News: Cuban, Seacrest partner in new TV network: HDNet becomes AXSBy Joanne Ostrow | January 18th, 2012 | No Comments »
Mark Cuban and Ryan Seacrest on Wednesday unveiled a new TV network, to launch this summer, focusing on pop culture and live entertainment fare. The network, a rebranding of Cuban’s HDNet, will remain based in Denver.
HDNet, managed by Philip Garvin from Denver, will create a joint venture with tour promoter AEG and talent agency CAA, and will be rebranded as AXS (pronounced “axis”).
“My thinking is, MTV gave up music a while ago,” Garvin said by phone from Los Angeles. AXS “is going to be a music-lovers’ channel.”
The goal is to carry 150 concerts a year, he said.
Seacrest will be a shareholder in the network and will participate in planning and production, but will not serve as an on-air personality.
AEG’s concert events, including from AEG-owned venues including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and O2 in London, will be at the disposal of the new network. Small venues, like the Ogden Theatre in Denver, which is managed by AEG, will also be the site of concerts carried on the network, “including up-and-coming bands.”
Denver’s role in the network won’t change. Garvin remains COO and general manager. “It continues to be a Denver-based network but we now have a content partner,” Garvin said.
“They provide us access to a ton of stuff that we didn’t have before, that permits us to be come eventually the premiere music and popular culture network in the U.S.”
The network is expected to be available in 35 million homes by June, with the goal of 50 million homes by the end of 2013.
The Tuesday programming slate will continue to be mostly news and documentaries, and Dan Rather’s reporting will continue.
The network will have production facilities at AEG’s owned and operated L.A. Live (which includes Staples Center, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, Club Nokia and The Grammy Museum’s Clive Davis Theater).
Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO of AEG, said in a statement , “This is a platform for all agents, all promoters and all managers. It is not the creation of an AEG channel. It is about the fans and bringing the live experience to them.”
The deal reportedly came together very quickly. “I had a very busy November and December,” Garvin said.
Joanne Ostrow is The Denver Post Television critic.