History Channel is one of the top cable stations in the United States. Since launching in 1995, the network has provided viewers with historical documentaries and original programming loosely based on U.S. history. After re-branding in 2008 as ‘History,’ the network began airing popular reality programming, including Pawn Stars, Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men, and earning its highest ratings ever. Though they have had many controversies surrounding their shows, History Channel still manages to come out on top with their programming being shown in countries all over the world. Here are seven facts you didn’t know about the network.
Number Seven: History Channel Didn’t Have Original Programming Until 2008
Even though the History Channel premiered in 1995, it wouldn’t be until 13 years later that the channel would come out with their first original series. In 2008, the channel began showing reality programming, getting away from its identity of mainly historical documentaries. The channel’s first scripted series, Vikings, based on the stories of Ragnar Lothbrok, wouldn’t come until five years later, debuting in March 2013.
Number Six: Their Highest Rated Series was ‘The Bible’
Surpassing the popularity of their 2010 documentary series, The Story of Us, 2013’s The Bible’s first episode reached more than 13 million households during its premiere. This also made it the number one cable premiere in 2013. The success of the initial series prompted its producers to give a reworked version a theatrical release in 2014 and a NBC sequel in 2015.
Number Five: Their Remake of ‘Roots’ is Being Produced by the Actor Who Originated Kunta Kinte
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking series Roots, History Channel has filmed a remake with LaVar Burton, who originated the part of Kunta Kinte, as co-executive producer. Set to premiere on Memorial Day, the remake features a number of well-known actors, including Forewst Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Mayers, Anika Noni Rose, Anna Paquin, T.I. and Mekhi Phifer.
Number Four: Its Creation Helped A&E Expand Their Brand Overseas
History Channel was the first channel launched by A&E in 1995, and was also their first channel to expand overseas. Even though they had broken into Canada and Mexico, A&E had difficulties in the U.K. gaining access to some of its international co-productions. History Channel became their breakthrough in the U.K., as well as in Brazil and the Nordic and Baltic regions.
Number Three: They Made an Interactive Website for the 150-Year Anniversary of the American Civil War
In 2011, History Channel launched an interactive website for the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Dubbed “Civil War 150,” the site features infographics about various minor and major points about the conflict, including an overview of the two sides, the weapons used, how and why people died, the most important battles and its financial details.
Number Two: They Used to Have a Channel Devoted to World History
After allegations that History Channel spent too much time on United States history, a second channel was created to fill the gap. Launched in 1996, History International had its focus on topics of world history and even broadcast some programs in French and Spanish. The channel lasted 15 years before being rebranded in 2011 to show the U.S. history documentaries History Channel no longer showed. Recently, the channel was taken over by Vice and no longer shows historical programming at all.
Number One: They Help Local Communities Preserve Their Histories
Started in 1998, History Channel has been helping local communities preserve their histories with the Save Our History campaign. This education initiative helps teachers bring local history into the classroom and set it within the greater context of American history by providing educational guides and lesson plans. The campaign also provides grants to organizations that preserve local history. Thank you for reading our list of 7 facts about History Channel. We hope you enjoyed it!