Discovery Channel (formerly The Discovery Channel) is an American satellite and cable specialty channel (also delivered via IPTV, terrestrial television and internet television in other parts of the world), founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav. It provides documentary television programming focused primarily on popular science, technology, and history. In the U.S., the programming for the main Discovery network is primarily focused on reality television themes, such as speculative investigation (with shows such as MythBusters, Unsolved History, and Best Evidence), automobiles, and occupations (Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch); it also features documentaries specifically aimed at families and younger audiences. A popular annual feature is Shark Week….On June 17, 1985, The Discovery Channel was launched with $5 million in start-up capital from several investors (including BBC, Allen & Company and Venture America). It was initially available to 156,000 households and broadcasted for 12 hours between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. About 75 percent of its content had never before aired on U.S. TV.John Hendricks founded the channel and its parent company, Cable Educational Network Inc., in 1982.
In its early years, the channel broadcast some Soviet programming, including the news program Vremya.In 1988, the channel premiered the nightly program World Monitor (produced by The Christian Science Monitor). The first Shark Week occurred in 1988 and has since returned annually. By 1990, the channel was available in over 50 million households.
On January 4, 2006, Discovery Communications announced anchor Ted Koppel, executive producer Tom Bettag and eight other former Nightline staff were joining Discovery Channel.
The network’s ratings recovered in 2006, after a drop widely attributed to an over-reliance on a few hit series such as Monster Garage and American Chopper. Some critics[who?] said such shows strayed from Discovery’s mold[clarification needed] of helping viewers learn about the world around them. In 2005, Discovery changed its lineup to focus on themes of popular science and history.The network was nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006 for shows including The Flight that Fought Back (about United Airlines Flight 93) and Deadliest Catch (about crabs).
In 2007, Discovery Channel’s top series included the Emmy-award winning Planet Earth, Dirty Jobs, MythBusters and Deadliest Catch. Discovery Channel’s 2008 lineup included Fight Quest and Smash Lab
Discovery Channel is (as of June 2012) the second most widely distributed cable network in the United States, behind TBS. As of June 2012, it is available in 409 million households worldwide.
On September 1, 2010, a man entered Discovery Communications headquarters with a handgun, fired at least one shot, held hostages, and was shot dead by police.He had published criticisms of the network at SaveThePlanetProtest.com.