Following more than a decade of ironically trying to figure out who it was, the Biography Channel is going away next summer, A&E has announced, ending the ill-defined reality network it launched in 1999 as a home for its once-popular Biography series. As the years passed, and as viewers only came to be interested in people’s life stories if they involved murders or ghosts, Biography Channel renamed itself “Bio” and loaded up on shows about the paranormal and the mob in an increasingly familiar, desperate bid to keep up. And now that identity crisis will result in its total rebranding as FYI—an upscale lifestyle network with a “younger and more modern sensibility,” according to a press release, which also says FYI stands for “for your inspiration, for your imagination, or for your innovation.”
But definitely not “for your information,” as network president Jana Bennett says FYI will offer viewers “a less prescriptive, more adventurous approach to their taste, space, social life and look,” rather than the staid, dictatorial imposition of useful facts. “Gone are the days where consumers are looking for experts to instruct them how to live,” Bennett says of this new age and generation, which prefers television that validates its self-aggrandizement, rather than forcing them to consider other people and their “knowledge.”
FYI has yet to announce any actual programming, but considering the press release’s talk about the channel “reflecting how people actually live their lives,” and its equally vague pronouncements of FYI being “a personalized experience for each viewer,” it’s possible FYI won’t air anything but a blank screen, thereby allowing people to just stare into their TVs like a mirror.
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