Discovery Communications has promoted Robert Scanlon to general manager of Velocity network. Since October of 2011, Scanlon has been SVP at the network, which made news recently when Patrick Dempsey, star of its four-part miniseries Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans, told the press at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 that acting — the thing he does on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy — is that which he does in order to finance his real love, which is race car driving. From today’s announcement:
TCA: Discovery Sets Launch Date For Velocity, Adds Big Names to ‘Curiosity’, Preps Science Channel’s ‘Trek Nation’, Introduces ‘Weed’ Team
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Discovery Communications announced this morning that it’s launching its new network Velocity Oct. 4 in an undetermined number of homes. It’s described as an upscale, male-skewed lifestyle network and is based on the global format Turbo TV, blending originals with acquired programming. The network also said that Robin Williams, Samuel L. Jackson and Brendan Fraser have joined the lineup of hosts for the Discovery Channel event series Curiosity that launches Aug. 7. The show, described as being dedicated to “capturing the sense of wonder” that humans have, will also feature Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michelle Rodriguez and Morgan Spurlock. Also, the Science channel is partnering with Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, for the feature-length special Trek Nation premiering fourth quarter of this year. The show explores the popularity and impact of the Star Trek franchise and includes interviews with George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Stan Lee and others.
CBS and Discovery’s new Velocity Network announced today they have pacted to broadcast 20 hours of the Epic Poker League, a new pro league launching next month in Las Vegas. CBS will air seven hours of original programming, while Velocity will air 13 hours as well as re-air CBS’ episodes. Pat O’Brien will host; dates and airtimes will be announced later. David Neal and 441 Productions (ESPN’s World Series of Poker) are producing. TV networks recently have re-evaluated their poker coverage, which had grown steadily during the past few years to mirror the rise in popularity of online poker sites. In April, a number of those outlets — including show sponsors Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars — were shut down by the FBI and are under investigation for bank fraud and money laundering.
Discovery announced today that it is renaming its HD Theater cable network Velocity, which they plan to position as “an upscale male lifestyle network” with automotive, sports and leisure, adventure and travel programming. Current HD Theater series like Inside West Coast Customs, Mecum Auto Auctions and Chasing Classic Cars will help anchor the new channel’s primetime lineup. The switchover, planned for fourth-quarter 2011, will put Velocity in about 40 million homes. “Velocity continues Discovery’s tradition of maximizing the value of each of its cable platforms; it is going to be a game-changer when it officially joins our portfolio of U.S. networks later this year,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. “As the first network devoted to the upscale men’s market, Velocity will be a hub for viewers within this key demographic, as well as the wealth of advertisers that target them.”