Ovation in program revolution


Ovation TV, which touts itself as the only network devoted exclusively to art and personal creativity, has lined up a 15-day programming event titled "American Revolutionaries" that will help kick off its upcoming relaunch.

For 15 consecutive days, Ovation TV will devote its primetime and weekend schedules to 30 hours of programming that "salut(es) American innovators who changed the meaning of art." The programming event will kick off at 8 p.m. July 1 with the cable premiere of "Basquiat," the first feature film to be aired on Ovation.

The event also will include three world TV premieres — "Meet Marlon Brando," "The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story" and "Old Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music" — along with the U.S. TV premieres of "The Last 48 Hours of Kurt Cobain" and "Frank Lloyd Wright: Murder, Myth and Modernism."

Ovation is set to relaunch June 20, coinciding with its premiere on Channel 274 on DirecTV, which will give the network full national coverage for the first time in its 10-year history. Upon relaunch, it will feature an "energetic" new look and a new primetime schedule that will revolve around "genre nights" dedicated to performance, people, art, music and film.

Ovation senior vp programming Kris Slava said the range of artists featured during the "Revolutionaries" event — which also includes Andy Warhol, Johnny Cash, Madonna, Jack Kerouac and the Beats, Annie Liebovitz, Arthur Miller, Melvin Van Peebles and Matt Groening — is designed to reflect the overall focus of the network going forward.

"By doing this mix, which has more contemporary artists mixed in with big scions of American art, we're painting a new picture of what the network is going to look like straight out of the box," he said.

The goal of the network, which will reach nearly 15 million subscribers upon relaunch, is to make the arts more accessible to viewers in their daily lives, with the new schedule featuring a mix of both mainstream and alternate art forms.

"We're going to continue to serve art aficionados … but also have a broader mix (of programming)," Slava said. "We're not going to abandon classical, fine arts, dance, or any of those (disciplines); we just want to reflect the way that people consume art today."

The new schedule also will contain original interstitial programming, including a how-to live-action series and a series of animated educational interstitials. The "Revolutionaries" event also will include interstitials highlighting innovative American artists.

Ovation was acquired in August by Hubbard Media Group and a group of other private investors that includes Arcadia Investment Partners, Corporate Partners II, Perry Capital and the Weinstein Co.