Viceland (U.S. TV channel)

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Launched 1996; 22 years ago (1996)
Owned by Vice Media, A&E Networks
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
Slogan It's a TV channel
Country United States
Language English
Headquarters Brooklyn, New York
Formerly called History International (1996–2011)
H2 (2011–2016)
DirecTV Channel 271 (HD/SD)
Dish Network Channel 121 (HD/SD)
Available on most American cable providers Channel slots may vary on each operator
Verizon FiOS Channel 127 (SD)
Channel 697 (HD)
AT&T U-verse Channel 257 (SD)
Channel 1257(HD)
Google Fiber Channel 2 (SD)
Channel 238 (HD)

Viceland (stylized as VICELAND; formerly History International and then H2) is an American pay television channel owned by a joint venture majority-owned by A&E Networks (who owns a 10% stake in Vice Media, alongside a separate 10% stake owned directly by A&E's co-owner Disney). It is based on the now-defunct Canadian version of the channel.

Launching in 1996 as History International, a spin-off of A&E Networks' History Channel, the channel focused on international history. It re-launched as H2 in September 2011, primarily carrying reruns of documentary programming previously seen on its parent network from the mid-2000s onward, original historical and popular science documentaries, and pseudo-scientific entertainment programs. The channel re-launched on February 29, 2016 as an American home of Viceland.

Operating under the creative direction of film director Spike Jonze, Viceland has a focus on lifestyle-oriented documentary and reality series aimed towards millennials, leveraging the resources of Vice's verticals with new original series, along with adaptations of and reruns of existing Vice web series. The network's launch programs featured programs hosted by existing Vice personalities such as Action Bronson and Thomas Morton, as well as notable figures such as Eddie Huang, Ellen Page, and Lance Bangs.


History International (1996–2011)[edit]

The network launched in 1996 as History International (abbreviated as "HI" or variations on "H-INT"). It originally focused mainly on programs and specials focusing on world history. History International occasionally featured shows in languages other than English, such as French or Spanish for use with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's Cable in the Classroom initiative. By 2010, this was reduced to an hour-long Spanish language program on weekday mornings titled El Canal de Historia (the English translation of The History Channel).

H2 (2011–2016)[edit]

On September 26, 2011, the network was rebranded as H2, with its programming being refocused to feature documentary content from sister network History prior to that network's shift towards more reality programming, along with original programs (such as the special The Universe: Beyond the Big Bang and the first-run series America's Book of Secrets[1]), as well as exclusive new episodes of the former History series The Universe, Ancient Aliens and Modern Marvels, in addition to international-focused programming. H2 does not have plans to add reality series as its sister channel has done.[2] Newer documentaries more recently seen on History migrated to the network as part of the rebrand, which will rotate with the documentaries from History International that primarily span from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

Viceland (2016–present)[edit]

In August 2014, A&E Networks acquired a 10% stake in Vice Media.[3] On November 3, 2015, A&E Networks officially announced that Vice would "take over" its channel H2 and re-launch it as a new service, Viceland, "as early as" February 2016.[4][5][6] Vice Media CEO Shane Smith stated that the channel was the "next step in the evolution of our brand and the first step in our global rollout of networks around the world", signifying that Vice would now be "platform-agnostic" with the addition of television to Vice's traditionally digital media-oriented strategy, and be capable of producing high-quality media.[5] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Smith explained that, despite Vice traditionally being oriented towards digital content, "75 percent of the world's advertising budget" was being spent on television advertising, and that partnering with an established media company gave Vice access to A&E's infrastructure and the 70 million homes that already received H2, rather than having to build Viceland entirely from scratch and negotiate carriage with providers.[7][8]

A&E Networks handles the distribution and operations of Viceland, and assists in advertising sales. Vice holds a 49% minority stake and control of international expansions.[7] Smith stated that the network planned to "test new and innovative monetization strategies", including a goal for only 10 minutes of commercial advertising per-hour, and to leverage Vice's existing production capabilities and experience with native advertising to produce sponsored short-form content for advertisers to air in lieu of traditional commercials.[5][7][9]

