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Rick Holzman Upped To Animal Planet GM And EVP

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 11:50am PDT

Rick Holzman Upped To Animal Planet GM And EVPDiscovery Communications announced this morning Holzman will oversee strategy and all day-to-day operations for Animal Planet. Previously, Holzman served as EVP Programming and Scheduling for Animal Planet and Science Channel. He will continue to report to Marjorie Kaplan, Group President of TLC and Animal Planet.

From today’s announcement:

“Rick Holzman is one of the most brilliant minds in the media industry and a key driver of Animal Planet’s significant growth as an entertainment destination over the last several years,” said Kaplan. ”His leadership, knowledge and incredible passion for this brand make him the perfect General Manager for Animal Planet.”

Holzman has been with Animal Planet since November 2007, during which time he has been instrumental in the network’s rebrand and breakthrough growth, guiding Animal Planet’s programming by overseeing the network’s commissioning, acquisitions, co-productions and scheduling strategy. The best-performing series in network history – including RIVER MONSTERS, TREEHOUSE MASTERS, WHALE WARS, FINDING BIGFOOT and CALL OF THE WILDMAN – have all come to fruition during his strategic tenure, as did MONSTER WEEK, the week-long programming event that propelled Animal Planet to rank among the top-five, ad-supported cable networks.

Prior to joining Animal Planet, Holzman served as Vice President, Programming and Scheduling at Discovery Channel from 2004 to 2007. Under his guidance, the network launched a Tuesday-night slate of programming which included two of Discovery’s most popular franchises ever, DEADLIEST CATCH and DIRTY JOBS. He also commissioned the network’s first-ever game show, the Emmy®-winning CASH CAB, as well as the popular series, STUNT JUNKIES and

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Animal Planet Orders More ‘The Pool Master’

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 4:13pm PDT

Animal Planet Orders More ‘The Pool Master’Animal Planet has ordered six new episodes and a special on The Pool Master after the franchise’s unveiling scored 1 million viewers, and 408,000 demo viewers in its unveiling last Friday. The series opener helped Animal Planet rank fourth among all ad-supported cable networks in the time slot among men 25-54 and men 18-49, excluding movies and sports. The network’s initial order on the series, featuring pool designer Anthony Archer-Wills, was for three episodes and a special. The show is now casting for homeowners who want their yard transformed by Archer-Wills. What does this have to do with animals? Nothing.

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Animal Planet’s ‘Blood Lake: Attack Of The Killer Lampreys’ Trampled By Mermaid Faux-Docus, With 1.2 Million Viewers

animal-planet-logoAnimal Planet’s first plunge into the B-horror-movie genre with Blood Lake: Attack Of The Killer Lampreys, from the producers of Syfy’s Sharknado, premiered with fewer viewers – 1.2 million on Sunday to Sharknado’s opening 1.37 million back in July of ‘13 – and not nearly the same buzz.

Lamprey-466A.JPGMore to the point, Killer Lampreys fell far short of the 3.6 million viewers who’d watched Animal Planet’s second mermaid faux-docu, Mermaids: The New Evidence, on comparable Sunday one year earlier.  That was Animal Planet’s biggest audience. Ever. New Evidence was a follow-up to the previous year’s mermaid faux-docu, Mermaids: The Body Found which netted 3.4 million viewers and was, until it got trumped by its sequel, Animal Planet’s biggest draw since its September 2006 memorial to on-air talent Steve Irwin (2.7 million viewers), who died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary.
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Animal Planet Renews ‘Ice Cold Gold’

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 10:09am PDT

animal-planet-logoAnimal Planet today announced it had renewed Ice Cold Gold for a third season. The Greenland-set gem-seeking series clocked about 800,000 viewers in its second season and helped the network boost its performance by 25% among 18-49 year old guys. Here’s how Animal Planet describes Ice Cold Gold:

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‘River Monsters’ Scares Up Biggest Season Debut In Animal Planet History

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 2:12pm PDT

River MonstersAnimal Planet‘s best-performing series returned Sunday with the network’s most-watched season debut ever — 1.7 million viewers. That includes the network’s best debut stats among 25- to 54-year-olds (915,000). Following the two-hour River Monsters season premiere, at 11 PM, Animal Planet’s first live aftershow, River Monsters: Live With Jeremy Wade, clocked 1 million viewers. The season premiere saw an 85% increase in Twitter activity compared to last season’s premiere, no doubt because theanimal-planet-logo two-hour episode was called “Amazon Apocalypse” and purported to investigate the 1981 sinking of the Sobral Santos II, which Animal Planet says is “one of the Amazon’s largest maritime disasters” with a many as 200 passengers losing their lives to “something mysterious in the waters.” Maybe not so mysterious: According to press reports the Sobral Santos II, overladen with more than 500 passengers and cargo, capsized in piranha-infested waters on the Amazon.  But Animal Planet bills River Monsters as “a weekly murder mystery” in which Wade travels the world in search of man-eating fish, in the hope of proving reports “as tall tales or frightening facts.”

