Animal Planet Announce 2015-16 Upfront Programming Slate
Today, ANIMAL Planet officially unveils its 2015-2016 Upfront slate. The network's diverse offering of new and returning programming promises to connect ANIMAL Planet audiences with the untamed natural world. In 2014, ANIMAL Planet ranked among the top-20 ad-supported cable networks in prime among Men 25-54 for the third consecutive year. Looking ahead, the network promises its Male and Female viewers raw, unpredictable and 'unscriptable' entertainment."Animal Planet's 2015-16 programming and characters have a wild, untamed streak that's a powerful invitation to viewers," says Marjorie Kaplan, Group President of ANIMAL Planet, TLC and Velocity. "The more we live apart from the wild world, the more we crave authentic experiences that bring us closer to that sweet spot where humans and animals coexist." "Animal Planet is a dynamic television brand that's constantly evolving. 'Living wild' is a big part of our network's underlying ethos and is our North Star when commissioning content," says Rick Holzman, General Manager and Executive Vice President of ANIMAL Planet. "It's evident in the range of programming we've developed for the year ahead, including our proven returning series and several surprising new offerings." Perhaps nothing is wilder than the network's best-performing series RIVER MONSTERS, which has enthralled viewers over the past six seasons and scored its most-watched opener ever last year. On April 5, ANIMAL Planet is launching its seventh season, and this time, biologist/angler Jeremy Wade's expeditions are so deep, they plunge all way into the Jurassic past - searching for the greatest RIVER MONSTERS of all time. On the same night, the network is off and running with 100 MILES FROM NOWHERE, a new series that features three best friends who try to get as far off the beaten path as possible... and then go 100 miles farther. Wild takes many forms for ANIMAL Planet, including epic big-character programming; muscular conservation content; intimate stories about people and their pets; blue-chip natural history documentaries; and wish-fulfilling builds that allow people to reconnect with nature. The network's 2015-16 slate of new programming includes series and specials in the following network genres: NEW PROGRAMMING ANNOUNCED TODAY SHERIFF OF CROSS RIVER Muscular Conservation Genre SHERIFF OF CROSS RIVER is the latest in ANIMAL Planet's epic muscular conservation genre in the vein of the popular series Whale Wars. SHERIFF OF CROSS RIVER follows Peter Jenkins - Nigeria's leading wildlife warrior and a cross between Clint Eastwood and Paul Watson. In the extremely dangerous Cross River region, Peter and his team go to any means necessary to ward off poachers, clear cutters and other nefarious human threats from the area's ANIMAL population; including the drill, the world's most endangered primate. (Red Rock Films with Triosphere Productions) AMERICA BUILDS A SHELTER People and Pets Genre Think Extreme Home Makeover but with an ANIMAL Planet twist. ANIMAL shelters around the country are in desperate need of help; they are underfunded and overtaxed but determined not to turn away any animals. With AMERICA BUILDS A SHELTER, viewers identify deserving ANIMAL shelters in need of renovations to help with their noble missions. In each quarterly special, one fortunate shelter receives a complete transformation, which viewers are able to see from inception to completion. (Ardaban) RESTORATION WILD Environmental Build Genre RESTORATION WILD is a nature build series that captures the mind-blowing magic of Treehouse Masters. The series follows visionary wild man Jay Chaikin and his crew of expert builders and designers as they identify and repurpose the coolest vintage structures and relics left abandoned in the landscape. Jay and his team transform this waste into amazing one-of-a-kind living spaces. An expert in transforming dilapidated spaces, Jay converts a vintage bus into a breathtaking guesthouse on wheels, flips a centuries-old cabin into an over-the-top hunting-lodge basement hangout and much, much more. (Loud TV) LIVING WITH MANEATERS Natural History Genre In India, the close proximity of human and great predatory cats has created a fascinating and very complex relationship. Perhaps nowhere else in the world is the line between the untamed and the developed so incredibly thin. This two-hour special explores the delicate balance among man, tigers, leopards and lions all living on top of each other and examines what happens when this balance is thrown off. (NHNZ Ltd.) ADDITIONAL NEW SERIES/SPECIALS Epic: LAST NORTH In February 2014, renowned Polar adventurers Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters began what is considered the most difficult expedition on the planet: traversing the Arctic Ocean from Northern Ellesmere Island to the geographic North Pole with just their hand-drawn sleds and the gear they bring with them. The team traveled unsupported - with no camera crews or resupply missions. Their goal: to break the current time record of 49 days. (High Noon Entertainment) FISH OR DIE (WT) Four diehard anglers and ADRENALINE JUNKIES are determined to go where no fisherman ever has gone before. Traversing all seven continents in a vegetable-oil-powered pickup truck in search of Earth's last unexplored waters, they embark on the greatest adventure of their lives in FISH OR DIE. Along the way, they battle parasites, dodge drug cartels and survive off the bare essentials as they risk their lives in attempt to fulfill their dreams. (Watson Pond Productions) BIGFOOT FOUND (WT) Renowned mountaineer Reinhold Messner and British scientist Mark Evans journey from the Italian Alps to THE HIMALAYAS to New York State in an epic search to find the legendary yeti. Featuring Messner's survival