Entertainment

TV exec: History, Lifetime Asia soon to air content for Filipinos

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Are you ready for the Philippine version of the  History Channel?

 

Sean Cohan, executive vice president for international operations of US cable TV giant A+E Networks, recently announced, “We’re bringing History and Lifetime (through) specific local feeds for the Philippines in the first quarter of next year.”

 

Very upbeat 

A&E is behind shows like “Pawn Stars,” “Ancient Aliens” and “Duck Dynasty,” that are seen in 163 countries.

In a roundtable interview with the media, Cohan said History and Lifetime Asia was set to air “truly local content for Filipinos,” as the company was very upbeat with the Philippine cable scene. “It makes all the sense in the world,” he said.

The New York-based Cohan was in the country to promote the launch of A+E’s two new channels: Lifetime Asia and H2. The cable network’s other channels here are History, Bio, and Crime and Investigation Network.

“Our five channels are largely about big characters, big talent, investing heavily in content, and entertainment,” he said. “In the Philippines, we benefit not only from having good, relatable characters. The Filipino viewer has a relative affinity for American content.”

 

The key 

He added: “Couple that with universal themes as we go, and add on some local and regional content. It’s important for us to be more than an American channel.”

A&E’s biggest shows in the United States are also its strongest programs in Europe and Asia, according to Cohan. “The key is including local and regional elements in the mix. I mean voice, packaging, promotion and events that surround those things that make them successful.”

The network is excited about flying big US talent into the Philippines. In August this year, it brought the father-and-son team of Rick and Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison of History channel’s highest-rating show, “Pawn Stars.”

 

Really thrilled 

“We were really thrilled with the results,” Cohan enthused.

He noted that today’s viewers were not satisfied with just seeing stars on the small screen. “Interactivity and a two-way conversation with fans is important.”

Don’t be surprised, then, if Filipinos get to interact again with Rick and Big Hoss, and maybe even with the two other stars of the reality show, Old Man and Chumlee.

Meanwhile, comparing Lifetime and History channels, Cohan said, “You think of History as informative. Well, it’s entertainment that happens to be informative. We attract a broad audience, largely male. As for Lifetime, the first word I use is entertainment. It has a tendency to [cater to] females.”

 

Triple threat 

Cohan said Lifetime had what were considered the triple threat in TV—unscripted or reality shows, TV movies and dramas.

Lifetime’s programming is dominated by reality shows, apart from “large, splashy, made-for-TV movies, with either real crime stories or bio pics ripped from the headlines.”

Lifetime original movies feature A-list Hollywood stars or buzz-worthy talent like Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler in “Liz and Dick,” the true story of  real-life couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Eric McCormack in “The Chris Porco Story,” bio pic of the notorious murderer.

Its popular dramas include “The Client List” with Jennifer Love Hewitt as a single mom leading a double life, and “Unforgettable,” starring Poppy Montgomery as a New York detective who uses her photographic memory to solve crimes.

“I think what makes Lifetime unique, not only in our portfolio but also within the TV landscape, is that we’re the only one who  has all three of those [genres].”

Comparing History with its spin-off, H2, Cohan said, “While, as I said, History is generally entertainment that happens to be  informative, think of H2 as informative that happens to be entertaining.  H2’s really drilled down for the information junkies out there. It’s really very factual first.”

H2 features specials and single-topic shows that are more theme-driven as opposed to character-driven shows in History. Inquirer.net

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