About one month after taking over as EVP and chief creative officer at Discovery Networks International, Phil Craig announced five new series and specials ranging across genres like natural history, engineering, survival, science and aviation. The five series and specials will be broadcast across Discovery’s networks in more than 220 countries and territories in 2015 and 2016.
“I am thrilled to announce some fresh new content that expands the range and loosens the filters on some of our classical factual genres,” Craig said in a statement. “I came to Discovery to be part of a brand I’ve loved for nearly 30 years, to give our global content more energy, take it to new heights, to surprise and delight our viewers and satisfy their endless curiosity. This is just the beginning, as our London production hub starts to incubate new ideas with our independent production partners worldwide.”
Craig officially joined Discovery Networks International in February. He had previously been Head of Factual at ABC TV in Australia, and has a long history as a producer, and had led several past productions for Discovery, including Flight 93: The Flight That Fought Back.
“Some of this new content is moving to broadcast quickly, like our documentary on the AirAsia tragedy as the current investigation unfolds and the public’s curiosity remains high,” Craig added in his statement. “Others will take more time to develop, as sometimes epic stories need time to unfold.
The new shows and series are:
TERROR IN THE SKIES: AIRASIA AND BEYOND (April 2015)
This 1x60’ documentary examines the tragic events of Dec. 28, 2014, when AirAsia flight 8501 and its 155 passengers and seven crew members were lost in a storm, 40 minutes into their journey from Indonesia to Singapore. The documentary special reveals troubling connections between this accident and the shocking Air France disaster of 2009, and explores the cutting-edge technology designed to prevent such tragedies taking place again. Terror in the Skies is produced by ITN Productions and is commissioned by Elizabeth McIntyre and executive produced by Tom Gorham. Ian Russell is the executive producer for ITN.
ENGINE ADDICT WITH JIMMY DE VILLE (Autumn 2015)
This all-new 6x60’ series follows extreme engineer Jimmy de Ville on his mission to hunt down some of the world’s most rare and iconic engines and repurpose them in the most uncanny ways. As an engineer, race car driver, adventurer and soldier, Jimmy has been tinkering with – and rebuilding – engines and vehicles his entire life. In Engine Addict with Jimmy De Ville, Jimmy will explore abandoned factories, junkyards and deserted airfields to unearth an incredible range of combustion engines across the globe – traveling to Poland, India, Brazil, Sweden, Austria and the United Kingdom. Engine Addict with Jimmy De Ville is produced by Maverick TV. The series is commissioned by Elizabeth McIntyre and executive produced by Victoria Noble for Discovery Networks International, and is executive produced by Dan Goldsack and Jim Sayer for Maverick TV.
LOST AND STARVING (wt) (Winter 2016)
This series mixes adventure, survival and food, giving viewers a seat at the table for bizarre foods that just might save your life. The 6x60’ series features Mother Nature in her rarest form, teaming up British chef and restaurateur Matt Tebbutt with Kiwi survivalist and alpha male Josh James (pictured) to challenge not only their survival and culinary skills, but also one another.
Lost and Starving is produced by betty. The series is commissioned by Sarah Davies, executive produced by Liz Brach, with producer Rob Holloway for Discovery Networks International. For betty, Tom Sheahan is executive producer and Neil Smith is creative director.
THE BRAINY BUNCH (wt)(2016)
This entertaining, character-led series, inspired by “The Big Bang Theory,” introduces viewers to the personalities and keen minds behind some remarkable breakthroughs in science, technology and medicine. The series will feature more than a dozen pioneers in the fields of space, technology, aviation, robotics and design, who will work against all odds to create what was once deemed impossible, and ultimately, transform the way we live. Featuring an international cast of scholars, engineers, scientists and technicians from renowned institutions, each episode provides a peek behind closed doors of the world’s most innovative labs, workshops and test centres.
The Brainy Bunch (wt) is produced by Lime Pictures and is commissioned by Elizabeth McIntyre and executive produced by Tom Gorham. Jack Kennedy is the executive producer for Lime Pictures.
LIFE OF DOGS (wt) (2016)
This is Discovery Networks International’s first major natural history commission, made in an energized, popular style that Craig has termed “New-Chip,” a unique blending of traditional blue chip natural history with a new style of immersive, revelatory, storytelling.
This 5x60’ series provides unique insight into the incredible natural history of dogs. Observing dog breeds from across the world in their native settings, and in their modern day homes with humans, it reveals how the best friend that sits at your feet became so perfectly adapted to serve your needs or read your emotions, and how each breed has developed unique characteristics to better live and work alongside human beings. The series focuses on dogs at all four stages of domestication – wild dogs, worker dogs, domesticated pet dogs and the dogs released back into the wild – to reveal how dogs became our best friend and to show this amazing species in all its glory.
Life of Dogs (wt) is produced by Plimsoll Productions, with multiple award- winning natural history filmmaker Dr. Martha Holmes at the helm, and is commissioned and executive produced by Helen Hawken for Discovery.