HD-Net to become AXS

Just when I was about to publish my six-part piece praising HD-Net as becoming the true Man’s Channel (sorry, Spike), they go and partner with AEG/Ryan Seacrest/CAA to change their name/focus and become AXS (pronounced “Kardasian”) TV, a channel (or channels) which will feature red carpet, crappy reality shows and celebrity/pop culture.

In other words, they’re becoming the E! Network. Sort of. As of July 2nd.

I understand wanting to expand your reach, and this new group is powerful, and far-reaching. Their content will be seen by a lot more people once their transformation is complete. And, yes, a good amount of that content will be created by Seacrest Productions, the people that brought you the Kardasians. Ugh.

So what does this mean for MMA fans?
If you’ve been watching Inside MMA, you’ve seen the AXS logo on set. Perhaps you noticed the logo on the mat during one of their HD-Net fights broadcasts. The good thing about it happening now is that MMA is on the rise. Thanks to the UFC on Fox deal and Viacom buying Bellator, MMA’s profile is much higher than at any other time, perhaps aside from the period where it was banned for being too violent. (McCain…)

There’s some surprisingly good news. They’ve announced that Inside MMA and HD-Net Fights will continue to be produced, and with the larger reach of the new partnership, not only will AXS bring MMA into more homes, but they should be able to offer more regional event coverage as well. As long as MMA remains popular and brings in ratings, AXS should carry it.

As for the other shows on the channel…
I think you can say goodbye several of their shows that feature scantily-clad women… and hello to more “pop-reality” programming. There should be a lot more concerts, given AEG’s stable of clients, but they’ll skew less toward rock & roll and more toward current and pop.

And maybe… maybe… a Kardasian.