Celebrating 250 Years of American History: A Multiplatform Initiative by The HISTORY Channel

By A+E Networks InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Celebrating 250 Years of American History: A Multiplatform Initiative by The HISTORY Channel

To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States, A+E Networks' The HISTORY Channel is set to launch History Honors 250, a dynamic two-year multiplatform content initiative. Led by Eli Lehrer, Executive Vice President of Programming at The HISTORY Channel, History Honors 250 endeavors to curate 250 diverse and captivating stories that chronicle America's transformative journey since the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

What is History Honors 250?

History Honors 250 is more than just a collection of stories, it embodies the enduring spirit of America. The initiative will feature narratives encapsulating pivotal moments, influential figures, and groundbreaking achievements in American history.

"The Declaration of Independence articulated so many firsts that it was an interesting lens to apply to the next 250 years of American history," said Lehrer. That lens will guide the exploration of breakthroughs, achievements, and unsung heroes while allowing the initiative to celebrate all facets of American history. "We've found that the audience has really responded when we've identified topics that remind us of our common national experience," Lehrer said.

The stories will be narrated by distinguished historians, leaders, and celebrities guiding viewers through this historical journey. The series will feature diverse content, including short-form videos, partnerships with renowned museums and organizations, live events, long-form documentaries, social media activations, and educational initiatives.

The content will be accessible across various platforms, including on-air, digital, social media, free ad-supported channels, streaming services, and additional distribution platforms.

Scheduled to launch from February 2025 to August 2026, History Honors 250 strategically aligns itself with the 250th anniversary of the United States. "If The HISTORY Channel isn't going to celebrate this moment, who is?" asked Lehrer.

Navigating the Political Landscape: A Respite for Viewers

With the initiative following an election year, Lehrer emphasized 'History Honors 250's role as a reprieve from the political tumult. For their audience, The HISTORY Channel has always been a respite. While acknowledging the darker chapters of American history, the initiative primarily focuses on celebrating what has made America exceptional. "The larger spirit of the initiative will be to celebrate what has made America so unique and impactful over these past 250 years," said Lehrer. This inspiring content is an opportunity to unite the audience through stories that remind them of the nation's common experiences, transcending political divisions.

Content Delivery and Educational Outreach

The content will be delivered through a variety of platforms, allowing these stories to come to life in a myriad of ways.

Premium, historical mega documentaries such as Kevin Costner's The West and Sitting Bull will anchor this initiative. Kevin Costner's The West is an eight-episode series that will transcend the clichés and myths about the American frontier. Executive produced by renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the series will uncover the stories of trailblazers, law enforcers, and pivotal battles defining this profound transformation era. Another mega documentary that will be part of the initiative is Sitting Bull. Executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, this docuseries chronicles the life and legacy of the great Hunkpapa Lakota Chief who famously defeated General George Custer's regiment at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. These tentpoles will have additional content pieces that live across platforms.

Beyond captivating narratives like Kevin Costner's The West and Sitting Bull, History Honors 250 will also be integrated with The HISTORY Channel's long-standing HISTORY Classroom platform, which offers resources for educators, including curated curriculums, learning tools, and educational guides for middle and high schools. This integration will provide an array of content and stories to inspire students and facilitate deeper learning experiences.

'How Can Brands Join the History Honors 250 Celebration?

From sponsored content to bespoke custom pieces, there are myriad ways for brands to align with The HISTORY Channel on this monumental initiative. "History Honors 250 provides a positive, unifying platform for brands to not just celebrate our country's finding but incorporate their own brand stories," said David DeSocio, Executive Vice President of Ad Sales Marketing & Partnerships at A+E Networks. "From food to autos to retailers, our initial conversations with clients have uncovered some fascinating stories of how iconic American brands were, and are, part of the ongoing story of our nation and its progress."

The celebratory nature of the content will give brands a chance to reconnect with their audience through shared history.

History Honors 250 is poised to redefine how its audience commemorates and celebrates the rich tapestry of American history. With Lehrer's passion for storytelling and the diverse array of content formats, History Honors 250 promises to be an immersive and enlightening experience for viewers, while offering a unique platform for brands to participate in celebrating America's remarkable journey over the past 250 years.

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