The network originally launched in 1999 as The Biography Channel, as an offshoot of A&E and named after its television series Biography. As such, it originally featured factual programs, such as reruns of its namesake. As A&E shifted its focus towards reality television and drama series, the Biography Channel became the home for several series that had been displaced by the flagship network (including Biography itself), but shifted towards reality-oriented series itself in 2007 and was rebranded as simply Bio. In 2014, the channel was rebranded as FYI.
FYI is available to 69.0 million households in America as of January 2016.
The channel was launched on January 1, 1999, as The Biography Channel. A&E Television Networks (now A+E Networks, and operated as a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company, the Hearst Corporation and NBC at the time) conceived the channel as an offshoot of the long-running A&E profile series Biography. In addition to airing biographical shows, the network aired fictional, non-biographical programs that were previously seen on A&E, including Murder, She Wrote and Sherlock Holmes; the scripted programming was dropped from the channel in 2007.
On October 1, 2000, A&E Networks expanded its British partnership with British Sky Broadcasting with the launch of a UK market Biography Channel.
In August 2006, The Biography Channel became the exclusive home for the Biography series, as it was dropped by A&E. Another 64 hours of the show was ordered for its first year on the channel. In 2007, Biography Channel unveiled a new on-air brand—identifying the network simply as "Bio". The changes came as the network shifted its scope to de-emphasize traditional biographical programs in favor of "true stories about fascinating people", such as the series Shatner's Raw Nerve, hosted by William Shatner.
Bio had been stagnating since A+E's 2013 upfront presentation as little focus was placed upon it. Bio was generating 12 cents per subscriber from the video provider, about half the industry average. After tweaking the three main A+E channels, Bio averaged viewers of 91,000 adults 25–54 in prime compared to what A&E (716,000) and History (703,000) managed over the same period.Jana Bennett was hired as president of LMN and Bio in June 2013 and, having transformed TLC from an educational channel to a lifestyle network, was considered an indication that adding a lifestyle channel to the A+E portfolio was a possibility. An opening in the genre occurred as the Style Network became the men-focused Esquire Network. While preparing to launch FYI, Bio began re-airing A&E's house-flipping shows and 30 potential shows were placed in development.
The typeface FYI Sans that was created for the 2014 renaming
In December 2013, A+E Networks announced that The Biography Channel would be rebranded as FYI, a contemporary lifestyle network, starting in mid 2014. By February, FYI had a slate of six new series including three food series, two home design series, and one style series, with other shows also in development, including pilot orders of Red Hot Design and Jennifer's Way. In April, Midnight Feast was greenlit for the new channel while two others—Say It To My Face and Reverse Course—were ordered to pilot.
With the June 2014 announcement of the 2015 end of the ABC Owned Television Stations-run digital network Live Well Network, some of its programming was being offered to FYI, which shared partial ABC ownership. The network launched on July 7, 2014, with a preview special, FYI: First Look, featuring previews of the network's new programming. Its first new original series, Married at First Sight, premiered the next day.
In January 2015, following the success of its Six Months Later special, FYI ordered Married at First Sight: The First Year.
In January 2016, FYI named Paul Greenberg as Executive Vice-President and General Manager.
Current FYI programming
Epic Meal Empire – produced by The Collective and Nexttime Productions, based on the "Epic Meal Time" YouTube show.
B.O.R.N. to Style – produced by Left/Right; features style makeovers at the Harlem-based boutique, B.O.R.N. (Borrowed, Old, Refurbished, and New).
Rowhouse Showdown – produced by Jane Street Entertainment in which three teams compete to increase the house and neighborhood value via the renovation of an "identical urban homes in dilapidated neighborhoods".
Married At First Sight: The First Year (January 15, 2015)
Zombie House Flipping – follows Justin Stamper and his team of house renovators in Orlando, Florida. A "Zombie House" is an industry term for a rundown home that is devaluing a neighborhood. Stamper and his team, Ashlee Casserly (realtor), Keith Ori (builder), and Peter Duke (designer), search for such homes and renovate them. The show first aired on January 30, 2016, and ran for eight episodes.
Scraps – follows chef Joel Gamoran as he travels across the U.S. creating meals in unexpected places, using food waste and scraps.
The Feed – produced by Giants Pirates with Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, The Taste judge Marcus Samuelsson and comedian and food-blogger Max Silvestri as a traveling road show looking into the American food culture and its new trends. Originally to be a launch program (on July 12, 2014), The Feed was pushed back to a summer start.
Midnight Feast – produced by Nerd TV and hosted by Chef Spike Mendelsohn; a competitive cooking show in which three chefs use New York's Chelsea Market as an ingredient source, where the winning chef gets a cash prize while the losers pay their grocery bills.
Red Hot Design – features a team led by designer and artist Shasta Smith making upscale art and furniture from unusual materials and produced by Cineflix Productions.
Jennifer's Way – produced by Atlas Media; features Jennifer Esposito, an actress who entered the food business with a gluten-free bakery, as she attempts to expand beyond the single NYC location into cookbooks, packaged goods and franchised locations.
Say It To My Face – produced by Pie Town Productions; restaurant owners and chefs and their online critics meet to defend their position. Then under the aid of co-hosts Andrew Gruel and Anthony Dispensa, the restaurant gets a makeover.
Reverse Course – produced by Stick Figure Studios and hosted by chef and restaurateur Sam Talbot; from the finished meal then going in reverse to cooking, preparation and local sourcing.
Despite the relaunch, international versions of The Biography Channel exist in some regions. An international version of The Biography Channel previously operated in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Israel, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, but has since been replaced by other channels. The Australian channel was closed in 2015. The Canadian version, operated under license by Rogers Media, was replaced by Viceland in February 2016.
Canada: As part of a licensing agreement with Shaw Media, their lifestyle channel, Twist TV, was rebranded as a Canadian version of FYI in September 2014.
Latin America: The Latin American version aired the same programming and used the same logo as the former U.S. flagship channel and it was operated by the HBO Latin America Group subsidiary of Time Warner under a brand licensing agreement with A&E Networks. In July 2014, The Biography Channel was replaced by H2.
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