How Lifetime fits into Shaw Media’s programming strategy

BarbWilliams

Shaw Media has set Aug. 27 as the date for U.S. cable channel Lifetime to launch in Canada.

The company announced at its May upfront presentation that it would expand its partnership with A+E Networks stateside by launching two specialty channels in Canada this fall – the female-skewing Lifetime, and H2.

There are no current plans to commission Canadian content for the channel, says Shaw Media SVP of content Barb Williams (pictured).

Of the deal, Williams says Shaw licensed the Lifetime brand with “a substantial programming supply agreement that will anchor the channel,” and the main priority is to bring that Lifetime programming to Canadian viewers.

And Lifetime, according Williams, will boost and monopolize Shaw’s viewership across the wider female demographic, working in tandem with the company’s Slice Network, which skews towards a younger female audience.

“Lifetime is one of the most popular female-focused cable channels in the U.S. and will be a tremendous addition to our slate of existing female skewing brands including Slice,” says Williams.

“Where Slice attracts a slightly younger audience and is rooted in non-scripted reality shows with such key franchises as Real Housewives, Lifetime is older skewing and will have more of a focus on movies and dramatic scripted series. Between these two channels we are satisfying a broad female audience with a wide range of scripted and non-scripted programming,” says Williams.

She adds that while the focus is on broadcasting the Lifetime program roster, there is no restriction on airing other content on the channel, and that there may be a future opportunity to commission shows from Canadian producers, targeted specifically to the Lifetime audience.

At launch time, Lifetime will be available on a three-month free preview.

The fall programming lineup includes primetime series Drop Dead Diva (season four), which has aired on both Slice and Showcase in Canada, and The Client List, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, a slew of factual/reality series including the tenth season of Project Runway, Dance Moms, Prom Queens, new doc series The Houston Family Chronicles, and Prank My Mom.

The channel will also broadcast tear-jerker and rom-com movies, including Blue Lagoon: The Awakening and a remake of Steel Magnolias, starring Queen Latifah and Phylicia Rashad.

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