9:36am PT by Kate Stanhope
Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and MGM to Launch Faith Digital Network on Fox Stations
Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and MGM are teaming to launch a new digital entertainment network this December.
The husband-wife team along with MGM, where Burnett is president of television, are set to launch a new faith and family digital multicast offering called Light TV.
Light TV will debut in partnership with Fox stations and affiliates in top markets including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Orlando, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Charlotte.
Being billed as the first-ever such 24-hour, seven-day-a-week network, programming will include family friendly MGM films such as 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, as well as TV series like Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Highway to Heaven and Heartland.
“MGM continues to build on our strategy as a multicast network leader by adding Light TV to our group of networks,” said MGM Domestic Television Distribution president John Bryan. “We’re excited to partner with Fox and deliver positive, uplifting and free entertainment to families everywhere.”
This is the latest faith-based endeavor for Downey and Burnett, who were also exec producers on The Bible miniseries, its sequel A.D. the Bible Continues as well as The Dovekeepers, among other projects.
“This is the beginning of our new, multiplatform faith and family network, where the demand is greater than ever for family-friendly entertainment. 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,” Downey said.
Added Burnett: “With the combined experience of myself and Roma, plus MGM’s family-friendly library, Light TV will become an ideal platform to reach the enormously, underserved family audience."
Light TV's biggest competition looks to be similarly themed family-friendly cable networks such as Up and Hallmark Channel. While Freeform (formerly ABC Family), continues to air the faith-based 700 Club daily, but has moved its focus to young adults and specifically "becomers" in the past year.
MGM's other digital multicast offerings, which are normally offered on barter-split basis where MGM is given a portion of the advertising revenue on the channel, include This TV and the sci-fi entry Comet. Once Light TV launches on the select Fox stations in December, MGM is expected to begin pitching stations in other markets not yet covered to carry the digital network.