There’s a misconception that edgy and risky content is what drives Hollywood and draws viewers. But what’s in high demand throughout America is family and faith-friendly content, said the founder of Up Entertainment.
Charley Humbard, founder and president of UP Entertainment (UP TV), home of the series “Heartland,” said there are over 40 million people in America who want wholesome content on TV.
Since the network’s launch in 2004, Humbard’s mission has been to entertain, uplift and inspire viewers.
His passion to create safe family-friendly content came from his childhood.
“The way I grew up with my father, that definitely had an influence on the way I see entertainment and the power it can have to draw an audience,” Humbard told The Christian Post after “Heartland” premiered on July 25.
The UP leader is the son of Rex Humbard, one of the nation’s first televangelists who pioneered his way in the entertainment business with a message of faith.
“Dad was always really great about combining great music and quality production with a message,” he said of his father’s ministry which “saved his life.” “I think a lot of what I still have in my approach to how I create UP today and what our brand stands for comes a lot from my youth and my childhood and experience firsthand of seeing the impact of music and entertainment, and quality production, combined with a message from that.”
The channel is fully distributed in 70 million households and according to a statement shared with CP, viewers rank UP as the No. 1 most trusted entertainment network, and it is a top 10 network for co-viewing.
The channel viewers are called the “UPsiders” and Humbard said that is a group of more than 40 million Americans, according to research done “in conjunction with Nielsen” and other research studies.
“We just completed the fifth phase of that research and interviewed over 20,000 people, and biometric research done on it; it’s a very thorough, deep dive into this audience called the UPsiders,” he said. “It represents about 42 million Americans who seek entertainment with their family in mind. What that really says is, it doesn’t mean they want to watch everything on TV with their family. But it means the types of entertainment that they want in their house, they would feel good if a family member also watched it.”
Humbard said TV is firstly about “great entertainment.”
“We’re not news and we’re not sports, we’re entertainment and we have to tell great stories,” he noted. “But at the same time, it’s important that we tell the kind of stories that put forward Christian values and have a positive influence on people that watch us on TV or on our streaming service.”
The network’s most popular show, “Heartland,” is now in its 12th season and the family drama has resonated with thousands. Humbard believes it’s because of the show’s strong family values.
“It executes on a lot of good basic Christian and family values so well and it’s real and authentic. With a lot of people in the Christian industry in the entertainment industry, sometimes it gets a little too perfect and it doesn’t feel real and authentic and relatable, he explained.
Humbard added, “Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you don’t have a kid that sometimes ends up with a drug addiction, or a teenager who gets pregnant before they should, or tough times happen to you, or you lose your job. Things happen. Just because you’re Christian doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you. Your beliefs are about getting you through tough times, not necessarily always avoiding those things that happen in life. So I think it’s important for us to tell those stories. ‘Heartland’ is one of the great shows on our air that I think does it really effectively.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law