will be turning into
Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting that Mark Cuban is partnering with AEG, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Ryan Seacrest to create a new cable channel called AXS.tv which will be taking the place of HDNet and will be focusing on pop culture programming.
AXS TV will focus on live entertainment and lifestyle programming through access to AEG’s more than 100 venues worldwide, including Staples Center, Nokia Theatre L.A. Live and The 02 in London. AXS TV will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access to live concerts and music festivals at those venues as well as red carpet premieres, award shows, parties, pop culture events, interviewing artists and celebrities. As for the concerts or other live events themselves, Cuban said that the network will talk to the performers to try to get "as many right as we can" to carry them. Cuban said that HDnet had already been gearing towards doing as much live programming as possible, which will now be taken to a new level with the rebranding. The command center of AXS TV’s live coverage will be an AEG-owned studio in Los Angeles overlooking the plaza in front of the Nokia Theatre. Despite the shift from male-oriented to pop culture fare, some of HDNet’s signature programs, including HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, Dan Rather Reports, Sunday concert series, and select non-scripted series will continue on AXS TV. Cuban called the network’s news coverage his "guilty pleasure" and stressed that Rather "isn’t going anywhere." That part of HDnet’s portfolio has evolved too — Rather has been doing more live programs, including live coverage of the New Hampshire and the upcoming South Carolina GOP primaries.
The article does mention that HDNet Fights and Inside MMA will continue on the newly-branded channel, the only question is for how long, and in what capacity. Once this deal goes through there will be some powerful partners in control of this channel and they may not take too kindly to a nine-hour timeslot in the wee hours of the morning dedicated to a live Japanese MMA show. As MMA fans know, when someone tells you it'll be "business as usual", it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be. The part in the bolded sentence that you should probably pay the most attention to is the "shift from male-oriented to pop culture fare". This new channel will be going after a new demographic, and after a while it may be clear that the MMA programming doesn't fit in to the channel's new strategy.
With this news, I give MMA programming on AXS.tv about 8 months before vanishing or diminishing drastically.