TV Upfront

Discovery Uproots Planet Green to Create 'Destination: America'

Cable-Network Change Is Fourth Since 2010

By Published on .

Discovery Communications is scrapping its Planet Green cable outlet for a new network, "Destination America," focused on Americana.

The network will make the transition on Memorial Day and be available in 59 million homes, Discovery said. The announcement comes just a day before the company is scheduled to present advertisers with information about the planned programming on all its networks as part of its upfront.

David Zaslav and Oprah Winfrey
David Zaslav and Oprah Winfrey Credit: George Burns

"Destination America will be the first network to celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States, emblazoned with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation," Discovery said in a released statement.

Under CEO David Zaslav, Discovery has made a habit of rebranding underperforming networks with the aim of fostering new growth. The little-watched Discovery Kids was turned into The Hub, a joint venture with Hasbro targeting young children. Discovery HD Theater, which originally featured nature-oriented content shown with great visuals, was turned into Velocity, a cable outlet fashioned for men. And, most famously, perhaps, Discovery Fit was changed into the much-scrutinized OWN, devoted to the sensibilities of Oprah Winfrey. The outlet, now a joint venture of Discovery and Ms. Winfrey's Harpo Productions, has struggled to gain a foothold with its intended audience.

Destination's initial slate will include "BBQ Pitmasters," which previously aired on sibling network TLC. It will also offer new series such as "Fast-Food Mania," a look at how American-style fare has taken over the planet and "Super-Duper Thrill Rides," featuring extreme roller-coasters in the U.S. and around the world.

Though hyped heavily when it premiered in 2008 (replacing Discovery Home), Planet Green failed to make much of an impact. Discovery invested $50 million into original programming.

The network's original goal was to capture the evolving environmental movement, but that didn't strike a chord with audiences. By 2010, programming was widened to include more lifestyle shows.

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