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Ten FAST Channels Warner Bros. Discovery Should Consider Launching in 2023

David Satin

Free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels can be a powerful tool for streaming companies if they are wielded correctly. FAST channels allow content providers to generate ad revenues on older content in their catalog. Their linear nature also serves as a form of marketing to draw people into the on-demand opportunities of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) offerings.

Though they have yet to wade into this area of the ad-supported streaming world, Warner Bros. Discovery is a prime candidate to launch a series of FAST channels in 2023. Company CEO David Zaslav is laser-focused on improving the profitability of WBD’s streaming services HBO Max and discovery+, and while discussing the company’s third-quarter earnings, Zaslav brought up the topic of a potential service featuring FAST channels that highlight the breadth and depth of WBD's unique content library.

“We see FAST as a real opportunity for us. And I think it’s unique for us. We have the largest TV and motion picture library,” Zaslav said. “We can take content we already own, and get ourselves into an AVOD service, which I think makes us full service.”

If Zaslav wants to get serious about launching FAST channels in 2023, there are a number of avenues he could pursue. Here are the top 10 channels that The Streamable thinks WBD should consider launching in the new year.

The Crime Channel

“The Sopranos,” “Oz,” and “The Wire” are some of the most prestigious brands associated with HBO, which would help bring more eyes, and thus more advertising dollars, to this channel. Older crime and thriller movies like “Gone Girl,” “Burn After Reading,” and American Psycho” would also be right at home on this crime-centric network.

And given that FAST channels work like traditional TV channels and air at set times, highly addictive series like “The Sopranos,” “Oz,” and “The Wire” would work as great inducements for viewers to sign up for HBO Max to be able to watch the entire series library on demand.

The Chip and Joanna Gaines Channel

HGTV stars and the founders of the Magnolia Network would be perfect centerpieces for a FAST channel, not only because of their deep archive of shows, but because they have been one of the few content creators to already bridge the gap between discovery+ and HBO Max. Chip and Joanna Gaines started with “Fixer Upper” but have since branched out to host, create, and produce many other projects, and their Magnolia Network was the first slate of programming to crossover from the Discovery lifestyle streamer to the more prestigious HBO Max.

A potential FAST channel would feature “Fixer Upper” and its 79 episodes across five seasons, all of which is currently available on discovery+. It would also feature the show’s various spin-offs such as “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” “Fixer Upper: Behind the Design,” and “Fixer Upper: The Castle.”

But beyond their flagship show, it could also include cooking shows like “Magnolia Table With Joanna Gaines,” “Silos Baking Competition,” and tons of content from the Magnolia Network.

Classic Westerns Channel

During his discussion of the potential FAST opportunities at WBD, Zaslav specifically mentioned “Bonanza” and “Rawhide” as shows that would be perfect for FAST channels. He’s right, but those series should not stand alone on their own channels. WBD has a huge library of classic Western content, including movies like “Cimarron” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

Food With Flay Channel

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is one of the most recognizable names in the food world, thanks to his many shows on the Food Network. He has a huge presence on discovery+, with shows including “Beat Bobby Flay,” “FoodNation with Bobby Flay,” and “BBQ With Bobby Flay,” just to name a few. Considering “Beat Bobby Flay” has 32 seasons available to stream on the service, it’s safe to say there is plenty of content for a Bobby Flay FAST channel at WBD.

In total, Flay has hosted or been a panelist on 16 cooking shows, which should supply plenty of hours of content for a dedicated FAST channel.

‘Game of Thrones’ Channel

The only single-series channel on our list, the “Game of Thrones” channel would be a spectacular addition to WBD’s potential FAST lineup. “GoT” proved to be a cultural phenomenon for HBO when it was first released. The series blends fantasy with the realism of medieval politics in a way that captured fans’ imaginations. In addition, WBD released the first season of its “GoT” prequel series “House of the Dragon” in 2022.

A “GoT” FAST channel would be the perfect promotional tool for future seasons of “HoTD” and a reminder of how bingeable the show is, pointing people back to HBO Max.

Baking and Brown Channel

Who doesn’t love a good cooking show? Thanks to its large catalog of content from the Food Network, discovery+ has a veritable cornucopia of such shows to make available. Baking is one of the most soothing types of cooking shows to enjoy, and discovery+ offers eight seasons of the low-stakes competition show “Holiday Baking Championship.” There are also hours upon hours of other seasonal baking competitions as well as shows featuring celebrity bakers like Duff Goldman and Buddy Valastro. Having a channel dedicated to those shows would likely be very attractive to viewers.

Additionally, because of the years of Discovery baking content, WBD would likely have plenty of hours of programming to theme out the channel during the holidays.

This FAST channel would also be the perfect place for the various shows hosted by Alton Brown. Whether that is “Good Eats,” in which the mellow Brown takes viewers step-by-step through some of his favorite recipes, or “Iron Chef,” in which he hosts the most intense cooking competition on television, it would have a great overlap with the rest of the channel’s programming.

Saturday Morning Cartoons Channel

This is the perfect nostalgia channel for adult viewers, and the perfect place for kids as well. It can pull in classics such as old Looney Tunes episodes, and more recent hits from the ’90s glory days of Cartoon Network, like “Courage the Cowardly Dog” and “Ed, Edd n Eddy.” Considering WBD is paring back its animated and kids offerings, this FAST channel could be the last refuge for some series owned by the company.

In addition to Looney Tunes, Warner Bros. Discovery also owns the rights to Hanna-Barbera’s iconic cartoons like “Tom and Jerry,” “Scooby-Doo,” “The Jetsons,” “The Flinstone,” and more.

Travel and Animal Channel

Nature shows offer fascinating programming options for viewers of all ages. That’s where the Travel and Animal Channel comes in. The channel can offer top programming from Animal Planet, including prior “Shark Weeks” and Steve Irwin in “The Crocodile Hunter Diaries.”

The channel will also feature series from the Travel Channel such as “Mystery of the Outdoors,” offering audiences even more ways to explore the world around them.

DC Classics Channel

The plans for DC comics content on HBO Max are still evolving, as the company attempts to figure out the best strategy for one of its most popular IPs moving forward. This channel can bring in popular DC movies like 1989’s “Batman” with Michael Keaton, combined with animated series like 1996’s “Superman: The Animated Series.”

Such a channel would be an excellent promotional tool for newer series like “Titans,” which could remain behind the HBO Max paywall.

History’s Mysteries Channel

The number of brands offered by discovery+ is truly remarkable. The service streams content from the History Channel as well as A&E, both of which could easily contribute a host of content to the History’s Mysteries Channel.

Shows like “American Pickers,” “Pawn Stars” and “Storage Wars” go together perfectly, and such a channel would also give WBD a place for true crime mystery shows like “Cold Case Files.”

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