PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Television

Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, AEG, CAA partner on pop culture channel

Joe Flint
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — Four of the biggest players in the entertainment industry — Ryan Seacrest, Mark Cuban, concert giant AEG and Hollywood powerhouse talent firm Creative Artists Agency — are teaming up to launch a new pop culture cable channel.

Called AXS (short for access), the cable network is envisioned to focus primarily on live programming aimed at entertainment aficionados. It is to include a heavy diet of concerts and lifestyle shows and use production facilities at AEG’s downtown L.A. Live complex as its on-air home base.

“The industry in Los Angeles is a sport,” Cuban said of the channel’s plans to cover show business on a 24/7 live basis. The network’s flagship show is to be called “AXS Live,” which Cuban described as a “‘SportsCenter’ for pop culture and music.”

The joint venture will be rebranding Cuban’s HDNet channel, creating a new network that is expected to debut as soon as late spring. Cuban launched HDNet in 2001 and has struggled to get the network widely distributed. Currently in about 27 million homes, Cuban said he thinks having the weight of AEG behind the channel will boost its reach.

“Everybody is going to bend over backwards to work with AEG,” he said.

Dish Network, the satellite broadcaster with 14 million subscribers, has already agreed to increase its carriage of AXS by almost 10 million homes, broadening its reach to about 35 million homes.

AEG and Seacrest have been mulling the creation of a cable channel together for some time. However, it is easier to acquire an existing channel than to build one from scratch. Cuban became aware of their ambitions and reached out to AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke about partnering with HDNet last fall, officials said.

Seacrest is not expected to have an on-air presence on the channel, but his production company has a commitment to provide content for AXS. Seacrest, who hosts a popular morning radio show as well as Fox’s “American Idol,” also runs Ryan Seacrest Productions, whose offerings include “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”

Interestingly, AXS seems aimed at competing primarily with E!, the cable network owned by Comcast Corp. E! also focuses on entertainment and popular culture and is home to much of Seacrest’s production efforts.

Cuban said it will take about six months to change HDNet to AXS. Many of HDNet’s shows including its coverage of mixed martial arts and “Dan Rather Reports,” which features the former CBS News anchor, will transition to the new network with more live elements, he said. However, the more adult fare HDNet carries, including “Girls Gone Wild” are to be dropped.

“Anything that was TV-MA goes away,” Cuban said, referring to the television industry’s rating for mature adult content.

For AEG, the alliance gives it an additional platform to promote its live entertainment business. The concert promoter and arena owner has a library of concerts, and its arenas are also used for high-profile events that can provide content for the new channel.

Terms of the partnership were not disclosed, but Leiweke said both CAA and Seacrest are making equity investments in AXS.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.

Film

Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.

Music

Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".

Music

John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.

Music

The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.

Music

Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.

Music

In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Music

Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.

Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.