Discovery Networks (Nasdaq: DISCA) is turning up the dial on patriotism with the launch of a new network called Destination America to replace its less-than-successful Planet Green channel. The new lifestyle station will launch on Memorial Day with a built-in audience footprint of 59 million homes. Initial shows will include Fast Food Mania, Super-Duper Thrill Rides, and Cheating Las Vegas, among others. Destination America will also broadcast a new season of BBQ Pitmasters, which was previously shown on the Discovery network TLC.
Planet Green didn't last long for Discovery. It debuted in 2008, but failed to gain much interest from viewers over three years. A USA Today article notes that Discovery stopped running green programming on the channel about nine months ago.
The switch to patriotic-themed content may have something to do with reflecting the national mood. The year 2008 was also when the U.S. economy took a nosedive, and that may have made viewers less interested in contemplating the environmental woes of the world. In contrast, a lifestyle channel with a focus on American can-do spirit may find a more willing audience. Destination America's president Henry Schleiff calls it "quintessential counterprogramming to many of the negative stories."
Meanwhile, Discovery is still plodding along with another channel that hasn't been as successful as the company had hoped, Oprah Winfrey's OWN network. OWN saw layoffs in March, and Oprah admitted recently that she thinks the network launched before it was ready. Still, OWN did get three million new viewer households in a Comcast deal announced on Monday. The Oprah Winfrey network is now available in 83 million homes.
No Viacom content included in Comcast's Streampix service
Amazon adds Discovery content to its Prime library