At its luncheon press briefing on Monday in New York, Discovery Networks
U.S. announced just a fraction of the new series, specials and movies planned
for five analog networks during the 2001-2002 season. Discovery Networks
president Johnathan Rodgers put the total programming budget at $310 million for
the new season.
Discovery Channel executive vice president and general manager Clark Bunting
said that four quarterly specials are due under its ongoing 'Expedition
Adventure' umbrella. The next one will be In Search of the U.S.S.
Indianapolis in the fourth quarter, he said, followed by On the Trail:
The Search for Lewis & Clark, Viking Voyages and Top Secrets
of the Pyramids.
In addition, Bunting said, Walking with Prehistoric Beasts will pick
up in the fourth quarter where Walking with Dinosaurs left off, with the
extinction of those behemoths.
(The two most popular Expedition America specials so far have been Land of
the Mammoth earlier this year and Raising the Mammoth last year.)
Bunting also announced three new primetime series for Animal Planet, two of
which are due in fourth quarter: Vet School Confidential and Hollywood
Unleashed (about celebrities' pets). The Future Is Wild (using
computer animation to guess what future creatures may look like) is due in first
The Learning Channel's first original movie will be the fact-based Trapped
at Sea: TheKursk Mystery, said executive vice president and general
manager Jana Bennett. This drama about the recently doomed Russian submarine
will air in the first quarter.
Discovery Networks Content Group president John Ford announced that Travel
Channel will add Travel on the Edge as an anthology series and TV Road
Trip as a special visiting such sites as the ranch featured as the Ewing
spread in the Dallas TV series and the Manhattan diner featured in
BBC America plans a David Bowie concert special as well as U.S. premieres for
various comedy, series and movies.