AXS TV (pronounced "access") is an American cable and satellite television network. It is managed by the film company 2929 Entertainment (through AXS TV, LLC)—which they founded as HDNet (through HDNet, LLC) in 2001 before it was rebranded as AXS TV in 2012—with a consortium of partners consisting of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), Ryan Seacrest (through Ryan Seacrest Media), Creative Artists Agency, and CBS Corporation. The network's programming specializes in live music events, as well as comedy, movies, and mixed martial arts, among others. The AXS TV company includes the channel HDNet Movies.
|AXS TV, LLC|
|Founded||September 6, 2001|
|Products||Pay television, television production|
The network originally launched as HDNet on September 6, 2001, designed as a high definition-exclusive service under the ownership of HDNet, LLC, which then was co-owned by Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Philip Garvin, owner of Colorado Studios and Mobile TV Group. Originally, the network aired a variety of programming, much of it male-oriented, prominently featuring series, sports events, and concert performances. In December 2001 and January 2002, HDNet aired exclusive HD coverage of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan with former CNN correspondent Peter Arnett. In February 2002, the network originated eight daily hours of high definition content from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City; this feed was picked up by NBC and aired in 24-hour rotation on the digital signals of NBC's stations.
The channel gradually expanded its carriage to the satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network, as well as the cable providers Charter Communications, Insight Communications, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications, Verizon FiOS, and AT&T U-verse. On September 4, 2008, Cuban announced that the network had reached an agreement with Comcast to carry both HDNet and HDNet Movies in various markets. The provider began to carry HDNet in many major markets on September 30, 2010. In November 2009, DirecTV became the first provider to offer video-on-demand services of HDNet and HDNet Movies.
On January 18, 2012, HDNet, LLC entered into a joint venture with entertainment company/promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group, TV/radio personality/producer Ryan Seacrest, and talent agency Creative Artists Agency, in which AEG, CAA, and Ryan Seacrest Media would each purchase a share of the network, with Cuban retaining primary ownership. The network rebranded on July 2, 2012 as AXS TV, a name taken from AEG's ticket sales website AXS. With the purchase and rebranding, the channel gradually shifted focus to include a mix of entertainment news, lifestyle, pop culture and in-concert performance events.
Alongside the rebranding, Dish Network announced that it would expand the channel's distribution to customers who do not subscribe to an HD tier through a downconverted standard definition feed. The provider moved the network to channel 131 in the spring of 2012, increasing its carriage to at least 14 million Dish Network subscribers upon its relaunch as AXS TV. Through its relationship with AEG, AXS TV also plans to offer special promotions on concerts to Dish Network users who have subscribed to the channel. On February 14, 2013, CBS Corporation acquired partial ownership in the network, when it traded programming and marketing for a minority stake in AXS TV.
In addition to carriage on cable, satellite and telco providers, AXS TV has been added to streaming media providers including Sling TV in October 2016, DirecTV Now when it debuted in November 2016, and Philo when it was launched in November 2017.
Original programming on HDNet included news programs such as the HDNet World Report and Dan Rather Reports, a weekly newsmagazine hosted by former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather; coverage of Space Shuttle launches; and male-oriented series such as Ultimate Trailer Show. HDNet also featured uncensored and unrated shows during late-night hours, such as Art Mann Presents, Bikini Destinations and Girls Gone Wild Presents: Search for the Hottest Girl in America. In October 2011, HDNet picked up Goodnight Burbank, the network's first scripted half-hour comedy. Originally created for the web, the show starred Hayden Black, Laura Silverman and Dominic Monaghan. HDNet's programming also included off-network reruns of series such as Smallville, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, JAG, Star Trek: Enterprise and Arrested Development.
HDNet also aired sporting events, including coverage of the National Hockey League from 2001 to 2008 and Major League Soccer; select motor sports events, including Champ Car live broadcasts in 2004, highlights from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and races from regional circuits; mixed martial arts, through Cuban's HDNet Fights promotion; the weekly series Inside MMA, which featured highlights and coverage from various MMA promotions; and Indiana University's Little 500 Bicycle Race. From 2009 to 2010, HDNet also aired weekly programming from professional wrestling promotion Ring of Honor, and served as a television partner of the United Football League, primarily airing the league's Saturday night games. The network dropped UFL coverage prior to the 2011 season.
