Discovery Channel announced an ambitious, captivating upfront slate with specials and series that guarantee its brand promise and illuminate a world of fascinating people and wondrous places. The network’s slate combines blockbuster natural history programming, returning favorites and mold breaking television special events.
“Discovery Channel isn’t just our name, it’s what we do everyday. With only the highest quality production values, the most compelling storytellers in the business and an unending yen for adventure and exploration, Discovery truly delivers like no one else in the nonfiction world,” said W. Clark Bunting, president and general manager, Discovery Channel.
The highlights of Discovery Channel’s 2010-11 upfront schedule include the following:
CURIOSITY: THE QUESTIONS OF LIFE
From the visionary mind of John Hendricks, Discovery’s iconic founder, comes CURIOSITY, a landmark television event. It is the most ambitious project ever undertaken by Discovery Channel and one that Hendricks is personally guiding. Can we ask and answer the most fundamental questions facing the world today? The questions that go to the very heart of our life and our world… Are we alone in the universe? Can we colonize other planets? Is time travel possible? Can we live forever, and do we want to? CURIOSITY will span five years with 60 episodes and premiere worldwide on Discovery Channel with companion content across Science Channel, HD Theater, Planet Green, and our international networks. Each episode of CURIOSITY will focus on a single enduring question in science, civilization, technology and the human experience. Beyond television, CURIOSITY will offer extensive, multiplatform educational opportunities through partnerships with Experius Academy, Discovery Education, and top colleges and universities. The online experience will include exclusive and robust “deep-dive material” and a campaign of smaller “curiosity bites” will air across our network websites.
An epic yet intimate celebration of the incredible diversity of human life on the planet we call home. Wherever people live traditional lives, our cameras capture, for the very first time, practices that go back millennia. In the spectacular HD quality pioneered by LIFE and PLANET EARTH, these are ways of life that will shock, intrigue and inspire. Each episode set in a different, amazing environment: Arctic, Rivers, Mountains, Ocean, Jungles, Grasslands, Desert and Urban. As much action movie as anthropology, this is people at their most daring and innovative.
EARTH FROM SPACE
Experience the Earth you can’t see. Discovery Channel partners with NASA for a truly unique and compelling television experience. EARTH FROM SPACE will use cutting-edge satellite data to show for the first time what exists beyond the visible spectrum: Earth as a living organism. Its satellite technology so exacting, one could zero in from space and read a newspaper on the Earth’s surface. Observe Earth actively adapting and self-regulating to sustain life. See how lightning created the first life, stand inside a hurricane as it forms, see how dust in the Sahara creates rainstorms in the Amazon, and how recent earthquakes altered the spinning of the planet and shortened the length of a day.
REIGN OF THE DINOSAURS
Avatar meets Jurassic Park as the latest paleontological research meets Hollywood story telling. Discovery Channel teams with the top creative talent from Disney and Pixar to create an unparalleled television event. New creatures abound in a wondrous new world – giant dinos with Freddy Krueger style clawed hands, pygmy T-rex, frogs so big they can eat dinosaurs. Learn the latest in understanding of dinosaur behaviors with exotic mating dances, the inner workings of the T-rex’s nuclear family, dinosaurs drunk on fermenting fruit, dinosaurs in apocalyptic events, the underwater birthing of mosasaurs, and prehistory’s angriest mammals. A daring and provocative new chapter in television, REIGN OF THE DINOSAURS is bound to be the benchmark for all future dinosaur natural history programming.
THE RISING: REBUILIDNG GROUND ZERO
From executive producer Steven Spielberg, comes the definitive special series chronicling the historic reconstruction of Ground Zero. This is the story of the heroic quest of ordinary people – engineers, construction workers, city planners, architects – on an extraordinary journey of passion and purpose. Faced with seemingly impossible problems, both emotionally and scientifically, they get up every time they are knocked down, driven by their mission to heal themselves and their country. Construction of Ground Zero links a special cross section of workers, surviving family members, elected officials and first responders. They share a bond and now a compelling purpose to see the greatest city on earth once again rise like a phoenix. THE RISING: REBUILDING GROUND ZERO is truly a story of human and technical feats.
ENGINEERING THE IMPOSSIBLE
What did the most iconic buildings in history originally look like? How were they built? Who built them and why? A select team of specialists is on a mission to find clues and they’re using a high-tech tool kit to discover how these legendary structures could have possibly been built. Travelling to some of the world’s most exciting ancient sites they’ll capture and instantly process information out on location, finally uncovering the truth behind some of the ancient world’s most enduring mysteries. These are the great buildings of the world’s pioneering ancient civilizations. From Egypt’s Giza plateau with its famous landmarks the Pyramids and Sphinx to the great temples of Rome to magnificent Incan cities, see the world as never before going back in time in a thrilling time machine of engineering innovation.
