A+E Networks Eyes Blaze Expansion As It Promotes UK Content Chief Dan Korn To Oversee Free-To-Air Brand

EXCLUSIVE: A+E Networks has promoted UK executive Dan Korn to oversee its free-to-air channel Blaze as the U.S. cable giant eyes international expansion for the brand.

Korn joined A+E as Vice President of Programming in October 2016. He will now assume the role of head of Blaze in addition to this role and will continue to report to SVP and Head of Content and Creative for Europe, Heather Jones.

The former head of Discovery Channel in the UK will oversee a programming blitz for the channel including a number of new titles, commissions and bringing a raft of existing A+E Networks show together for the first time.

It has ordered a second season of Flipping Bangers, which sees on-screen stars Will Trickett and Gus Gregory hunt for neglected cars they can fix and flip for a profit. The show, which is produced by Dan Allum’s Just Might TV, has been handed a sophomore ten-part run.

Blaze has also acquired the UK rights to Australasian reality series Spiky Goldhunters (left). The series, which follows a group of sea urchin hunters, is produced by Pango Productions and airs on Australia’s Foxtel and New Zealand’s Duke Channel. The series follows six rough, tough, and charismatic characters as they battle the elements of the Southern New Zealand waters, to deliver sea urchins, the gas­tronomic equivalent of diamonds, to fine diners around the globe.

Korn told Deadline that it is exactly the type of character-led reality series that it is looking for, particularly as it becomes more difficult to find these characters in the U.S. and UK. Separately, it will air the seventh season of Outback Truckers; the Prospero Productions series has previously aired on Discovery and Quest in the UK but will now be exclusive on Blaze.

Similarly, A+E Networks is bringing its own shows Pawn Stars, Storage Wars and Counting Cars to Blaze in the free-to-air space. These series have aired on a raft of free-to-air networks following their launches on A+E Networks’ pay channels in the UK but from April will only be available on Blaze.

Korn said that A+E Networks wants to give Blaze a big push following its launch in September 2016. The channel, which also launched with a live streaming and catch-up service, is the fastest growing channel aimed at men on the UK’s free-to-air platforms, experiencing triple digit uplift in average audience across the first 2 years of launch, according to ratings data.

The company said that it has seen bigger year-on-year growth than its rivals Dave, which is owned by Discovery and BBC-backed UKTV, and Discovery-owned Quest, and has reached 17M viewers since its launch with an average watch time of one hour and 13 minutes.

The brand also exists in Italy via a deal with Sky Italia and Korn and Jones told Deadline that it will now look at other international opportunities. Amusingly, the network, which is the first non-U.S. A+E Networks brand, was borne out of the fact that the company’s landmark U.S. channel A&E means something else in the UK – essentially not wanting to confuse viewers with going to the hospital’s accident and emergency unit.

Korn said, “It’s a privilege to have oversight of Blaze, in addition to the other incredible brands in the A+E UK portfolio. In collaboration with our platform partners, we are fully focused on growing and enhancing our existing pay brands, at the same time as taking Blaze to even greater heights.”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/02/ae-networks-blaze-dan-korn-1202560769/