Following its July 2012 re-launch, AXS TV continued to air several programs carried over from HDNet, including Dan Rather Reports, MMA events (now under the AXS TV Fights banner), movies, and off-network series. However, the channel began to gradually shift its focus towards "music, pop culture and lifestyle-oriented" programming, such as concerts, and general entertainment.
As part of its music programming lineup, AXS TV broadcasts a wide variety of concert events from across the country and around-the-world. This includes a Sunday night concert series featuring performances from artists such as Carrie Underwood, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and Elton John; themed artists takeovers, highlighting a variety of bands in day-long blocks that feature music videos, concert performances, interviews and more, with notable takeovers from Slash and Matchbox Twenty; as well as other live and taped music events such as the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards tribute to Gregg Allman and The Doors, hosted by Sammy Hagar and the live broadcast of the 2014 Farm Aid music festival that featured performances by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews.
In 2014, AXS TV broadcast the inaugural Alternative Press Music Awards, hosted by Mark Hoppus. The award show returned to AXS TV on July 22, 2015 hosted by Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat of All Time Low and featuring performances from Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, and Simple Plan among others.
AXS TV celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with a month-long event in August 2017 with concerts honoring the music of The Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia and documentaries profiling artists of the time period such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Doors. The network also premiered a new documentary about the social phenomenon, eponymously titled Summer of Love, on August 12, 2017.
Concert specials premiered in 2018 included: Sammy Hagar, Poison, Santana, Farm Aid, Charlie Daniels, Trace Adkins' Guitar Legends for Heroes, The 2018 BRIT Awards and more.
AXS TV announced the premiere of America Salutes You: Guitar Legends II on Sunday, March 31, starring Sammy Hagar, Billy Gibbons, Dave Navarro, Robby Krieger, Stephen Stills, Joe Bonamassa, Orianthi and more. This year marks the second year in a row AXS TV has served as production partner and cable provided for the acclaimed concert. The “Guitar Legends II” concert seeks to raise funds and awareness for charity organizations supporting brain and mental wellness of American veterans and first responders.
AXS TV teamed up with Feld Entertainment to produce Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey: The Final Farewell, a behind-the-scenes look at the final performance of the longest-running touring show in America. The 90-minute documentary premieres on Memorial Day, May 27, 2019.
In 2014, AXS TV presented the television debut of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in addition to broadcasting the 2014 Stagecoach Country Music Festival and the 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, for the second consecutive year.
The network's 2015 festival slate included the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (April 17-April 19) for the second consecutive year; the Stagecoach Country Music Festival (April 24-April 26); and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (May 1-May 3) for the third consecutive year. Additionally, the network broadcast footage from the 2015 Rock on the Range (May 15-May 17) and the 2015 Firefly Music Festival (June 19-June 21), for the first time ever.
AXS TV's 2016 festival tour included Zac Brown Band's Southern Ground Music & Food Festival (April 16–17), both weekends of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 23–24, April 29-May 1), Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion (May 6–8) and Hangout Festival May 20–22.
AXS TV announced a new four-part festival series 80s in the Sand premiering Sunday, April 7, 2019. Hosted by 80s TV and Radio personalities Downtown Julie Brown, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and Richard Blade, 80s in the Sand features interviews and performances with artists including Bret Michaels, Sebastian Bach, Taylor Dayne, The English Beat, Wang Chung, ABC, When in Rome, Berlin and more. The series was filmed at the 80s in the Sand music festival at the Breathless Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Since 2013, Dan Rather has hosted the hour-long original series titled The Big Interview featuring in-depth interviews with a variety of celebrity guests as they join Rather for candid discussions about their lives and careers. Notable guests include Gene Simmons, Weird Al Yankovic, Don Rickles, Wynona Judd, Jack White, Carlos Santana, Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, and Geddy Lee among others. The Big Interview's sixth season premiered on March 13, 2018 with guest Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Other interviewees for the 20-episode season include Robby Krieger and John Densmore of the Doors, Shania Twain, Eddie Money, Styx, John Mellencamp, The Oak Ridge Boys and Billy Ray Cyrus. The series celebrated its 100th episode on Oct. 2 when it returned for the second half of season six with special guest The Beatles' Ringo Starr.