It’s the ultimate rite of summer, the perennial crowd pleaser, the ratings juggernaut that roars onto land each and every year. It’s SHARK WEEK, now in its 23rd nailing-biting year. From the ocean depths they return, slashing through a sea of competition to rack up new ratings successes year after year. Great whites. Hammerheads. Whale sharks. This consistent audience pleaser never fails to reveal remarkable new insights into these magnificent and elusive creatures.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Discovery Channel’s all-new six-part series WORST CASE SCENARIO is based on the bestselling series of books. On the show, survival expert and MAN VS. WILD host Bear Grylls portrays potentially life-threatening situations to demonstrate how to survive in a worst case scenario. Filmed like a feature film, Grylls pushes his physical boundaries – part stuntman, part urban survivalist – to exhibit scenarios that viewers could find themselves in and equip them with potentially life-saving information. In each episode, Grylls shows viewers that the right knowledge and skills can help anyone succeed in urban survival situations that could arise without warning, from escaping a high-rise apartment fire to fending off a shark attack to escaping out of a sinking car. The various situations featured on WORST CASE SCENARIO have been produced to model those in the book series. Other dire situations featured throughout the series include escaping from a frozen lake and surviving a multi-story elevator plunge or a fall down a flight of stairs.
Follow New York City construction guru and tough guy Charlie Frattini and his crew as they tackle real-life property improvement nightmares. What happens when the work goes unfinished and the owners are left abandoned by the contractor? Charlie and team travel throughout the city to rescue small businesses that are in the midst of derailed construction projects. Meeting with the victims of the renovation disaster, Charlie then assesses the damage and whips the culprits into shape. With a tough-love approach but a heart of gold to back it up, Charlie pushes the team to finish the job and in doing so pushes them all to see what they are really capable of accomplishing when they work together.
LONG RUNNING SERIES
The seas are rougher, the stakes are higher and the intensity has never been stronger as the original, ultimate tough guys of television return in Discovery Channel’s Emmy-winning ratings powerhouse DEADLIEST CATCH for an all new season. All eyes points to 53 52′ North / 166 31′ West: Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where Captains Sig Hansen (Northwestern), Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand (Time Bandit) and Keith Colburn (Wizard) are all back for another season of crab fishing, but storms – personal, natural and financial – are brewing for the skippers and their crew.
Host and everyman Mike Rowe gets the grimy scoop on downright nasty, but vital, occupations in DIRTY JOBS. Rowe could be processing smelly seafood in a fish factory, collecting bat guano for prized fertilizer or cleaning septic tanks to maintain a fresh-smelling environment. His apprenticeship never ends as he learns from those who keep our world running smoothly.
MAN VS. WILD
Adventurer Bear Grylls is put to the ultimate test. Left in the middle of nowhere, Grylls employs his encyclopedic knowledge of nature to scavenge for food and keep his body in order. Headache? Grylls searches for pain-relieving plants. Hunger? He eats maggots in the Rocky Mountains or a fresh-killed zebra on Africa’s savanna. No matter the climate or locale, Grylls is up to the task.
Back and better than ever, MYTHBUSTERS continues its mad scientific quest to discover the truth behind popular myths and urban legends. Hosted by quirky special effects experts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, this mentally tantalizing series takes on the myths and uses modern-day science to show what’s real and what’s fiction.
It’s the television series that keeps everyone on the edge of their seat. Changing weather patterns, colliding air masses and 700,000 square miles of flatland create the ideal conditions for storm chasing. It’s become the annual rite of spring for a motley collection of scientists, enthusiasts and eccentrics. Follow extreme filmmaker Sean Casey, veteran Tim Samaras and thrill-seeking meteorologist Reed Timmer on the trail of Mother Nature’s deadliest and most violent creations.
Last year THE COLONY had viewers and critics talking about its provocative take on the science of survival. What would you do in the wake of a global catastrophe? How would you find food? Water? Shelter? THE COLONY returns another season of essential watercooler television, a controlled experiment to see exactly what it would take to survive and rebuild under apocalyptic circumstances. Tasked with creating a liveable society, volunteers will have to work with their skills and whatever tools and supplies they can scavenge from their surroundings.