Until now, the American Life Network has been known primarily as a lower-rated version of TVLand, airing off-net staples such as "L.A. Law" and "Remington Steele."
That could begin to change this Sunday, when the cable channel — based in Dallas and recently purchased by Comstar Media — debuts the pilot episode "Everyday Life," its first original scripted series, at 7 p.m.
Clearly Comstar has big plans for the acquisition.
Described as "Crash" meets "The Twilight Zone," the series is narrated by a town pastor portrayed by Robert A. Schuller, the former televangelist who teamed with his Comstar partner and son-in-law Chris Wyatt (also the founder of GodTube) to buy the network.
Their intention, as stated in my current Examiner.com blog, is nothing less than to become a major player in television entertainment. But what’s really interesting is their strategy.
As you might expect from a famous minister and the founder GodTube, American Life is not aiming to be another ABC, CBS or even TNT. American Life will
follow the success path of Fox — but not the broadcast network. The news channel.
That is, instead of offering a steady diet of “edgy” shows that seek to push the envelope of traditional values, ALN plans to push back with programming aimed at the traditional-values audience that used to be television bread and butter but which is now underserved — and is often even mocked by the medium.
“Fox News,” Wyatt says, “is an example of what we’re talking about. They found that 100 percent of the news outlets were basically programming for about 50 percent of the audience. Well, what about the other 50 percent? Fox News spoke to their perspectives and is now the clear leader in the marketplace. American Life Network can do the same on the entertainment side of the industry. We plan to fill that void.”
It will be an uphill battle, to be sure. But that’s what Fox News faced when it launched in 1996 — only 13 years ago.
Will ALN succeed? Will it one day dominate cable entertainment the way Fox News now does cable news? I wouldn’t discount that possibility – and for the reason Wyatt suggests.
In any event, it’ll be interesting to tune into "Everyday Life" — if only to, perhaps, be there for a bit of TV history.