Investigation Discovery has picked up a second season of “Deadly Affairs” as the cabler continues to hone its focus on true-crime stories worthy of a soap opera storyline.
Skein, hosted by sudser vet Susan Lucci, centers on true stories of love affairs gone bad. Investigation Discovery prexy Henry Schleiff believes “Deadly Affairs” embodies the direction of ID moving forward. He’s taking aim at the female viewers who once flocked to the now-shrinking menu of daytime serials.
” ‘Deadly Affairs’ is the quintessential example of our programming in the sense that we are so much about relationships that have gone horribly wrong,” Schleiff told Variety .
This wasn’t always the case for ID. Investigation Discovery was launched in 1996 with the unwieldy moniker “Discovery Civilization Network: The World History and Geography Channel” and has undergone several rebrandings as it searches for a programming strategy that clicks with viewers.
A decade ago, the cabler was focused on programming about American history, culture and contemporary events. From 2002 and 2006, it tried a joint venture with the New York Times focusing on high-brow news, docu and historical fare. After yet another rebrand, cabler was dubbed Investigation Discovery in 2008 and featured docu-style programming rooted in crime stories.
ID has since zeroed in on the crimes-of-passion subgenre with show titles including “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?,” “Scorned: Love Kills,” “Evil Twins” and “Wicked Attraction.”
Viewers have responded well to the sudsy rebrand.
“Our stickiness speaks to the consistency of the kind of programming you know you’re going to get when you tune into ID,” Schleiff said. “We’ve become a favorite of advertisers because their spots are being seen and not skipped over.”
ID aims to make itself the literal intersection of daytime soaps and true crime stories after hiring Lucci and other soap stars to host its daytime programming block dubbed “Days of Our Knives,” which bowed in August.
“We kept having people tell us, ‘I like your programming because the shows remind me of my soaps! And you guys have real life soaps and I get the whole story in an hour, instead of several weeks, ‘ ” Schleiff said. “We finally said, ‘Why don’t we go out and find the Queen of Soap and do a dishy-like series? And then, let’s go one step further and find almost a dozen established soap opera stars and have them host programming in the afternoon where soaps usually play from 1-4 p.m.”
Lucci told Variety her fans have made the leap from soaps to ID. “I often hear them say, ‘I was such a fan of ‘All My Children,’ now I’m addicted to ‘Deadly Affairs, ‘ ” she said.
ID is, however, aware of its over-the-top programming tone, with skeins’ dramatic reenactments and tongue-in-cheek titles.
“These stories are stranger than fiction,” said Schleiff. “We specifically and strategically point out the craziness of these stories and we do it with our sardonic, little bit of a wink to our audience. The audience gets it. There’s a dark humor to this, and I think one of the things the viewers search for is a little bit of humor and lightness.”
Season two of “Deadly Affairs” will debut in summer 2013. Series is produced by Sirens Media, with Valerie Haselton Drescher, Rebecca Toth Diefenbach and Chris Nusbaum exec producing for the shingle. Pamela Deutsch is an executive producer for ID.