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History Channel skeds more originals

Cabler to unveil aggressive upfront slate

History is looking to raise its game in the 2010-11 season with a slew of new series and specials on tap.

With the tail wind of solid growth this season, the cabler has set a goal of becoming a top 5 cabler in its target demo of adults 25-54. It already cracked the top 5 in men 18-49 and men 25-54 last year, thanks to a guy-friendly lineup of skeins including “Pawn Stars,” “American Pickers,” “Ax Men” and “Ice Road Truckers.” Since 2006, the net’s median age has dropped four years to 48.

The cabler’s ratings spike and expansion of its traditional programming skew has been impressive enough to land History prexy and g.m. Nancy Dubuc a promotion to overseeing the Lifetime cabler as well for A&E Television Networks, parent entity of History and Lifetime ( Daily Variety , April 28).

For next season, History will sked another 15 original series and 10 “tentpole” specials, which Dubuc and others will tout to advertisers Wednesday at the cabler’s upfront event in Gotham.

The speshes include a biography of Ronald Reagan to coincide with the centennial of his birth next year, and a two-hour study of Thomas Jefferson. “Voices from Inside the Towers” is a look at people who made cell phone calls from inside the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on 9/11.

Among skeins to preem in the third and fourth quarter this year:

  • “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded”: A study of secret messages found in codes and symbols present in everyday life (10 episodes, Go-Go Luckey and Berman Braun).

  • “Chasing Mummies”: Follows archeologist Zahi Hawass as he supervises numerous digs in Egypt (10 episodes, Greif Co.)

  • “Stan Lee’s Superhumans”: A search for people with genetic quirks that give them unusual physical abilities (Eight episodes, Off the Fence Prods.)

  • Swamp People”: Follows alligator hunters in Louisiana bayou country (10 episodes, Original Media)

  • “Vigilante Inspector”: Engineer Timothy Galarnyk inspects the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure (10 episodes, Original Prods.)

Also set for first quarter next year is “Around the World in 80 Days,” a 10-seg order from Original Prods. in which three hosts engage in a race around the world.

History’s previously announced programming for the coming season includes a “Kennedys” miniseries and a U.S. spin on the British auto testing series “Top Gear.” And History will enter into the competish reality format for the first time with “Top Shot,” an elimination-style contest among marksmen.

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