Animal to Launch First Scripted Series


Pasadena, Calif. -- Discovery Networks U.S.' Animal Planet will launch its
first scripted series, Beware of Dog, this fall.

The series, based on family life from a dog's point of view, will debut Aug.
13, Animal Planet executive vice president and general manager Michael Cascio
said at the Television Critics Association tour here.

The network will air two episodes of the series, and, if successful,
commission additional episodes later this year, he added.

Despite its maiden voyage into scripted programming, Cascio said the network
doesn't have any immediate plans to create additional series. Nevertheless,
Beware of Dog represents an extension of the network's programming

'We're a family-entertainment channel, and that includes a wide variety of
programming, so it's a natural evolution for us,' Cascio said. 'It's something
we think our audience will want because the network represents the best of
relationships between humans and animals.'

Animal Planet also announced another canine series set to launch this fall,
Dog Days, an eight-hour miniseries that will chronicle the personal and
professional lives of several New Yorkers and their dogs, Cascio said.

Along with the new series, the network will debut a new original movie Aug.
19 titled Hope Ranch, which tells the story of troubled teens and the
animals that help them overcome various obstacles.

In other Discovery Networks TCA announcements, Travel Channel will air Sept.
5 Airport: On Alert, an unprecedented look at events that took place at
San Francisco International Airport during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Learning Channel will debut three new series during the fourth quarter:
Beyond Tough, a look at America's wildest jobs, starring Ice T (Law
& Order
); While You Were Out, a companion series to Trading
; and Full Metal Challenge, an offshoot of the network's
popular Junkyard Wars series.

The network will also premiere several specials during the fourth quarter,
including Before We Ruled the Earth, a two-hour special presenting the
latest scientific knowledge on evolution; Speed: Without Limits, a
fast-paced look at the science of speed; and Human Instinct, a four-part
series probing the instinctive side of human behavior.

Discovery Channel will air a two-hour special Dec. 8 titled James
Cameron's Expedition: Bismark
, in which the Titanic movie director
probes the underwater remains of the sunken World War II German battleship.

Discovery Health Channel will team up with the American Diabetes Association
to develop future programming to increase awareness of the disease.

In addition, the network will premiere Sept. 30 Medical Profile, a
one-hour series that will spotlight a celebrity and his or her medical issue,
Discovery Health senior VP and GM Bob Reid said.

Discovery Kids has tapped actor Ben Stiller to narrate its new series,
Prehistoric Planet, which is part of the network's new 'NBC Saturday
Morning' block.