The Outdoor Channel -- targeting enthusiasts with programs about hunting, fishing, shooting, off-road motor sports and adventure -- unveiled its first-quarter schedule, including 19 shows, which are new to the network.
The new programming includes four former ESPN fishing shows: "Buccaneers and Bones," starring veteran journalist Tom Brokaw, Michael Keaton and actor Zach Gilford of "Friday Night Lights"; "The Saltwater Series"; "Spanish Fly"; and "Zona's Awesome Fishing Show."
This season's new programming also includes "Wardens," following conservation officers in Montana as they defend the great outdoors from poachers and other hazards, and the "AWA Pro Series," a new hunting championship.
The Outdoor Channel is also presenting new episodes of 50 returning programs, including "Bone Collector," "MidwayUSA's The Best Defense," "The Crush with Lee and Tiffany," "Jim Shockey's Hunting Adventures" and "Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild," which charts the adventures of the opinionated rock guitarist, outdoorsman and bow hunter, and "Trophy Hunters TV."
Publicly traded Outdoor Channel Holdings competes with various cable channels, from the Sportsman Channel to Versus to ESPN. The company weathered the downturn in ad spending relatively unscathed. In the third quarter, total revenues increased 8%, partly as a result of a 14% increase in ad revenues at the Outdoor Channel.
In November, Nielsen estimated the Outdoor Channel had about 35 million cable and satellite subscribers, following the addition of roughly 4.9 million subscribers in 2009. Per the company, Outdoorchannel.com currently averages over 1 million unique visitors each month.