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Mark Cuban's HD Net to become AXS, but big changes will wait

June 29, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Mark Cuban approached AEG last fall about turning his cable channel HDNet into AXS.
Mark Cuban approached AEG last fall about turning his cable channel HDNet… (Associated Press )

On Monday, Mark Cuban's cable channel HD Net will become AXS TV. But for now, the only thing that will change is the name.

AXS -- a partnership of Cuban, concert giant AEG, Ryan Seacrest and Creative Artists Agency -- is hoping to eventually become the CNN of entertainment and pop culture.

Cuban apparently is in no rush to throw a half-baked product on the air. Although next week the switch will be flipped to turn the channel from HD Net into AXS, new programming isn't likely to appear for at least a few weeks, and when it does, it will be in small doses.

Fans of HD Net will immediately notice that some shows are gone, including "Girls Gone Wild" and other risque fare. The channel also will run more concerts.

When AXS does launch its own content, it will be for only several hours once a week. The network's flagship show, "AXS Live," will be shot at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. No on-air talent has been hired to host the program, which will serve as a news show of sorts about what's happening in the worlds of entertainment, fashion, sports, music and celebrity.

"AXS Live" is looking for on-air reporters in Northern California; Seattle or Portland, Ore.; Texas; Miami; and Nashville to complement its Los Angeles and probable New York correspondents. A job posting on AXS' website describes the show as "the world’s music and pop culture voice" and says it wants reporters who "take us into the story LIVE, into the music LIVE, into the event LIVE every time, EVERY day."

Tapped to oversee "AXS Live" is Debra Weeks, a veteran producer who has had stints at the tabloid show "Hard Copy" and was a longtime executive for reality TV producer Bruce Nash. And"Extra"producer Drew Lavey has jumped to "AXS Live."

Satellite broadcaster Dish Network is set to add the new AXS in 10 million of its 27 million households next week. Dish is giving AXS the spot that was held by AMC, which Dish said it is dropping this weekend because it hasn't reached a new carriage deal.

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