The Big Interview was renewed for a seventh season, premiering Tuesday, April 16 with former Journey frontman Steve Perry. The new season line-up also includes Paul Stanley, Cyndi Lauper, Foreigner members Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, REO Speedwagon, Billy Bob Thornton, Carl and Rob Reiner, Travis Tritt, Boz Scaggs and Paul Shaffer.
Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar Presented by Mercury Insurance is an original series featuring Sammy Hagar as he drives across the country to interview and jam with influential artists including Tommy Lee, Bob Weir, Alice Cooper, and Nancy Wilson. The series also presents Hagar’s personal experiences and rules of the road, as he tours with his group The Circle. The six-episode first season premiered on AXS TV on January 24, 2016. The series premiered in March 2017 with guests including John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, Toby Keith, John Mellencamp and Mick Fleetwood and returned for its second half in July 2017 with guests including Don Felder, STYX, Vince Neil, Chad Smith, Shep Gordon, Darryl McDaniels and Adam Levine. AXS TV announced that Rock & Roll Road Trip was renewed for a third season in 2017 and premiered in April 2018 with guests including Dave Grohl, Roger Daltrey, Sarah McLachlan, Bob Weir, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo.
AXS TV announced season four will premiere Sunday, May 5. Guests for the new season include Willie Nelson, Rick Springfield, Guy Fieri, Cheech & Chong, Charlie Daniels, Jimmie Johnson, Robby Krieger, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and more.
AXS TV announced in September 2017 it had greenlit to a 10-episode reality series chronicling the daily lives of Eddie Money, his wife Laurie and their five kids. Production for Real Money began in fall 2017 and the series premiered Sunday, April 8, 2018. In June 2018, the series was greenlit for an expanded 12-episode second season with production set to begin in summer 2018 and a premiere in early 2019.
Real Money season two is set to premiere on Sunday, May 5.
In August 2018, AXS TV announced a new docu-series profiling the lives and deaths of some of music's most influential artists called The Day The Rock Star Died. Set to premiere on Oct. 2, 2018, the 15-part series examines artists including Tom Petty, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Whitney Houston.
The Top Ten Revealed spotlights best-of lists on a variety of rock-related themes, covering topics such as best guitar intros, Vietnam anthems and '80s rock ballads. The series debuted in February 2018, with host and executive producer Katie Daryl joined by a rotating panel of experts including Lita Ford, Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler and former Pantera percussionist Vinnie Paul, among others. The series returned for season two in January 2019.
Since 2014, AXS TV has broadcast The X Factor UK, with the episodes airing 24 hours after their respective UK broadcasts. The series premiered on Sunday, August 31, 2014, marking the first time that the British series had aired in the U.S. The 11th season notably featured the return of Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini to the judging panel, joining music manager Louis Walsh and pop singer Mel B, making her debut as a full-time judge. Ben Haenow was the winner of this season.
The series has continued to air annually on AXS TV, most recently with its third season on the network, the show's 13th season overall, which premiered on August 28, 2016 with Cowell and Walsh, along with the return of judges Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Sherzinger, and presenter Dermot O'Leary, to X Factor UK. The X Factor UK returned for its fourth season on AXS TV, and 14th season overall, on September 3 and 4, 2017 with all four judges from the previous year returning.
the X Factor UK will returned for its fifth season on the network (15th overall) in September, 2018 with returning judges Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne (live shows only), joined by new judges One Direction's Louis Tomlinson, singer-songwriter Robbie Williams and his wife actress and TV presenter Ayda Williams.
