Discovery is renaming its Military Channel — now called American Heroes Channel, as of March 3. ”This newly renamed network is an intersection of miltiary and history programming, and looks to substantially broaden its current appeal, said Henry Schleiff, who oversees the network among other Discovery platforms. That includes programming about fireman, policemen, “and those who don’t necessarily wear a uniform.” The emphasis will still be on male viewers, he added. Heroism transcends the military, TV critics attending the TCA Winter Press Tour 2014 were told — and the explanation that when the channel launched in the midst of two wars, military and military issues were hot. American Heroes Channel’s first year will include 17 new series and specials, with four original series and specials launching in the first week. Premiere week programming will include: Raw War: The Lost Film Of Dak To, Against the Odds, CIA: Declassified, and Codes & Conspiracies.
The network then moved straight into its military show Q&A session for Against The Odds, billed as “the real-life Band Of Brothers,” featuring, among others, the genuinely emotional — not often seen at the press tour — World War II vet William Steele Sr, who noted, “This country was united” during WWII. “Roosevelt and Eisenhower were together. That’s what we need now,” he said, getting choked up. “War – we will always have them somehow…will be somebody shooting at one another. The bombing of us — that united us and everybody was supportive of us.” He added: “When I came home from overseas — I get a little emotional — when I come home and got off the ship in San Francisco, there was no band,” Steele said, fighting tears. “I walked down the plank…to a plot of grass and kissed it…. When you’re in war you don’t fight for honor — you fight for defense of each other. The heroes of war are the ones that didn’t come home.”