Retirement Living Network to Launch Nationwide in Fall 2006

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SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Move over Food Network and MTV. A new national cable network is stepping on to the scene.

Baltimore‘s John Erickson, founder and CEO of Erickson Retirement Communities, is launching Retirement Living, a new television network designed specifically for people 62 and older. The network’s tagline is “TV Finally Grows Up.”

Production has already begun, and plans call for going “on air” in September of this year, according to Mel Tansill, senior director of public affairs for Erickson Retirement Communities. Details on distribution are still being finalized, he says. Programming will air initially on Comcast stations in the New England and Mid-Atlantic markets, with a nationwide rollout to follow.

Some of the shows planned for the network include:

Amazing Seniors: A one-hour program that tells stories about ordinary individuals and the extraordinary lives they lead. Stories will focus on the creative lives that older Americans lead as artists, athletes, leaders, and more.

The Doctor’s Hour: A one-hour, live call-in show. The largest group of geriatric experts in the world will be available to answer questions from viewers across the country.

The Voice: A live-audience, interview-based show that discusses social issues important to older Americans.

Programs focusing on personal finance, travel, cooking, and fitness, specifically aimed at retirees, are also planned.

There are currently 40 million people age 62 and over in the United States, and that number is projected to climb to 80 million by 2035. To date, there is no national television network specifically serving this demographic, according to Tansill.

“We see every day in Erickson-built and -managed communities what a great impact on the lives of people it can have to change the way they perceive aging. That’s what we’re trying to do with this new network, to bring the message that you’re empowered to control your entire life,” says Patrick Baldwin, senior director of TV and media.

Not only will Retirement Living provide programming for older Americans, it also plans to employ them. In an industry that is built on chasing the attention of younger viewers, the careers of many successful artists often end well before their time, effecting actors, writers, producers, and every segment of the industry. AARP reports that amongst writers alone there are 6,000 unemployed or underemployed older Americans. A recent class action lawsuit alleged that Hollywood has little use for creative people over the age of 45, a trend that will not be repeated at Retirement Living. “At our network,” says Baldwin, “a seasoned resume is a good thing.”

Based in Catonsville, Md., since 1983, Erickson develops and manages campuses in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, which in total are home to more than 17,000 people. The company is also developing new campuses in Dallas, Denver, Naperville, Ill., and Concord, Pa., and is engaged in site acquisition across the United States.

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