In October 2017, AXS TV greenlit a new series starring music historian and TV and Radio host Eddie Trunk called TrunkFest with Eddie Trunk premiering in 2018. The program gives viewers a front row seat to some of the nation's biggest music festivals as Trunk travels across the country interviewing bands, visiting booths, sampling festival cuisine, and mingling with the attendees. Trunk previously hosted the documentary series Reel to Real on the network in 2016. TrunkFest with Eddie Trunk premiered on July 1, 2018 with a trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
AXS TV Fights is the brand name of AXS TV's live mixed martial arts (MMA) broadcasts on Friday nights. The network currently broadcasts events from Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA). It was formerly known as HDNet Fights.
Since 2015, the network has aired the weekly professional wrestling series New Japan Pro Wrestling on Friday nights. The series has been twice named the "Best Weekly TV Show" by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards in 2016 and 2017. AXS TV announced on May 18, 2017 that it would be the exclusive live broadcaster for NJPW's first-ever U.S. event, G1 Special in USA. The network has subsequently live broadcast each of NJPW's following live events including Strong Style Evolved on March 25, 2018 and the G1 Special in San Francisco on July 7, 2018.
AXS TV announced in February 2019 it will live broadcast the first night of the 2019 G1 Climax Tournament from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, marking the first time the tournament has been held outside of Japan.
WOW - Women of Wrestling
AXS TV announced in June 2018 that it had acquired the rights to air the all-women's professional wrestling league WOW-Women Of Wrestling. New episodes taped in October 2018 and the new season premiered on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. The organization is owned by Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, MGM Television, Mark Burnett and original GLOW founder David McLane. L.A. Comic Con was announced as a co-sponsor in August 2018.
WOW-Women Of Wrestling was renewed for a second, 24-episode season premiering in Fall 2019 at a press conference with Buss, McLane, AXS TV Fights CEO Andrew Simon, WOW World Champion Tessa Blanchard and WOW Superhero The Beast on March 6. At the press conference, McLane announced the next episode tapings will take place May 14-16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and that the opening of an all-women's wrestling school - the WOW Training Center in Long Beach, California.
The network's flagship show, AXS Live—a daily entertainment show that broadcast from the L.A. Live concert venue and aired weekly, Monday through Thursday—premiered on July 14, 2012, covering news stories in entertainment, fashion, sports, music and celebrity. AXS Live featured a revolving panel of hosts, until comedian Ryan Stout stepped in on August 12, 2013; he continued to serve as host until the final episode on October 30, 2013.
Since the tournament was founded in 2011 to 2016, AXS TV annually broadcast half of the games from the Battle 4 Atlantis Men's Division I College Basketball tournament from Paradise Island, in Nassau in the Bahamas, over Thanksgiving week.
As a part of its Winter 2016 lineup, AXS TV premiered the original music series Breaking Band which paired well-known artists with emerging musicians to mentor, then perform together. Hosted by Donovan Leitch, the first season premiered on January 24, 2016 and included episodes featuring Dave Navarro, Mark McGrath, Sebastian Bach, Robin Zander, Belinda Carlisle, and Moby.
AXS TV announced a new documentary series, to be hosted by Dan Rather, on April 16, 2014. Dan Rather Presents, an in-depth investigative journalism program focusing on challenging issues, premiered on May 6, 2014. The debut episode, One Way Ticket to Nowhere: America's Mental Health Crisis, detailed the country's medical treatment for and handling of the mentally ill. That same year, on December 5, Rather hosted a special two-hour documentary, Unwanted in America: The Shameful Side of International Adoption, examining multiple cases of failed international adoption throughout the United States, and what happens to those children who get caught in the middle.
On September 10, 2014, AXS TV announced production of an original country music-themed reality docu-series titled Discovering Lucy Angel. The 13-episode series was directed and executive produced by Jonathan "J.T." Taylor, who is known for creating the Emmy Award-winning series The Osbournes. Discovering Lucy Angel followed mother-daughter trio Lucy Angel and their family, The Andertons, as they worked together to launch their music career in Nashville. The series premiered Tuesday, January 13, 2015.
