclusively with our cable channel shows that they felt their message aligned well with our message and vice versa. The programming will be seamless in its appeal.”

AARP’s chief communication officer Kevin Donnellan said in a statement that the organization produces a tremendous amount of content for news and media outlets, and that it is “excited that this relationship will enable us to begin reaching viewers directly with AARP original programming.”

In other Retirement Living TV news, a spokesman confirmed that the network is in talks with legendary news personality Walter Cronkite about appearing on the show in a series of news shorts.

The former CBS Evening News anchor would most likely host a series of commentaries that would air within the network’s live, daily news program Daily Café, according to a Retirement Living TV spokesman.

The network already employs one Cronkite: Walter’s son Chip is a producer for the network’s Art of Living series.