skills and cutting-edge science, BIGFOOT FOUND is a visually spectacular, rugged adventure following one of the most involved and exhaustive expeditions ever to find the legendary creature. (Icon Films) CURSE OF THE FROZEN GOLD For generations, the legendary Lost Creek Mine and its untold riches have inspired men to brave the wild to seek its fortune. However, many of those who struck out to find its gold never returned to tell the tale. In CURSE OF THE FROZEN GOLD, an expert treasure hunter and a team of trained outdoorsmen test their skills and their sanity in the search of the ultimate prize. They could return home rich - or they could not return home at all. (JV Productions) Muscular Conservation ANIMAL BLACK OPS (WT) ANIMAL BLACK OPS follows the Office of Law Enforcement, a special unit of the Fish and Wildlife Services. The organization boasts more than 250 special agents and its own forensic laboratory, which supports international investigations of wildlife crimes.The ANIMAL BLACK OPS team exists to defend the defenseless and use their world-class skills to guard animals from the corrupt and the villainous. (World Media Rights) LONE STAR LAW Everything is bigger in Texas. In the new series LONE STAR LAW, viewers get unprecedented access to the more than 500 agents of Texas Parks and Wildlife WARDENS who embark on dangerous missions to apprehend those who commit crimes against nature. The series captures the more than 60,000 arrests each year made by the WARDENS as they execute undercover stings, work on ongoing investigations and protect their territories. (Engel Entertainment) Natural History: LANDS OF THE MONSOON (WT) This landmark blue-chip natural-history special transports viewers to some of the most exotic and mysterious places on Earth - full of the new, the unknown and the surprising. LANDS OF THE MONSOON unveils an extraordinary cast of ANIMAL characters of staggering diversity, including iconic tigers and rhinos of the Indian subcontinent and the bizarre, little-known wildlife of Southeast Asia. (BBC Sales Company/JVP) WILD COSTA RICA Sandwiched between two seas and two continents and located near the narrowest point of Central America, Costa Rica is a popular tourist destination. It's also a treasure trove of wildlife and the crown jewel of the planet's biodiversity as it's home to approximately 4.5 percent of Earth's known species. (Warehouse 51 Productions) WILD INDIA (WT) WILD INDIA searches for the remarkable, the iconic and the elusive. It follows the largest elephant migration outside of Africa, life-and-death struggles on the slopes of the world's tallest mountains and seasonal clashes in the rainforest. (NHNZ Ltd.) PREDATOR AND BAIT (WT) Featuring the world's most renowned, cunning and feared hunters - lions, hyenas, polar bears, and sharks - this new wildlife adventure series teams former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert with various experts to go to remote locations to study these fascinating animals. From the plains of Zambia to the frozen ice floes of Norway to the treacherous waters off the coast of South Africa, Lambert and his scientific colleagues traverse the globe to study these animals intimately. Using a specially built, safety-tested TRANSPARENT pod, Joel and his comrades spend up to 24 hours living amongst these majestic predators while giving enough distance to respect their territory from a safe distance. (Plimsoll Productions) PATAGONIA: EDGE OF EARTH (WT) Patagonia conjures up visions of the ultimate landscape of the mind. It is a region that varies towering mountains, vast tablelands and prolific seas at the southern tip of the 'New World.' PATAGONIA: EDGE OF EARTH reveals for the first time the spectacular landscape, diversity of habitats, rich wildlife and remote cultures of Chile in the west and Argentina to the east. (BBC Worldwide Americas) Environmental Build: ALASKA PROOF (WT) In the quest to harness the essence of Alaska into a bottle of Vodka, the determined team at Alaska Distillery journeys to the far reaches of the wilderness to harvest the finest exotic ingredients Mother Nature and the Last Frontier have to offer. Expeditions into the bush come at a high cost and are sometimes dangerous, but to these artisans, it's a price they're willing to pay in order to create the world's finest vodka. (Matador Content LLC) RETURNING SERIES/SPECIALS FINDING BIGFOOT Animal Planet's hit series FINDING BIGFOOT investigates compelling evidence that may prove the existence of this elusive creature. The team uses unconventional methodologies and new technologies to lure the creature from behind the shadows to get physical video and audio evidence to prove that there is a community of these sasquatches among us. The intrepid cast of investigators - Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) president Matt Moneymaker, researchers James "Bobo" Fay and Cliff Barackman and skeptical scientist Ranae Holland - has traveled across the U.S. and internationally to follow up on evidence and first-hand eyewitness accounts. (Ping Pong Productions) ICE LAKE REBELS The freeze and thaw periods are the two most deadly times of the year on the pristine Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories in Canada. This series follows a handful of renegade house boaters as they hunt for food, drill for water, trade for necessities and protect their turf. It's a lawless frozen lake of ultra-libertarians forced together during brutal winters. Choosing an alternative lifestyle, these rebels - families, couples and singles - have moved off terra firma and onto floating homes and houseboats... As one rebel says, "It's not man you have to worry about; it's woman - Mother Nature." (RelativityREAL) INSANE POOLS: OFF THE DEEP END The hit series INSANE POOLS: OFF THE DEEP END goes south to Florida to