AXS TV partnered with Sharknado creator The Asylum to produce the network's first ever made-for-TV movie, conspiracy thriller Elvis Lives! which premiered on August 16, 2017. The film purports to take the legend of rock'n' roll icon Elvis Presley to the next level, wondering, "That if Elvis never really left the building?" Plagued by drug addiction and a failing voice, the King is desperate to make things right with himself, his deceased brother and God. His attempts to get back on track are thwarted, however, after he helps the cops bring down a powerful crime syndicate — putting his family in danger and sending him on a journey that will change his life forever.
In August 2015, AXS TV premiered the reality adventure web series Exploring Kaman starring NBA All-Star Chris Kaman. The six-part series chronicles Kaman and his eccentric entourage as they head out on an epic fishing trip to capture the elusive blue marlin.
Thursday nights comedians take the stage at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York to perform live on the weekly stand-up comedy series. Each broadcast features a well-known star as host who performs a live set before introducing a line-up of up-and-coming comedians. Notable hosts include Jim Breuer, Lewis Black, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, D.L. Hughley, Bobby Lee, Bill Engvall and Tim Meadows. The series, which has aired since 2012, kicked off its seventh season with hosts Cheech & Chong on January 19, 2017. The season also included hosts William Shatner, Cedric the Entertainer and Pete Davidson, among others.
In December, 2015, AXS TV announced it has acquired the first season of David Hasselhoff's U.K. scripted comedy series Hoff the Record. The first season, which premiered March 31, 2016, followed Hasselhoff, playing a fictionalized version of himself, who moves to the U.K. to get his career back on track while navigating through increasingly surreal and hilarious circumstances.
In promotion of the series debut, Hasselhoff hosted a "Hoff-A-Thon" on March 26, 2016 featuring a 30-minute special titled "Hoff on Hoff" and an hour-long, sit down interview with Dan Rather as a special episode of his AXS TV series, "The Big Interview." He also hosted the season six premiere of Gotham Comedy Live.
Inside MMA was a weekly talk show. It was the longest running and only independent MMA news series on television. Hosted by combat sports personality Mauro Ranallo and UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten, the weekly series provided an in-depth look at the world of MMA, with live breakdowns, talk, highlights, and analysis from major MMA organizations such as the UFC, Bellator, and the World Series of Fighting. Inside MMA aired its final episode on September 30, 2016, ending a 9-year, 10-season, 433-episode run.
AXS TV announced it acquired the off-network cable rights to air the first three seasons of the country music drama Nashville in June, 2015. In anticipation of the series premiere in September 2015, Dan Rather sat down with stars Connie Britton and Charles Esten for a special episode of The Big Interview. The network also acquired the fourth season of Nashville, which premiered in October 2016. The series currently airs in daytime.
AXS TV premiered the U.S. debut of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood's U.K. interview series The Ronnie Wood Show on July 11, 2018 with Wood's sit-down interview with Paul McCartney. The network aired the 11-episode first season featuring guests Alice Cooper, Ian McLagan, Slash, Kelly Jones, Mark Ronson, Bobby Gillespie, Mick Hucknall, Steve Cropper, Pattie Boyd and Toots Hibbert.
AXS TV launched Tom Green Live on October 3, 2013. Hosted by comedian Tom Green, the talk show featured interviews with celebrity guests, as well as an interactive format where viewers were invited to call in live using video chat. Comedian and Law & Order: SVU star Richard Belzer was Green's inaugural guest. Tom Green Live finished its third season—which had appearances from Steve Carell, Weird Al Yankovic, Dana Carvey, Adam Carolla and Buzz Aldrin, among others—on November 13, 2014.
HDNet Movies was launched in January 2003 as a spin-off of HDNet (now AXS TV). The network features theatrically released films and documentaries, which are presented in high definition and without commercial interruption or editing for content. Programming showcases a wide variety of films including Academy Award winners, action films, scifi films, and westerns. It regularly features special, hosted movie events such as And The Oscar Goes To... Presented by Richard Roeper, Totally 80s Month with Judge Reinhold and Rob Zombie's 13 Nights of Halloween.
HDNet Movies is available nationally on DISH, DIRECTV, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse; regionally on cable providers such as Charter Spectrum, Service Electric, Suddenlink Communications, Time Warner Spectrum, and SureWest; and on the streaming service Sling TV.