The History Channel green-lit five weekly series -- a programming slate that covers Alaskan survival techniques, world-traveling martial-arts adventures, prehistoric dinosaur clashes and going to the edge of the unknown in the universe.
The new primetime shows are currently in production for the network and are set to premiere this year and next, officials said Tuesday.
“We want to harness the tremendous breadth and depth of history, to create energetic new directions for the network,” History executive vice president and general manager Nancy Dubuc said in a prepared statement. “We plan to build on the quality programming we are known for. By invigorating history with these new series, we aim to create riveting content and powerful storytelling -- something people feel compelled to tune in and watch each week.”
The network’s Web site will showcase each series with exclusive destination mini-sites featuring dynamic interactive broadband and short-form content, games, video logs, time lines and much more.
The network ordered eight episodes of Ice Road Truckers, where in the harsh winter of northernmost North America, miners rely on a tenacious group of long-haul truckers -- “top-drivers” -- to drive their rigs over hundreds of miles on ice roads cut across the surface of frozen lakes. Often the ice cannot support the heavy rigs and driver and cargo plunge through the ice and sink. That is why these men live with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the door at all times.
There is a 13-episode order for The Universe,which examines how discoveries about space were made and the scientists and explorers who dared to venture into the uncharted territory of the universe.
History also commissioned 13 episodes of Tougher in Alaska, which explores the guts and self-reliance -- not to mention ingenuity and technology -- it takes to survive the challenges of extreme cold and extreme isolation. Episodes will cover emergencies like the 1927 Nome diphtheria epidemic; how present-day structures like the pipeline are designed to withstand the potential fury of one of the most active seismic zones in the world; and how loggers must use helicopters to cope with remote locations.
There is also a 13-episode order for Human Weapon,where host Jason Chambers, a mixed martial artist and professional fighter, and Bill Duff, a former football player and wrestler, go on a quest to find the master of a different martial art. They venture to extreme and exotic places -- one week the seedy back streets of Bangkok to find Master Muay Thai fighter Suriya Ploenchit, and the next sampling local delicacies such as steamed silkworms and snake blood en route to face off with the reigning Taekwondo champion in South Korea.
Finally, History green-lit 10 episodes of Jurassic Fight Club,which depicts how prehistoric beasts hunted their prey, transforming their world into a battlefield. Blow by blow, each episode will dissect these battles, uncovering a predatory world far more calculated and complex than we originally thought.