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Animal Planet Details First Dive Into Scripted Programming With ‘Moby Dick’ From Whale’s Point Of View

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 6:43am PDT

animal-planet-logoAnimal Planet is plunging into scripted territory with a retelling of the story that inspired the novel Moby Dick, in Revenge Of The Whale (working title). Starring Martin Sheen, this two-hour film tells a dramatic story of a time when whales were hunted for their oil. The BBC co-production re-imagines what happened when the magnificent sea creature finally turned on its killers. Here’s a complete look at Animal Planet’s new slate: Read More »

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Super Bowl Blowout Sends 13.5 Million In Search Of ‘Puppy Bowl X’ Cute – A Franchise Best In Show

By | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 11:05am PST

Broncos may have been a bust on Super Bowl Sunday, but puppies performed brilliantly. In addition to the runaway success of Budweiser’s Animal Planet“Puppy Love” commercial in terms of audience response, Animal Planet reports record ratings for its 10th annual Puppy Bowl. A new high of 13.5 million unique viewers checked out the canine competition across its 12-hour marathon run. The premiere telecast, from 3-5 PM ET/PT, averaged 3.3 million viewers – up 24% compared to last year.  It was the No. 1 telecast in all of cable Sunday in overall audience — as well as with women in the demo, naturally. The pooch parade put Animal Planet in second place behind only Super Bowl-hosting Fox across key demos, including 18-49, 25-54 and women 18-49.

Related: Super Bowl Scores With Record-Breaking 111.5 Million Viewers

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Martin Sheen Stars In BBC/Animal Planet Film About Whaling Disaster That Inspired ‘Moby Dick’

By | Monday November 25, 2013 @ 7:26am PST

Martin Sheen will star in The Whale, a two-hour film from BBC Factual Productions and Animal Planet that’s set to premiere in December on BBC 1 and in summer 2014 on Animal Planet. Based on true events, Sheen portrays Old Thomas Nickerson, who served as cabin boy on the ill-fated voyage of the whaling ship the Essex. The two-hour drama is inspired by real-life accounts of the ship’s sinking; those accounts are said to have inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The Whale is written by Terry Cafolla (Holy Cross, Messiah). Filming took place on location in Malta this past spring and wrapped up outside of London last summer.

Sheen, repped by ICM Partners, leads the cast as the elder Nickerson with Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood, The Street) as First Mate Owen Chase; Adam Rayner (The Hunted) as Captain Pollard; Paul Kaye (Game Of Thrones, Stella) as Joy; David Gyasi (Cloud Atlas, War Horse) as Peterson; and Jolyon Coy (The Hollow Crown) as Lawrence. It also stars Jassa Ahluwalisa, John Boyega and Ferdinand Kingsley, and Charles Furness as the young Nickerson. The Whale is executive produced by Eamon Hardy and Ruth Caleb with Mike Dormer as producer; for Animal Planet, Mick Kaczorowski is EP.

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Animal Planet Orders ‘Alaska Gold Diggers’

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 2:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Animal Planet has given a six-episode order to Alaska Gold Diggers, a fish-out-of-water reality series about five Orange County women transplanted to Alaska, to premiere on October 10. Produced by T Group Productions in association with Henry Island Prods, the series centers on Newport Beach resident SaraJane “SJ” Bartholomae, who inherits two gold mines from her self-made oil and gold tycoon father, William “Popper” Bartholomae, who was brutally murdered when she was a child. With gold prices at an all-time high, SJ and her four grown daughters decide to revitalize the family mines in Nome and Fairbanks, which have remained abandoned since Popper’s death. With their pooled savings, they race against time, hiring local mining crews to try and get the mines up and running with only six weeks before the start of the Alaskan winter. “It’s more than just a fish-out-of-water story — these women have grit and gumption, and will stop at nothing until they realize their father and grandfather’s dream of striking it rich in one of the harshest terrains on the planet,” said T Group president Jenny Daly, who executive produces the series with Henry Island’s Brian Neal and Debbie Shepard.

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Animal Planet Wants More Cats From Hell

By | Thursday September 5, 2013 @ 10:12am PDT

Because there is seemingly no end to cat lovers, and no end to cats from hell, Animal Planet announced this morning it has renewed its series of the same name for a fifth season. My Cat From Hell will return in early 2014 with 16 episodes in which “cat listener” Jackson Galaxy visits homes to solve feline issues. The series recently completed its fourth season among Animal Planet’s top 10 series with women 18-49 and 25-54. The fourth season’s third, epic episode, “Penny Hates Puck” – both cats, BTW – clocked series highs, including 1.2 million viewers, more than a quarter million of whom were men 25-54. Of that 1.2 mil, 607,000 were 18-49 (363 of whom were women 18-49). In rough numbers: Penny hated Puck, Penny attacked Puck so often and so viciously, poor Puck was left utterly terrified, completely clawed up, and peeing on herself after every fight. MCFH is produced for Animal Planet by Eyeworks USA.

