The channel started in 1996 following the name Discovery Civilization Network: The World History and Geography Channel. It was one of 4 digital networks rolled out by Discovery Communications together in October 1996. Programs for the channel had surfaced in November 1994, when its working nickname was “Time Traveler”.
In April 2002, New York Times Television and Discovery Communications stated a shared investment to run the Discovery Civilization Channel. By then, it was accessible in 14 million households. The partnership intended to complement the historical shows, with programming about current events and modern history. On March 25, 2003, the channel was re-branded as Discovery Times, focusing more on American culture and programming about the well-being and culture of the people of the United States, as well as another different programming. The previous name was called as “is a little off-message” by executives. In April 2006, The New York Times sold its stake in Discovery Times back to Discovery Communications, stopping its ownership in the channel.
Also in 2006, the network’s on-air name was re-branded by creative studio Trollbäck + Company. On January 27, 2008, Discovery Times was re-named “Investigation Discovery.” In addition to the TV network, an Investigation Discovery website was also started. Contributors to the site include crime journalists David Lohr, Corey Mitchell, and Gary C. King.