The Walt Disney Company, who co-owns A&E Networks with Hearst Corporation, made a second 10% investment of $200 million in Vice Media to support the production of new programming.[10]

Prior to launch day, Vice ran newspaper ads for Viceland, containing only the network's name and a phone number that, when called, invited viewers to contribute answers to questions. On February 29, 2016 at 6:00 a.m. ET, the channel began broadcasting a countdown clock to the official relaunch as Viceland later in the evening, accompanied by footage of Vice executives answering the viewer-contributed calls as voice mail. The network's first program following the official launch was the series premiere of Noisey, following hip-hop musician Kendrick Lamar.[8][11][12][13][14][15]


Viceland's programming consists primarily of lifestyle-oriented documentaries and reality series aimed towards millennials, directed in Vice's trademark style of "character-driven documentaries".[16][7] Creative director Spike Jonze stated that his goal for Viceland was to make its lineup have "a reason to exist and a strong point of view", rather than be just a "collection of shows". Jonze explained that Viceland would continue to reflect Vice's core mission of "trying to understand the world we live in by producing pieces about things we're curious about or confused about or that we think are funny. And if it doesn't have a strong point of view, then it shouldn't be on this channel."[5] Smith stated that the channel's main goal was "trying not to be shitty".[7] Viceland will focus primarily on lifestyle content; Vice News content will remain largely exclusive to Vice's existing joint venture with HBO.[7] Jonze stated that unlike the HBO content, Viceland would be "far from objective [reporting]".[12]

Thirty different programs were developed for Viceland, including original series and expanded versions of existing Vice's web series.[8] Original programs announced for the initial slate included Thomas Morton's Balls Deep, Flophouse— a series where Lance Bangs follows the lives of up-and-coming comedians at underground stand-up events,[17] Fuck, That's Delicious— a television version of the food-oriented web series starring Action Bronson,[18] Gaycation— a series in which Ellen Page explores the LGBT cultures of different regions,[19] Huang's World— featuring Eddie Huang "exploring identity using food as an equalizer", King of the Road— a series following skaters on Thrasher Magazine's annual scavenger hunt,[20] States of Undress— a series focusing on fashion weeks around the world,[21] the music documentary series Noisey, Vice World of Sports, and Weediquette— which focuses on the mainstream cannabis culture and industry.[5][13][22] Blocks of existing short-form content from Vice (Vice Lab) are also featured,[23] along with other, acquired content— such as Friday-night airings of cult films accompanied by Vice Guide to Film documentaries on their directors.[7][12] 10 of the 30 original programs planned were produced in Canada, including Cyberwar— which focuses on cyberterrorism, and Dead Set on Life— an expansion of Matty Matheson's food-oriented web series Keep It Canada.[8]

A month after Viceland's initial launch, the network announced a second slate of shows, including Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch ‘Ancient Aliens’—a series in which Action Bronson watches episodes of Ancient Aliens with guests whilst smoking marijuana,[24] Black Market— a series in which Michael K. Williams explores underground economies around the world, the U.S. premieres of Cyberwar and Dead Set on Life,[25] Party Legends— a show about re-enactments of entertaining party stories,[26] WOMAN— a series in which Gloria Steinam features the lives of different women around the world,[27] and VICE Does America— which Abdullah Saeed and two VICE co-workers explore forgotten places of the world.[28]

Jonze stated that Viceland's original programs will have varying lengths, stating that "some are four episodes. Some are six. Some are eight. We're making everything based on what feels right", and that extended episodes may be possible if warranted.[13]

On May 3, 2016, Vice announced a partnership with ESPN (a fellow Disney/Hearst venture) to produce sports-oriented content for its properties. The deal also includes some content-sharing between ESPN and Viceland, such as encore airings of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentaries on Viceland, and airings of Vice World of Sports on ESPN.[29] In June 2016, Viceland broadcast live coverage of the Governors Ball Music Festival.


