In news that could bury the hopes of fans, the America Unearthed TV show on H2 has been cancelled after three seasons totaling 39 episodes. Forensic geologist and America Unearthed host, Scott Wolter confirmed the cancellation on Twitter.
A fan asked Wolter when America Unearthed would return for its fourth season. Wolter replied, “America Unearthed isn’t coming back. H2 was sold and History doesn’t want it.”
— Scott Wolter (@RealScottWolter) May 2, 2016
H2 rebranded as Viceland. Here is the A+E Network’s press release, on its venture with Vice Media, and the change in the channel’s name and focus:
VICE AND A+E NETWORKS ANNOUNCE NEW TV NETWORK VICELAND (WORKING TITLE)
H2 network to become VICELAND, a brand new channel
created by VICE, launching in early 2016
VICELAND to complete VICE’s trinity of screens, bringing content, advertisers and audiences seamlessly between TV, mobile and digital
November 3, 2015, New York, NY –A+E Networks®, a global media content company and VICE Media, the youth media brand and digital content studio, today announced a joint venture that will offer VICE as a new 24-hour channel programmed and produced exclusively by VICE. A+E Networks’ channel H2® will be transitioned to VICELAND (working title).
Launching in early 2016, VICELAND will be distributed in approximately 70 million homes, and will feature hundreds of hours of completely new programming developed and produced entirely in-house by the young creative minds that are the heart and soul of VICE, and the driving force behind its success over the last decade.
Nancy Dubuc, President & CEO, A+E Networks said, “VICE has a bold voice and a distinctive model in the marketplace. This channel represents a strategic fit and a new direction for the future of our portfolio of media assets. Shane Smith has led VICE from a fledgling magazine into a global media brand and all of us at A+E are excited to work with him and his passionate and innovative team.”
Oscar-winning writer/director Spike Jonze, a long-time VICE partner and creative director for the company, has been overseeing the development of the new channel, from show creation, to production, to brand identity.
“It feels like most channels are just a collection of shows,” said Spike Jonze. “We wanted VICELAND to be different, to feel like everything on there has a reason to exist and a strong point of view. Our mission with the channel is not that different from what our mission is as a company: it’s us trying to understand the world we live in by producing pieces about things we’re curious about, or confused about, or that we think are funny. And if it doesn’t have a strong point of view then it shouldn’t be on this channel.”
VICELAND will launch with a full slate of prime-time shows, including Gaycation (with Ellen Page and Ian Daniel), Huang’s World (with Eddie Huang), Noisey (with Zach Goldbaum), VICE World Of Sports (with Sal Masekela), Black Market (with Michael K. Williams), Flophouse, Party Legends, Weediquette (with Krishna Andavolu), and many, many more.
The launch of VICELAND coincides with VICE’s explosive growth across online and mobile, where it has become the preeminent destination for young people around the world. There’s a growing white space in the realm of Gen-Y programming, and to fill that void VICELAND will offer engaging, original content covering fashion, food, music, sports, and more. The new network represents a critical build-out for the company: VICE will now be producing gold-standard content for all three screens.
“This network is the next step in the evolution of our brand and the first step in our global roll-out of networks around the world,” said Shane Smith, VICE co-founder and CEO. “First: It allows us to be truly platform agnostic and enable our audience to view our content wherever they want. Second: It represents a continued growth in our content quality and raises the ceiling even higher for our brilliant teams to attack stories from long form features to multi-episode series and even short form interstitials that will challenge the accepted norms of current TV viewing. Third: We will test new and innovative monetization strategies placing VICELAND at the pointy tip of the spear of the rapidly changing terrain of TV advertising.
“All in all, this new network allows us to continue our innovation in storytelling and content creation and take it to the next level. We couldn’t be happier working with Nancy and her team at A+E and we couldn’t be more excited to offer this opportunity to our VICE family of partners, producers, shooters, editors, and staff, to go out and make our indelible imprint on the cultural fabric of this modern age.”
Drawing on VICE’s history as an innovator in branded content online, VICELAND plans to work with brand partners to re-imagine the nature of the television commercial too—making the commercial time a valuable extension of the entertainment programming itself, and keeping viewers engaged, even as they follow VICE content across screens and formats.
A+E Networks will oversee technical operations and distribution and will work with VICE on ad sales and sponsorships. VICE will also handle all marketing across all platforms, utilizing its various relationships with partners across mobile and digital.
H2 is a vibrant international channel brand in over 68 territories, which will continue to operate outside the US. A+E is committed to H2’s international expansion as well as the production of informational-based historical content.
Vice Media was advised on the transaction by the Paul Weiss law firm and Pursuit Advisory.
The first three seasons of America Unearthed are still available to stream on History.com.
What do you think? Are you a fan of the America Unearthed TV show? Do you wish History had picked it up, when H2 rebranded?