Mission creep hits Military Channel


Viewers who fled to Discovery Communications' Military Channel after the History Channel abandoned its all-Nazis, all-the-time schedule to join the world of "Swamp People" and "Pawn Stars" may or may not be happy about Discovery's decision to rename Miltary the "American Heroes Channel."

Why the change? Because "heroism transcends the battlefield," says American Heroes Channel general manager Kevin Bennett in a presentation Thursday at the Television Critics Association winter meetings in Pasadena, Calif.

And maybe because viewers aren't as interested, Bennett noting that when Military launched, the U.S. was fighting two wars. Now, with History having left an opening you could drive an ice road truck through, American Heroes Channel is looking to broaden its reach to embrace more history, including a new show, "Against All Odds," which launches March 3 and "tells the true stories of modern-day heroes whose courage and sacrifice made their deeds unforgettable."

Based on the panel here, which included veterans of World War II, Vietnam and Iraq, I'd say the military won't be disappearing from the channel. But depending on how programmers choose to define "heroes," war may find itself in competition with sports and politics.

Oh, and this just in: Starting now, IFC is calling itself...IFC. In case you were still thinking that it's still the Independent Film Channel. The change mostly reflects the increasing emphasis on comedy.




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