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 »
Sam Shepard has joined the cast of Discovery Channel’s miniseries Klondike, which marks the channel’s first scripted project. Shepard replaces Chris Cooper, who pulled out last week to attend to … Read More »
Chris Cooper has exited Discovery Channel‘s miniseries Klondike due to a personal matter that has unexpectedly arisen. The Oscar winner was the first actor cast in the mini, produced by Scott Free Prods, Discovery Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures. Based on Charlotte Gray’s novel Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich In The Klondike, the mini tells the story of six strangers and their collective fight for survival and wealth in a small frontier town in the remote Klondike. Cooper was to play Father Judge, who has come to Klondike to atone for his violent past on a mission to save souls. The role will now be recast. “I have nothing but respect and admiration for Discovery, Ridley Scott and the very talented cast and crew for bringing this compelling project called Klondike to life and for inviting me to be a part of it,” Cooper said. “It is with regret that I am unable to continue, but I look forward to another opportunity to hopefully work with Discovery in the future.” Read More »
Discovery Channel said today that the All The President’s Men documentary from Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions and Partisan Pictures will premiere April 21 at 8 PM. First publicized last April when Redford opened his new company with producing partner Laura Michalchyshyn, the Peter Schnall-directed and -produced All The President’s Men Revisited examines the wide-ranging Watergate scandal that crippled and killed Richard Nixon’s presidency. Andrew Lack, Michalchyshyn and Redford are executive producers. Nancy Daniels and Denise Contis are executive producers for Discovery.
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EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Channel is putting the finishing touches on the cast for its first original scripted program, six-hour miniseries Klondike. I’ve learned that Game Of Thrones‘ Richard Madden, Augustus Prew (Charlie St. Cloud), Abbie Cornish (RoboCop), Ian Hart (Luck), Johnny Simmons (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower), Conor Leslie (Chained), Tim Roth and Tim Blake Nelson are set or in negotiations to join Chris Cooper in the project, produced by Scott Free Prods., Discovery Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures. Assembling a cast of established actors for Klondike was important for Discovery as it enters the scripted arena. Based on Charlotte Gray’s novel Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich In The Klondike, the mini tells the story of six strangers and their collective fight for survival and wealth in a small, frontier town in the remote Klondike. Read More »
The February 10 helicopter crash that killed three men on the set of an upcoming Discovery Channel reality TV show occurred while the crew was prepping to film a nighttime maneuver, according to a … Read More »
Ottawa-based director and DOP John Driftmier was killed in a plane crash in Kenya on Sunday, production company Pixcom has confirmed. He was 30. Driftmier was in Kenya shooting aerial sequences for the second season of Dangerous Flights, … Read More »
The 2002 documentary Argo: Inside Story explored the operation made famous by Ben Affleck’s Argo to rescue U.S. hostages from post-revolutionary Iran by disguising them as a Canadian film crew. The production featured interviews with several of the … Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 23 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. This week Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom look at a bullish CBS and its new minority stake in AXS TV; an upbeat Discovery despite missing the quarter’s expectations, Media Rights Capital’s new movie co-financing business and Time Warner’s decision get out of a very old business.
Deadline Big Media, Episode 23 (MP3 format)
Deadline Big Media, Episode 23 (MP4A format) Read More »
3RD UPDATE: All three victims of the helicopter crash have now been officially identified: pilot David Gibbs, 59, of Valencia; cameraman Darren Rydstrom, 45, of Whittier; and cast member Michael Donatelli, 45, of Indiana, PA. Donatelli’s background is unclear, though there is a former elite Special Forces Army officer-turned-private contractor by that name listed in Indiana, PA.
2ND UPDATE: The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office would not release the identities of the victims pending notification of next of kin but multiple sources identified the pilot as 59-year-old David Gibbs, owner of Crossbow Helicopters, the company the permit was issued to; and one of the passengers as Darren Rydstrom, 45, an experienced camera operator and DP.
