Animal Planet to Bow First Scripted Series


Animal Planet is ready to paw at scripted series. The Discovery Networks U.S. channel on August 13 will bow Beware Of Dog, its first stab at scripted series fare.

The show will be based on family life from a dog's point of view, said Animal Planet executive vice president and general manager Michael Cascio at the Television Critics Association press tour here last week. Cascio said Animal Planet will air two episodes of the series and, if successful, will commission additional installments later this year.

He said Beware Of Dog
represents an extension of the network's programming lineup.

"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 that our audience will want because the network represents the best of relationships between humans and animals."

The network also announced another canine project set to launch this fall —Dog Days, an eight-hour miniseries, chronicling the personal and professional lives of several New Yorkers and their dogs.

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

TLC also plans to debut 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 Places; and Full Metal Challenge, an offshoot of the network's popular Junkyard Wars

The network also will premiere several specials during the fourth quarter, notably 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.

For their part, Discovery Channel executives talked up the two-hour Dec. 8 special 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 with the American Diabetes Association to develop future programming to increase awareness of the disease. In addition, the network will premiere on Sept. 30 Medial Profile,
a one-hour series that will spotlight a celebrity and his or her medical issue, Discovery Health Channel senior vice president and general manager Bob Reid said.