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Investigation Discovery

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Investigation Discovery
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersSilver Spring, Maryland, U.S.[1]
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
OwnerWarner Bros. Discovery
ParentWarner Bros. Discovery Networks
Sister channels
LaunchedOctober 7, 1996; 27 years ago (1996-10-07)
Former names
  • Time Traveler (prelaunch, 1994–1996)
  • Discovery Civilization Network
  • (1996–1998)
  • Discovery Civilization Channel
  • (1998–2003)
  • Discovery Times
  • (2003–2008)
Streaming media
Affiliated Streaming ServiceMax
Service(s)Philo, YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, Vidgo, FuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV

Investigation Discovery, stylized and branded on-air as ID since 2008, is an American multinational pay television network dedicated to true crime documentaries owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The network is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

As of November 2023, ID is available to approximately 69,000,000 pay television households in the United States-down from its 2015 peak of 86,000,000 households.[2]


20th century[edit]

The channel launched in 1996 under the name Discovery Civilization Network: The World History and Geography Channel. It was one of four digital cable companion networks; Discovery Travel & Living Network, Discovery Science Network and Discovery Kids were rolled out by Discovery Communications simultaneously in October 1996.[3] Plans for the channel had surfaced in November 1994, when its working name was Time Traveler.[4]

21st century[edit]

In April 2002, New York Times Television and Discovery Communications announced a joint venture to run the Discovery Civilization Channel. By then, it was available in 14 million households. The partnership aimed to complement the historical shows, with programming about current events and contemporary history.[5] On March 25, 2003, the channel was rebranded as Discovery Times, focusing more on the culture of the United States, as well as other miscellaneous programming. The previous name was described as "a little off-message" by executives.[6]

In April 2006, The New York Times sold its stake in Discovery Times back to Discovery Communications, ending its ownership in the channel.[7] Despite this, "Times" was kept in the channel's name until January 27, 2008, when Discovery Times was relaunched as Investigation Discovery (ID), oriented towards true crime programs.[8]

In 2016, owing to a resurgence in popularity within the true crime genre, ID was the second-highest-rated cable network among women 25–54.[9] In 2018, ID was the sixth-highest-rated basic cable network in full-day viewership.[10]

On April 12, 2020, Investigation Discovery introduced a new logo, placing a greater focus on the "ID" initialism to make it better-suited for multi-platform use.[11]

In December 2022, the team responsible for ID also took over responsibility for HLN, formerly CNN Headline News, which became a sibling channel following the merger that formed Warner Bros. Discovery earlier that year. That channel had gradually shifted to a similar true crime-focused format since the mid-2010s, dropping its last original news programs at the same time as the management change, and had already begun airing repeats of ID programming such as Hometown Homicide shortly after the WBD merger.[12]


Most of ID's programs are original productions, but it also airs re-titled off-network reruns, including ABC's 20/20, CBS' 48 Hours, and NBC’s Dateline.

ID's longest-running series is On the Case with Paula Zahn which debuted in 2009. Other long-running shows on the network include Disappeared and Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda.

On June 7, 2015, ID aired its first ever scripted mini-series; Serial Thriller: Angel of Decay chronicled the investigation of convicted (and later executed) serial killer Ted Bundy. A second installment, Serial Thriller: The Chameleon, premiered as a two-part miniseries in December 2015, chronicling the crimes that resulted in the execution of American serial killer Stephen Morin. A third installment, Serial Thriller: The Headhunter, about serial killer Edmund Kemper (which possibly includes the story of serial killer Herbert Mullin), premiered on February 20, 2016.

International versions[edit]

  • Canada
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • India (Asia Pacific) (Closed on February 1, 2018, relaunched on January 13, 2020)
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • France (as Discovery Investigation)
  • Russia (Closed on March 9, 2022)[13]
  • South Africa
  • Vietnam (2005-2007)


  1. ^ Investigation Discovery at CBInsights
  2. ^ "U.S. cable network households (universe), 1990 – 2023". wrestlenomics.com. May 14, 2024. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Kirchdoerffer, Ed (April 1, 1999). "Digital Play in the U.S. of A." Realscreen. Archived from the original on April 20, 2023. Retrieved September 17, 2023. Discovery was the first non-fiction channel to embrace digital cable services. Home & Leisure, Science, Civilization, and Kids launched in October 1996.
  4. ^ "Discovery plans launch of four newly created nets. (Discovery Communications Inc.)". Multichannel News. November 1994.
  5. ^ "The New York Times Company and Discovery Communications, Inc. Announce Joint Venture in Discovery Civilization Channel" (Press release). The New York Times Company. April 5, 2002.
  6. ^ "'Civilization' Seeks Current-Affairs Niche". Multichannel News. November 4, 2002.
  7. ^ "Discovery Times to Sell Stake". New York Observer. April 13, 2006. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2008.
  8. ^ "Discovery Investigates". Newsday. January 26, 2008. Archived from the original on January 29, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2008.
  9. ^ "The Oxygen Channel Is Becoming A True-Crime, All The Time Network". HuffPost. July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  10. ^ "2018 Year-End Cable Ranker: Fox News, MSNBC, Hallmark Channel Are Among Top Networks to Also Post Audience Growth". TVNewser. January 3, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  11. ^ Lafayette, Jon (April 12, 2020). "Investigation Discovery Adopts Updated 'ID'". Broadcasting Cable. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  12. ^ Weprin, Alex (December 1, 2022). "CNN Chief Outlines Cuts: HLN Slashed, International Reorganized, "Core" News Product In Focus". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  13. ^ "WarnerMedia and Discovery join the stampede of businesses leaving Russia". CNN. March 9, 2022.

External links[edit]