In a bid to rev up its journalistic bona fides, the Discovery Channel has signed Koppel to host and produce a series of programs examining global issues and events. Under the multi-year deal, Koppel will produce some six long-form shows a year, beginning this fall, and will also become Discovery's managing editor.
Discovery said the programming is expected to include the town hall-style meetings "Nightline" made famous by bringing opposing sides of an issue face-to-face, such as Israelis and Palestinians.
Koppel brings a team of nine former "Nightline" colleagues with him to Discovery, including acclaimed Executive Producer Tom Bettag.
Discovery "is making a long-term commitment to produce high quality programming that gives our global audience insight, perspective and analysis beyond just the headlines...to create a more substantial approach to in-depth journalism," said Discovery Networks U.S. President Billy Campbell in a statement.
Koppel was the anchor of "Nightline" for 25 years before signing off in November. He had been expected to sign with HBO to pursue documentary-style programming before the Discovery deal.
Although advertisers thirst for younger demographics, Discovery is betting that the 65-year-old Koppel's prominence and other benefits will outweigh the potentially older-skewing audience he may attract.