Every fall the new shows pop up either like weeds that need to be ripped out or like beautiful flowers that we’ll look forward to blooming annually. Along with the crop of new series, a handful of new networks are making their debut in the 2013-2014 TV season. Below are thumbnail sketches of five of the new outlets vying for your viewing.
Launched: Sept. 2
Target audience: Viewers 18-34
Tagline: “More X!”
It’s the new sibling of the FX network, responsible for such excellent programming as “The Shield,” “American Horror Story,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Sons of Anarchy,” and “Justified.”
For the moment, the original programming consists of the transplanted FX series “Sunny,” “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell,” and “The League,” which will be joined by the returning series “Legit” in January. Those series are surrounded by reruns (including great shows like “Sports Night” and “Arrested Development”) and movies (“Friends With Benefits,” “Easy A”).
In January, a new animated series called “Chozen” from Danny McBride and David Gordon Green with voices by Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, and Method Man, will join the lineup.
Network: Esquire Network
Launches: Sept. 23
Target audience: Dudes, bros, guys, gentlemen
Tagline: “Gentlemen, start your televisions.”
Are you a man who likes to do manly things? On this new network — from the folks who bring you the magazine of the same name — manly things can range from cooking (“Knife Fight,” hosted by “Top Chef” winner Ilan Hall) to fashion (“How I Rock It,” hosted by NBA star Baron Davis), to travel (“The Getaway” featuring a revolving cast of celebrity hosts including Joel McHale and Aziz Ansari). Those shows are surrounded by reruns of series meant to appeal to the same demographic, including “Parks and Recreation” and “American Ninja Warrior.”
Launched: Aug 1
Target audience: “Passionate Millennials”
Tagline: “It’s your turn.”
“We are a next generation television network for the new, greatest generation, Millennials,” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro at last month’s Television Critics Association summer press tour. What does that mean? It means an offbeat talk show from Meghan McCain, outspoken daughter of Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), called “Raising McCain” where she’ll tackle topics of importance to her generation including bullying and the hook-up culture. It means “HitRECord on TV!,” a variety show featuring musical peformances, conversations, short films, and whatever else tickles the fancy of host-creator actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It means “Jersey Strong,” a reality show about two couples, one of former gang members now making a difference in their community and the other a lesbian couple balancing career and family. And it also means a scripted series called “Please Like Me” from Aussie comic Josh Thomas that Shapiro calls “a hysterically realistic look at a quarter-life crisis in the 21st century.” Bolstering the original programming will be a wide variety of reruns from the sci-fi series “Farscape” to the small-town high school football drama “Friday Night Lights.”
Network: Al Jazeera America
Launched: Aug. 20
Target audience: Viewers interested in news and current events, i.e., everyone
Tagline: “There’s more to it”
Taking over the spot on the dial formerly occupied by Current, Al Jazeera America enters a crowded marketplace of 24-hour cable news purveyors. Led by a team of folks with decades of experience from ABC, CBS, and CNN, the network aims to offer comprehensive domestic and international news coverage.
Its offerings include “Inside Story,” airing weekdays at 5 p.m. that goes in-depth on current headlines; “Real Money With Ali Velshi,” which airs weekdays at 7 p.m. and focuses on the impact of financial news and issues with the economy; and “TechKnow,” airing Sundays at 7:30 p.m., which explores the latest scientific discoveries. The network expects to add documentary series and sports programming in the coming months.
Network: Revolt TV
Launching: October 2013
Target audience: Millennials, specifically, music fans in general
Tagline: “The Revolution will be televised.”
Brought to you by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Revolt aims to put the M back in TV and it plans to do so with a whole lot of crowd-sourcing as Combs can currently be seen soliciting contributions on the network’s website for everything from camera operators to content creators to on-air talent aged 13-25. While specific programming has yet to be announced, Combs has talked a lot about news and music, live interviews, and social networking, and a statement on the website says, “Revolt will represent the architects who define culture and influence society. We are out to build an empowering platform for artists and our audience.”
Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.