Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are set to launch faith- and family-based network Light TV.
In partnership with Fox stations and affiliates, it’ll debut next month. Light TV will not air linearly, however, it’ll run on Fox TV’s digital sub-channels.
The network will feature wholesome entertainment programming, like MGM’s “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader,” “Rocky,” “Hoosiers,” “Red River,” “Little Man Tate,” “The Nutcracker,” “Lilies of the Field,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “The Black Stallion,” “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” “Pink Panther,” “Fame” and “Mr. Mom.” Light TV will also air acquisitions like “Highway to Heaven” and “Heartland.”
“This is the beginning of our new, multi-platform faith and family network, where the demand is greater than ever for family friendly entertainment,” said Downey. “This is the last unclaimed vertical. As we have already seen from the success of ‘The Bible’ series and our 20 million social followers this audience is looking for inspiring and uplifting programming that they can watch in a trusted and safe environment on any platform.”
It appears that the network will just be tapping into the MGM library for now. There is no word in the story as to whether it will produce original programming in the future.
Downey is right about this being an unclaimed vertical. Most television offerings are moving in the other direction. I’m not saying I don’t like the other stuff too, but it’s different when you want to watch something with your kids. Mine is 18 and in college now but I remember being uncomfortable to even trust ABC “Family” when she was 10 or 11 because they were running inappropriate commercials for ABC shows. The programming then became iffy. Turns out I wasn’t being overly sensitive, as ABC Family has now been rebranded as “Freeform” and, while not exactly Vice TV, it’s not geared to younger kids.
Original programming would be a logical step. Burnett certainly has the television production cachet to get whatever he wants done. Family-friendly is obviously wonderful, but some faith-based original programming with a wide distribution reach would be truly different. It may also be far more profitable than any secular Hollywood money people can imagine.
So good luck to Burnett and Downey on claiming that vertical, and let’s hope they stake out some permanent ground in the television landscape.