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Shark Week Continues Ratings Records Despite Opening-Night Outrage

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 4:26pm PDT

The monstrous outrage over Shark Week’s opening-night fake documentary does not appear to have taken a bite out of the franchise’s performance. Wednesday, Great White Serial Killer clocked an average of 3.2 million viewers at 10 PM, to become Shark Week’s most-watched Wednesday program in the franchise’s 26 years. (Top Ten Sharkdown delivered 2.78 million viewers at 9.) Interestingly, Wednesday’s Serial Killer netted a bigger crowd than either of Shark Week’s Tuesday programs: I Escaped Jaws (2.71 million) and Spawn of Jaws (2.77 million).

Discovery’s Shark Week Facebook page was swamped Monday with self-described longtime viewers who raged against Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives – the opening-night premiere, in which actors playing scientists bloviated about the “return” of a monster shark that became extinct 1.5 million years ago. It appears that Shark Week fans are not regular viewers of Discovery’s Animal Planet channel, or they’d be wise to the whole fake docu programming thread that’s taking hold at the company. Just this past June, after Animal Planet’s fake docu, Mermaid: The New Evidence (a follow-up to its earlier fake docu, Mermaids: The Body Found) snagged  that network’s biggest haul in its history (nearly 4 million viewers), the mermaid show’s creator was promoted to oversee a newly created Original Content Group for Discovery’s whole company of networks. Read More »

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Animal Planet Acquires ‘Hero Dogs Of 9/11′

By | Wednesday July 24, 2013 @ 5:00am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Animal Planet has acquired the one-hour special The Hero Dogs Of 9/11 to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  The special first ran on Animal Planet in Canada two years ago to mark the attack’s 10th anniversary. The project, from Toronto-based Kelencontent, details the stories of three World Trade Center survivors, and the working dogs that saved lives at Ground Zero. More than 300 dogs were used in the rescue and recovery operation. One of the survivors profiled, who is blind, was led out of the building by his seeing eye dog. Another, who’d been working at the scene with a bomb-sniffing dog, was pulled from the rubble by a rescue dog. The third was the last survivor to be discovered by a dog and pulled from the rubble, 27 hours after the center collapsed.

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Discovery Ups Mermaid Documentary Creator To Run Original Content Group

By | Wednesday June 26, 2013 @ 11:15am PDT

Discovery Communications has promoted the guy behind Animal Planet’s controversial mermaid documentaries to oversee a newly created Original Content Group for the whole company of networks. As EVP, Charlie Foley will create, write and exec produce scripted content and nonfiction series and formats for all Discovery networks in this country and internationally. He will report to Marjorie Kaplan, group president and General Manager of Animal Planet, Science Channel, and Velocity.   Foley’s the guy behind Animal Planet’s highest-rated program ever: Mermaids: The New Evidence, which averaged 3.7 million viewers in its premiere. That was a sequel to the network’s Mermaids: The Body Found, which was no slouch either in the ratings department, averaging 3.6 million viewers in its premiere. The first mermaid “documentary” resulted in so many inquiries to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the department decided to post something on its websites stating: “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.” Foley, who started his career at National Geographic, also created and wrote Animal Planet’s previous ratings record-holder Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real. He’s also the guy behind that networks’ River Monsters, Whale Warriors, etc.

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Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet & ID Unveil Programming Slates

By | Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 10:24am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

At Discovery Communications’ upfront today, the company’s Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery presented their slates of new and returning series. (See Discovery/Harpo-owned OWN’s announcement here). Discovery Channel, which had its highest-rated January ever in total viewers and adults 25-54, is putting an emphasis on live events with specials Fast N’ Live and the Grand Canyon tightrope walk Wallenda Live as well as scripted TV with its first scripted project, miniseries Klondike. The network’s unscripted slate features 10 new series, including The Huntsmen, Rock Raiders, two Naked shows, Hidden Kingdom and Survival.

Related: Discovery Shows Off Star Power At Upfront Presentation

TLC’s slate features 52 new and returning series, including the return of pop culture hit Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Breaking Amish and its spinoff. Animal Planet returns 20 series and new ones like Eel Of Fortune, about hunting prized eels off the New England coast. Its best-performing series ever, River Monsters, returns April 7. Investigation Discovery, meanwhile, is offering up its second original newsmagazine Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall and the Jerry Springer-hosted Tabloid.

