Showtime Updates Smithsonian VOD Fare

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A close look at ancient-history artifacts, a kids-targeted program about bugs and a long-running British Broadcasting Corp. history series will fill the programming lineup for Showtime Networks’ ambitious video-on-demand networks initiative with the Smithsonian Institution, launching later this spring.

The Smithsonian Networks is also expected to launch a 24-hour HD channel later this year, according to David Royle, executive vice president of programming and production for the networks.

The VOD service will offer a slate of more than 60 programs produced by some of the industry’s top nonfiction-production companies. The programming will feature documentaries, events and short-subject exploration of the major scientific, cultural and historical events of the day.

Included is a co-production deal with the BBC for Timewatch, which features stories that change understanding of world events.

Other productions include Stories from the Vaults, The Hunt for the Double Eagle, American Treasures, Nature Tech, Cutting Loose and kids-targeted Critter Quest.

Showtime executives said the network is negotiating with operators for both the VOD and HD channel offerings, but no distribution deals had been reached by press time.

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