As of January 2016, H2 was available to 70.1 million households in the United States.[30]


In August 2016, it was reported that average viewership of Viceland's programming was down by nearly half over H2 (in a period from November 28 to December 15, 2016, the network had average primetime viewership of 58,000 in the 18-49 demographic, down from 95,600 one year prior under H2). However, the median demographics of the network were beginning to skew younger than H2, and some premieres had achieved upwards of 100,000 viewers. A&E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc defended the numbers, stating that the network's goal was to "attract an audience that is not watching much TV," and that they were "trying to pivot the conversation away from just purely ratings"—noting that Viceland had already received several Emmy nominations for its programs within its first three months of operation.[31][32]

Year-over-year, Viceland lost 42% of its viewership in 2017 compared to 2016.[33]


  1. ^ America's Book of Secrets
  2. ^ EXCLUSIVE: New Network Name Becomes History - Additional programming planned as H2 replaces HI Broadcasting & Cable, September 2, 2011
  3. ^ Paul Bond. "A&E Networks Buying Minority Stake in Vice Media". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Viceland, a New Cable Channel, Aims to Stand Out". The New York Times. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e "It's Official: Vice Channel to Take Over A+E Networks' History Spinoff H2". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "A+E Networks' H2 To Be Rebranded As Vice". Deadline. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Vice's Shane Smith Asks, "You Think I Could Hoodwink Bob Iger, Jeff Bewkes and Rupert Murdoch?"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d "How a little magazine called VICE conquered the media world: Welcome to Viceland". Montreal Gazette. Postmedia. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "Vice Media Launches Its Own Cable-TV Channel". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  10. ^ Ember, Sydney (December 8, 2015). "Disney Invests $200 Million More in Vice Media to Support New Programming". New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  11. ^ "To Get People To Watch Viceland On TV, Vice Uses A Newspaper". Variety. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "Spike Jonze on new TV channel Viceland: Where the wild shows are". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "Here's How Viceland Plans to Lure Millennials Back to TV". Adweek. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  14. ^ "Viceland Makes Its Cable Debut". Multichannel News. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  15. ^ "Vancouver rapper and filmmaker Jay Worthy helps viewers see Compton through the eyes of Kendrick Lamar". The Province. Postmedia. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  16. ^ "Viceland content will be made in Canada, for a global audience". Canadian Business. Rogers Media. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  17. ^ "Viceland's Flophouse trailer explores the on- and offstage lives of comedians". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  18. ^ "Action Bronson". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  19. ^ "Take a Visual 'Gaycation' with Ian Daniel – Format Magazine".
  20. ^ "April Premiere Dates For New And Returning TV Shows |". 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  21. ^ Garced, Kristi (2016-03-30). "Hailey Gates Talks New Docuseries, 'States of Undress'". Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  22. ^ "Action Bronson Eats His Way Across America in "Fuck, That's Delicious" Season Premiere". Pitchfork. Conde Nast. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  23. ^ "What Is Viceland? One Millennial's Underwhelming Morning Watching The Hippest Network On Cable TV". International Business Times. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  24. ^ Capossela, Francesca (3 August 2016). "How Action Bronson Ended Up Getting High and Watching 'Ancient Aliens'". Vice. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  25. ^ Prudom, Laura (2016-05-13). "Viceland Renews Five Shows, Including Ellen Page's 'Gaycation,' Picks Up Five More". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  26. ^ Pedersen, Erik (2016-05-09). "Summer Premiere & Return Dates: 2016 Edition". Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  27. ^ Ryzik, Melena (2016-05-04). "Gloria Steinem Brings Feminism to Viceland". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  28. ^ Pedersen, Erik (2016-05-09). "Summer Premiere & Return Dates: 2016 Edition". Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  29. ^ "ESPN, Vice Team Up in Sports-Programming Pact". Variety. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  30. ^ "Cable Network Coverage Area Household Universe Estimates: January 2016".
  31. ^ Schwindt, Oriana (2016-12-22). "2016 TV Ratings: 'This Is Us,' 'Walking Dead,' NFL, OWN Among Winners and Losers". Variety. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  32. ^ "Viceland Pulling Half of H2's Ratings — But Skewing 17 Years Younger". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  33. ^

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