HDNet is basically millionaire Mark Cuban’s vanity television station, and because he loves him some combat sports he’s pumped the channel full of MMA and kickboxing shows from around the world. Pretty awesome for us hardcores, but it leaves a lot of airtime that never really connected with an audience. Now the channel is about to get an overhaul:
Ryan Seacrest, his talent agency CAA and the events promoter A.E.G. have been talking for three years about making a cable channel for concerts, live events and other entertainment.
Now they have found the channel space for it at HDNet, the pioneering but poorly distributed channel owned by the billionaire sports and media mogul Mark Cuban. This summer, HDNet will become AXS TV, a joint venture of Mr. Cuban, Mr. Seacrest’s media holding company, CAA and A.E.G.
“We’re going to be able to take what I had hoped to do with HDNet — which was to be live, live, live — and accelerate that considerably,” Mr. Cuban said in a telephone interview before the deal was announced Wednesday afternoon.
Similarly, Mr. Seacrest — who has been the host of the live Fox broadcast “American Idol” for nearly a decade — said that “music, live entertainment and live events” would be the base of the channel. His production company will conceive shows for the channel, as it already does for E! and Bravo, two channels that are owned by Comcast.
For those of you worried about your MFC and XFC and ABC events:
Some of the existing programming on HDNet, including mixed martial arts matches and the newsmagazine “Dan Rather Reports,” will remain in place on AXS TV, Mr. Cuban said. A raunchier subset of late-night shows — what he calls “the unrated stuff” — will be cut out.
Surely this doesn’t include HDNet’s fine selection of programming like Bikini Barbershop: Jersey, Girls Gone Wild, or Art Mann Talks to Drunk Teenagers? That’s somewhat sad in that HDNet was one of the few cable channels in the states where you could see some boobs at 1 in the morning. There’s a lot of 11 year olds without internet access that’ll be unhappy about this. But don’t worry, kiddies. HDNet – er sorry, AXS – is about to try and evolve like a pokemon into something even better. So long as they don’t pre-empt any Yugoslavian kickboxing for a Sheryl Crow concert, I’m happy.