UPDATED: The 3 died in a helicopter crash while filming a new reality TV series in California. The yet untitled military show is being produced for Discovery Channel by JD Roth and Todd Nelson’s Eyeworks USA (formerly 3 Ball Prods.), whose credits include NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Read More »
Following in the footsteps of History, which made a splashy entrance into scripted programming with the blockbuster miniseries Hatfields & McCoys starring Kevin Costner, Discovery Channel too has tapped an Oscar winner for its first scripted … Read More »
Discovery Channel has promoted Dolores Gavin to EVP of Development and Production, East. Gavin, previously SVP, will continue to oversee all aspects of Discovery Channel’s development and programming that originate from the network’s east coast offices, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The gold mining gang from Discovery Channel‘s hit docu series Gold Rush is trying its luck in the Klondike this season, after the the series hit another ratings high on Friday. The cable network is staying in the iconic Arctic area with its first scripted program — a miniseries about the Klondike Gold Rush of 1895 co-produced by Scott Free Television, Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures. Discovery has given the green light to the mini, tentatively titled Klondike, which is based on Canadian journalist Charlotte Gray’s novel Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich In The Klondike. Written by Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring, Klondike tells the story of six strangers and their collective fight for survival and wealth in a small frontier town in the remote Klondike. It follows two childhood best friends, Bill and Epstein, in the late 1890s as they head to the gold rush capital in the untamed Yukon Territory. In that land full of undiscovered wealth, they must navigate harsh conditions, unpredictable weather and desperate, dangerous characters including greedy businessmen, seductive courtesans and native tribes witnessing the destruction of their people and land by opportunistic entrepreneurs. “Klondike was the last great gold rush; one which triggered a flood of prospectors ill-equipped, emotionally or otherwise, for the extreme and grueling conditions of the remote Yukon wilderness,” said Ridley Scott. “The personal adventures are as epic as the landscape, where ambition, greed, sex and murder, as well as their extraordinary efforts to literally strike it rich, are all chronicled by a young Jack London himself.”
Epic period miniseries like Klondike already provided a successful entry into scripted programming for two other basic cable networks — AMC with Broken Trail, which was co-produced by Nomadic, and History, which like Discovery is best known for its stable of blue-collar docu reality series, with Hatfield & McCoys. With Klondike, Discovery is branching out from unscripted programming while staying in its signature “gold rush” arena, which has provided the setting for several of its reality series including Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold and Jungle Gold. “We’ve been developing scripted for some time but wanted to find the perfect fit. When we read Gold Diggers, we knew we finally found it,” said Eileen O’Neill, Group President of Discovery and TLC Networks, “Discovery created and owns the ‘gold’ narrative with several of our hit series and we’re elated to partner with Scott Free Television and eOne Television on a subject we know so well as our first, scripted project.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Channel has tapped actor Kal Penn to host its new competition series The Big Brain Theory, executive produced by Craig Piligian. Penn also will serve as producer on the eight-episode engineering completion, which was greenlighted in January for a spring 2013 debut. Penn, best known for his roles in the Harold & Kumar feature franchise and Fox series House as well as for his stint working in the White House, began taping the Discovery show earlier this week at WET (Water Entertainment Technologies), the well-known Los Angeles-based water/fire feature design and engineering firm that is behind some 200+ installations, including such technological landmarks as Fountains of Bellagio at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and The Dubai Fountain, the world’s biggest fountain. The show, which is produced by Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, has design engineers competing against each other in extreme challenges that push the boundaries of technology, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship. Read More »
UPDATED: That astronomical number for Red Bull Channel is a milestone for the YouTube video platform, as well as a marketing bonanza for the energy drink company. The number of online views for the jump was … Read More »
Nutopia is the UK-based documentary and reality production outfit founded by former Discovery Channel US president, Jane Root. The company is best known for its ‘mega-docs’ including 12-hour Emmy-winning series America: The Story Of US, which aired on History in … Read More »
Discovery Channel has picked up Kurt Sutter’s Outlaw Empires, a new series executive produced by the Sons Of Anarchy creator, which will premiere on My 14. Produced by Studio Lambert and Sutterink, the six-part series will feature famous American … Read More »