Can Discovery Communications breathe some Life into Fit & Health? It’s going to try by converting the network into Discovery Life Channel on January 15. Its mission will be to “fuse the most successful current programming from Discovery Fit & Health’s library of healthy, medical and factual programming with new series that explore life’s unexpected challenges and the moments that really matter,” the company says. It will target women ages 25-54 and continue to run programs about mental health, women’s health, babies and pregnancy, fitness, and overall wellness.
The channel will remain under the purview of Henry Schleiff, who seems to have the longest title in media (it’s “Group President of Investigation Discovery, Destination America, American Heroes Channel, and Discovery Life Channel”). Jane Latman will remain General Manager, a position she took on in March.
Discovery Fit & Health reaches 47M homes — which many national advertisers consider too low — and has been a work-in-progress for more than a decade. In 2001 Discovery paid News Corp $255M in cash and equity for The Health Channel, which became FitTV in 2004. It picked up programming from Discovery Health in 2011, when that channel became OWN.
“This transition signifies Discovery’s commitment to providing audiences with the very best non-fiction content on television, and we are excited to unveil a reinvigorated network that aims to attract new viewers while delivering the high-quality and high-stakes programming our current audience loves,” said Schleiff. “Broadening to Discovery Life Channel gives us a chance to make bigger, bolder programming choices while always, central to our brand mission, revealing life at its most critical turning points.”
This is Discovery’s second major rebranding effort this year. In March it turned the Military Channel into the American Heroes Channel.