November 16, 2016
MGM Launches ‘Light TV’ Faith-Based Channel With Mark Burnett And Roma Downey

After a year of planning, the new faith and family entertainment channel planned by MGM, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, finally has a name: Light TV, reports Deadline. Light TV, the new 24-hour, 7-day-a week channel will feature many of MGM's library of titles as well as new programming.

According to the report, Light TV will air "wholesome family and faith-based entertainment programming" and will also be a way for MGM to make a little money on its film and TV library at the same time. Mark Burnett has recently been named President of MGM Television and Digital and Roma Downey is head of Lightworkers' Media.

Among the programming scheduled to appear on Light TV channel include Mark Burnett's game show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, the Michael Landon TV series, Highway to Heaven and CBC series Heartland plus a slew of MGM classic movies like Rocky, Hoosiers, Red River, Little Man Tate, The Nutcracker, Lilies of the Field, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Black Stallion, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Pink Panther, Fame and Mr. Mom.

"This is the last unclaimed vertical. As we have already seen from the success of The Bible series and our 20 million social followers this audience is looking for inspiring and uplifting programming that they can watch in a trusted and safe environment on any platform," said Roma Downey in an announcement about Light TV this morning.

In addition to Light TV, MGM offers other branded TV channels in the U.S. including MGM HD, This TV (original multicast network), Comet (science fiction programming) and Impact (action programming). Light TV has signed up a group of affiliates in top markets to air on subchannels of FOX stations including WNYW in New York, KTTV in Los Angeles, WFLD in Chicago, WTXF in Philadelphia, KDFW in Dallas, KRIV in Houston, KTVU in San Francisco, WTTG in Washington D.C., WAGA in Atlanta, WOFL in Orlando, KSAZ in Phoenix, KMSP in Minneapolis and WJZY in Charlotte.

The news of Light TV comes at a good time as MGM has reported a $47.8 million write-down on the Ben-Hur remake, a project that both Burnett and Downey were very committed to. The Timur Bekmambetov-directed film starred Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell and opened with just $11 million last August and is said to receive a $94.1 million worldwide gross when all is said and done.

"Our third quarter results were negativity impacted by a significant impairment charge resulting from the substantial underperformance of Ben-Hur," said MGM CEO Gary Barber. However, the studio fared much better with its remake of Magnificent Seven which has grossed $159.7 million globally.

Some have speculated that the "year of the Bible" is now over as Ben-Hur was the third big-budget faith-based movie to crash and burn in term of box office numbers. Noah made $101.2 million domestically but cost $125 million to make and Exodus: Gods and Kings made $65 million domestically versus the cost running $140 million, which already $40 million over budget.

Ben-Hur will be released on Digital HD on November 29 and on Blu-ray and DVD on December 13 of this year.

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Lightworkers' Media has produced the Emmy-nominated The Bible for the History Channel, A.D. The Bible Continues on NBC, The Dovekeepers on CBS, Women of the Bible on Lifetime, and Answered Prayers on TLC in addition to the movies Son of God, Little Boy, and the sports drama Woodlawn.

[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]