Destination America Will Unveil 9/11 Special

Destination America will burnish a new road-trip special as well as a documentary highlighting a heroic 9/11 rescue as part of its coming programming slate.

The new road-trip documentary, “Epic America,” will debut Tuesday, May 5. Viewers will be taken on a tour of the nation from the Mississippi River to the Everglades and the Grand Canyon. The other special, “9/11: The Lost Hero,” will tell the story of Jason Thomas, identified as the mysterious unknown soldier responsible for what the network bills as “the most incredible rescue mission of 9/11.”

The Discovery Communications-owned cable outlet, which added professional wrestling to its schedule last year, is in the process of trying to grow its reach as a general-entertainment-focused cable network by “celebrating the people, places and stories of America,” said Destination America general manager Marc Etkind in an interview. In the past year, the network saw the amount of ad revenue it collected in 2014 rise 16.4% to about $55.4 million, according to SNL Kagan, compared with $47.6 million in 2013. The amount it collects per subscriber per month rose to 9 cents in 2014, compared with 7 cents last year.

Since launching in 2013, the network has found success attracting attention from food marketers and home-related advertisers, but it would like to gain more interest from automotive companies, said Dan Hahn, VP of ad sales for Destination America.

“I think we have a range of emotions on our network and, obviously, it’s a solemn day,” said Etkind, when asked if the 9/11 special was more somber in tone than the network’s typical fare. “But the story itself is one of heroism, and that’s something we can all applaud and want to honor.”

The network will unveil two new series: “Buying the Rockies,” which follows people looking to leave behind conventional homes and instead purchase a log cabin in the Rocky Mountains, and “Alaska Haunting,” which examines scary ghost stories told against the backdrop of frigid winter weather and remote locales.

Wrestling will continue at the network, which will also unveil a special all-star edition of “BBQ Pitmasters.”

Other returning series include “Ghost Asylum,” “Mountain Monsters,” “BBQ Pit Wars,” “Alaska Monsters,” “Railroad Alaska” and “A Haunting.” The network’s annual “Red White and You” special celebrating Independence Day will also return.

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