Here are details for all the Discovery networks: Read More »

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Discovery Introduces 24/7 Streaming Service: Animal Planet L!VE

By | Wednesday April 3, 2013 @ 9:12am PDT

Silver Spring, Md. – Whether exhibiting human-like behavior or living an existence so foreign it is fascinating, the animal kingdom has the power to mesmerize. Today, Discovery Communications announces the debut of Animal Planet L!VE, featuring unfiltered, round-the-clock access to the compelling worlds of the beautiful, cute and misunderstood. The 24/7 digital experience builds on Discovery Communications’ long-standing success with live animal cams, including Penguin Cam and Shark Cam, and acts as a digital complement to Animal Planet and its on-air programming.

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Animal Planet’s ‘Puppy Bowl IX’ Surges During Super Bowl Power Outage

By | Tuesday February 5, 2013 @ 1:16pm PST

Related: Super Bowl XLVII Pulls In 108M Viewers

The lights going out Sunday in the Superdome may have brought the Super Bowl to a temporary standstill but it reinvigorated Puppy Bowl IX. The annual Animal Planet cutie big game counterprogramming pulled in 1.1 million viewers between 8:51 PM and 9 PM during the power outage in New Orleans. Sure, it wasn’t the 104 million who watched Beyonce’s half time show on CBS about 20 minutes beforehand but it was a 54% increase over the previous Puppy Bowl segment. Overall the 12 hour competitive dog free for all marathon garnered 12.4 million viewers on Sunday. That’s an all time high for the nine-year special and helped make it cable’s number one broadcast on Sunday. Last year the Puppy Bowl had a total viewership of 8.7 million over its 12 hour cycle. The 3 PM premiere original airing of Puppy Bowl IX on Super Bowl Sunday was the most watched of all the broadcast. It pulled in 2.6 million viewers overall – a 64% increase over Puppy Bowl 2012. The lowest viewership for the Puppy Bowl came right near the end of the 12 hour loop when 180,000 tuned in for the 1 AM airing.

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Gators, Puppies, & Prison: ITV Studios Global, Animal Planet In Distribution Deal

Monday 26th March 2012 – ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) has signed a distribution agreement with Animal Planet, the world’s only entertainment brand that fully immerses viewers with the animal kingdom. The deal will see ITVS GE distribute 150 hours of Animal Planet programmes to all territories outside of North America. Initially, ITVS GE will introduce buyers at MIPTV to some of Animal Planet’s current slate of breakthrough content, including Gator Boys, Call of the Wildman, North Woods Law, Too Cute!, Puppies vs. Babies and Bayou Prison.

Maria Kyriacou, Managing Director of ITV Studios Global Entertainment said: “Animal Planet has a reputation for first class, internationally relevant factual and factual entertainment programming; and a brand which carries a strong resonance with audiences around the world. We are thrilled to represent this fantastic slate and look forward to presenting the diverse range of programmes to buyers at MIPTV.”

“We are thrilled to partner with ITV Studios Global Entertainment on this venture,” said Rick Holzman, senior vice president of programming and scheduling at Animal Planet. “We are sure that ITVS GE’s global market expertise will help to expand the footprint for Animal Planet’s breakout content around the world.”

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Animal Planet Ups Charlie Foley, Adds Duo To Development Team

By | Thursday March 22, 2012 @ 7:12am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Animal PlanetAnimal Planet has promoted Charlie Foley to SVP and head of development. He will continue to report to Animal Planet president and general manager Marjorie Kaplan. Additionally, the network has brought in two development executives as VP to work under Foley: Kurt Tondorf from Optomen Prods. and Andy Berg from A&E/Bio.

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Discovery Renews Licensing Deal With Netflix For Two Years

The joint-venture channels — OWN with Oprah Winfrey, and The Hub with Hasbro — aren’t included. What’s more, “there is not any specific content that Netflix is entitled to,” Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav told investors this morning at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia Conference. He wouldn’t talk about the economics of the deal but says that they will “become apparent” the next time the company reports its quarterly earnings. He adds that while “we don’t know what’s going to happen with Netflix” — which is grappling with consumer fury after it raised prices 60% for those who want to stream video and rent DVDs –”right now we think that will not create an issue for us.” Here’s the release about Discovery’s new Netflix agreement:

Los Gatos, Calif. and Silver Spring, Md. — Netflix, Inc. and Discovery Communications today announced a two-year non-exclusive licensing agreement that allows Netflix members to instantly watch prior-season series and specials, including an expanded selection of additional seasons of popular series from Discovery, TLC and Animal Planet, as well as Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel. Among the highlights are Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild, TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, and Animal Planet’s River Monsters and other titles from Discovery’s rich program library.

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