Less than a month after leaving Crown Media Holdings, where he was president and CEO, Henry Schleiff has been named President of US cable network Investigation Discovery (commercially abbreviated as I.D.), the fact-based investigative content about culture, history and the human condition, as well as programming dealing with criminal investigations, primarily homicide investigations, and other crime-related documentaries.
Schleiff told Variety’s Jon Weisman that strong branding will be key to accomplishing his assigned goals: “You look out from the foxhole, and you see a huge number of cable networks with some advantage in terms of size and distribution,” Schleiff said. “How do you address that? You start with a very clear and distinct brand, and I think that’s one of the advantages that something like this network has.”
Hollywood Reporter’s Elizabeth Guider reports that Schleiff envisions the new channel as ‘Justice Central,’ the brand of choice for investigations similar to the way Comedy Central has become a go-to destination for laughs.
Previously, Schleiff led Court TV –now truTV — from a base of 30 million households to 85 million homes. While Schleiff ran Crown, Hallmark Channel grew until it was distributed into more than 86 million homes, and also became a top-ten player in primetime. He’s also well-connected with a strong relationship with Discovery CEO David Zaslav that runs way back.
History of the channel: He joins the network that began as a joint venture between CBS and Discovery named Discovery People in 1996. A year later, Discovery People was rebranded as Discovery Civilization. In 2002, the New York Times and Discovery announced a joint venture to run the channel, and rebranded it as Discovery Times Channel, focusing on American culture and programming pertaining to the well-being and culture of the people of America, as well as other miscellaneous programming.
In January 2008, the Discovery Times channel was rebranded to the Investigation Discovery channel.