The Military Channel (search) is reporting for duty.
It's the newest spinoff cable channel from Discovery Networks (search), which next week converts its Wings channel to The Military Channel, the nation's first TV network devoted to all things military.
The switch, which will take place officially at 8 p.m. EST (20:00 in military time) on Monday, Jan. 10, will be reflected in new logos and graphics, as well as new programming.
The new channel will take up residence on Time Warner Cable's digital tier at Ch. 112, the current home of Discovery Wings.
The Military Channel's first show will be "Task Force Red Dog," a one-hour special about a unit of Marine Corps reservists called up to active duty and sent to the "front lines" in the War on Terror in Afghanistan.
"Our reason for being is to tell stories, which is what Discovery and our family of networks have done for 20 years," said David Karp, senior vice president and general manager of Discovery Wings and the officer who is leading the charge in retooling the channel for military use.
Other shows planned so far are "Delta Company," a two-hour look at a U.S. tank battalion on the road to Baghdad in the Iraq war (Jan. 10, 9 p.m. EST); "Top Ten," a series of specials ranking the top technological innovations in military history (Jan. 28, 8 p.m. EST); and "The Blue Angels: A Year in the Life," a four-hour world-premiere documentary about the Navy's elite flying group (March 17 and 18).
By creating the Military Channel, Discovery is actually broadening the programming seen on Wings, which has focused specifically on civil, commercial and military aviation.
"We're always looking at ways of growing our channels and our businesses," Karp said. "Discovery Wings included quite a lot of military-related programming — probably 50 percent.
"We have heard from viewers for some time of their interest in military programming."
The Military Channel's programs will focus on both historical and contemporary military topics. But Karp takes care to explain that Discovery is not taking a stand for or against military activities.
"The channel is not about taking political sides," he said. "We're about telling stories of people and of technology, but not about the political context or political ramifications. We are not a news outlet. If people want news [and] commentary, there are other outlets for that."
Given mankind's long history of warfare, Karp believes there will never be a shortage of programs for the new Military Channel.
"One thing that is a truism is that the military and military activity have been with us since the beginning of time," he said. "It's sort of a constant — fortunately or unfortunately."