Sharknado! star Ian Ziering has been added to the guest list on Discovery Channel‘s first Shark Week after-show, Shark After Dark. Also signed: original Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, shark-diving WWE Wrestler Justin Gabriel, world-level surfer Laird Hamilton, as well as …
EXCLUSIVE: Back when Shark After Dark was announced — from after-show impresario Michael Davies (The Talking Dead, Watch What Happens Live) and CBS late-night host/avid Shark Week fan Craig Ferguson — Discovery Channel said it was lining up guests for its first late-night Shark Week after-show who were Shark Week-passionate or had shark connections. Mark Cuban, of course, stars in ABC’s Shark Tank. Close enough. Lost fave Dominic Monaghan now stars in BBC America’s nature show, Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan which that network announced is returning for another season in 2014. And Tara Reid is enjoying a career resuscitation as one of the two-legged scenery chewers in Syfy’s flick/media darling Sharknado! which, in its third run on the network, snagged its biggest audience yet — 2 mil plus.
Related: Syfy Orders ‘Sharknado 2′
Not surprisingly, Discovery Channel announced this morning it will roll out its documentary from the Naudet brothers, in which they interviewed every living White House Chiefs of Staff, on Sept. 11. The two hour special will air for one hour that night and one hour the next night, at 9 PM ET/PT. Gedeon and Jules Naudet, you’ll recall, are the young documentary filmmakers who happened to be at the right/wrong place at just the right/wrong time when Jules accompanied members of the Engine 7, Ladder 1 firehouse in Lower Manhattan to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 and shot footage of American Airlines Flight 11 hitting the north tower of the center and the complex’s collapse. (He and Gedeon were working on a docu about the firehouse at the time.) That footage became the 2002 documentary 9/11 which was aired to acclaim by CBS.
UPDATED, 1 PM: Hours after Syfy network announced it would repeat last night’s orgy of bad special effects and even worse acting known as Sharknado in response to the social media feeding frenzy it triggered, and word got out the network was mulling a sequel, Nielsen reported the movie was actually watched by an average of 1.369 million people.
In case you were one of the 312 million or so people in the country who did not watch, Sharknado, in round numbers, went like this: the ecological nightmare caused by global warming triggers a freak weather system that results in a mega tornado choc-a-block with angry sharks who sail through the air attacking innocent children and blondes, and causing to be uttered such lines as “they took my grandfather, so I really hate sharks.” The movie culminated in a mano-a-sharko scene, in which our hero Ian Ziering was swallowed by a flying shark but, happily, he had his chainsaw with him at the time; he sawed his way out, also rescuing the distressed damsel who’d earlier been consumed whole by same shark.
“Given the enormous popular demand, Syfy will present a special encore presentation of Sharknado on Thursday, July 18 at 7PM (ET/PT),” the network announced proudly this morning before the audience numbers came in.
EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Channel has ordered its second original scripted miniseries, about Scotland’s fight for independence from English rule in the 13th century. Scott Free Productions — the production house behind Discovery’s first original scripted mini, Klondike — is developing the new series chronicling William Wallace and Robert the Bruce’s bloody campaign for Scotland’s independence. The untitled project will be based on historical books by Nigel Tranter, including The Wallace and The Bruce Trilogy. Wallace, you’ll recall, was the title character played by Mel Gibson in the 1995 flick Braveheart. History wonks who did not look so favorably on some of the liberties taken with that Oscar-winning film, will like Discovery Channel’s rendition better, as it’s expected to stick more to the facts.
An average of 13 million people watched Nick Wallenda slowly walk a wire across the Colorado River Gorge while conducting a running dialogue with God and Jesus last night on Discovery Channel. “Oh, I praise you, Jesus. Lord, help this cable to calm down — command it,” the 34-year-old aerialist suggested a few yards into his quarter-mile “Skywire” stunt. Wallenda was not wearing a harness but had a microphone and two cameras — including one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that was focused dead ahead. Discovery telecast the ratings grab with a 10-second delay in the U.S. and a couple hundred other countries. The two-hour event delivered 8.5 million total viewers — jumping to 13 million during the actual walk.
Note to Wallenda: you might want to re-think the whole “no harness” thing, because the extra dange did not goose your ratings. They were on par with the numbers you clocked for your last made-for-TV high-wire act, crossing Niagara Falls for ABC. That stunt, which ABC aired last June, averaged 10.1 million viewers, peaking at 13.1 million viewers during the walk.
Anyway, Discovery noted this morning Sunday’s stunt shattered records across numerous platforms including social media, where Wallenda generated 1.3 million tweets becoming the #1 most social show across broadcast and cable in the U.S.
For comparison sake: during the 9:30-10 half hour, in which Wallenda was actually walking the wire and clocking 13 million viewers, ABC’s Whodunnit? logged 3.8 million people, CBS’s The Good Wife rerun snared 3.3 mil, NBC’s Crossing Lines bagged 4.2 mil and Fox’s American Dad repeat popped 3.2 mil.
Producers JD Roth and Todd Nelson are among the defendants in a wrongful death complaint filed today. They join Van Nuys Copters, Crossbow Helicopters, Orbic Air and several others in the filing (read it here) by Jerie S. Rydstrom, mother of deceased cameraman Darren Rydstrom. He, pilot David Gibbs and cast member Michael Donatelli were killed when their helicopter crashed early on February 10 during filming of a Discovery Channel reality show.
The trio died after being thrown from the copter in an open field at the Polsa Rosa Ranch in Acton. They were shooting a then untitled military show being produced for Discovery Channel by Roth and Nelson’s Eyeworks USA (formerly 3 Ball Prods.). The partners have served as EPs on Biggest Loser as well on other reality series such as Splash and the recently returned Extreme Weight Loss. The suit alleges that pilot Gibbs was not “competent, qualified and sufficiently informed for the flight” for a scene for the show. “As a direct result of the negligent and careless conduct of the above-named defendants, and each of them, Plaintiffs decedent, Darren Arthur Rydstrom, suffered injuries that proved to be fatal”.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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.
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 …