follow award-winning pool designer Lucas Congdon and his crew at Lucas Lagoons. The team tackles unprecedented designs, challenging clients, impossible build sites and much more on their quest to build breathtaking escapes in everyday backyards. (Fishbowl WorldWide Media) MONSTERS INSIDE ME Contrary to popular belief, some monsters are real. They are faceless and grotesque enemies invading a very unsuspecting target - our bodies. MONSTERS INSIDE ME recounts the harrowing drama of people infected by deadly parasites, viruses and bacteria as doctors and scientists work to unravel each case before it's too late. Lurking in the shadows of our bodies and showing no mercy, these monsters live among us. (Optomen Productions) NORTH WOODS LAW In NORTH WOODS LAW, ANIMAL Planet follows the adventures of the men and women of the elite Maine Warden Service whose patrollers save lives and fight crime across 18 million acres of rugged, perilous and unpredictable terrain. In Maine, game WARDENS must safeguard people and animals within the wilderness while they also enforce general state law. Each day on the job brings unexpected challenges and intense situations. Whether they're rescuing animals in distress, embarking on search-and-rescue missions or investigating crimes, the game WARDENS are never far from danger. (Engel Entertainment) PIT BULLS & PAROLEES Tia Torres is a firm believer in second chances. She has dedicated the past two decades to building Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull rescue center in the U.S. Torres gives a new lease on life to dogs that were discarded, demonized and abused often due solely to the reputation of their breeds. Villalobos also has offered a fresh start to the more than 50 parolees whom Tia has employed - each trying to get his life on the right track despite also being stigmatized by society for his past. Man and man's best friend continue down the hard road to redemption in PIT BULLS & PAROLEES. (44 Blue Productions/Rive Gauche Productions) PUPPY BOWL XII Let the tailgating begin! The most anticipated - and cutest - sporting event of the season gets bigger and better every year! PUPPY BOWL brings on the Ruff and Tuff all-star cast of cuteness. Featuring fan favorites including the water-bowl cam, kiss cam and an aerial view of the field provided by a blimp and its hamster pilots, this year's big game highlights puppy drama from inside the stadium on game day. Each year, PUPPY BOWL introduces a new breed of cheerleaders, the kitty halftime performance and a surprising new action on the field. (Discovery Studios, LLC) REDWOOD KINGS REDWOOD KINGS uncovers the artistry that goes into turning ancient, fallen and reclaimed redwood trees into creative works of art. Creating carvings of animated characters, movie and theme-park facades, and even treehouses; twin brothers Ron and John Daniels work side by side at their theming company. It isn't all a forest fairytale though; things can get splintery when "little" brother Ron must turn off the chainsaw and reign in John,"The Carving Cowboy," in order to keep every project on schedule and on budget. (NHNZ) RIVER MONSTERS In ANIMAL Planet's RIVER MONSTERS, extreme angler Jeremy Wade takes viewers along as he unravels freshwater fish tales of giant killers, where sometimes fact really is stranger than fiction. ANIMAL Planet's best-performing series in network history follows Wade on a worldwide search for harrowing stories of bloodthirsty fish. A fearless explorer, he aims to hook the finned culprits that are thought to attack humans and reveal how much truth lies in the legends. (Icon Films) RUGGED JUSTICE RUGGED JUSTICE follows the officers of Washington State's Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Program as they police the Evergreen State's unforgiving mountain terrains, twisted back roads and densely populated coastal areas. No matter the danger, these officers tirelessly enforce the law. (Shark Teeth Films) TANKED The Las Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM) is one of the country's most successful builders of aquariums, and co-owners Wayde King and Brett Raymer are two of Sin City's most imaginative businessmen. They're tasked with building some of the most enormous and awe-inspiring tanks and aquariums for top celebrities, luxury hotels and casinos, Fortune 500 businesses and private homes and millionaire homeowners across the country. These all are filled with the most exotic, unusual, colorful and dangerous fish in the world. ATM takes on more than 200 projects every year with tanks ranging from 50 to 50,000 gallons in size. (Nancy Glass Productions) TREEHOUSE MASTERS Often described as a tree whisperer by his clients, colleagues and contemporaries, Pete Nelson dedicates himself to granting people's dreams of turning peaceful nooks in nature into the ultimate escapes. In TREEHOUSE MASTERS, Nelson and his team execute the most OUTRAGEOUS treehouses designed to delight every whimsy, form and function and reconnect his clients with nature. Whether he's contriving magnificent multi-bedroom treehouses with state-of-the-art kitchens and bathrooms or rendering simpler, peaceful, one-room escapes, Nelson always goes out on a limb to create the most breathtaking treehouses with spectacular vistas. (Stiletto Television) Animal Planet Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the ANIMAL KINGDOM with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers ANIMAL lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. ANIMAL Planet consists of the ANIMAL Planet television network, available in more than 94 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; ANIMAL Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access to the ANIMAL kingdom; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service, and merchandising extensions.