LOWDOWN ON THE UPFRONT: History Uncovers Diverse Development


Planes, tunnels and motorcycles and will be the subjects of several new History original series that are expected to announced Monday as part of the network’s upfront presentation in New York.

Among the new shows set to launch later this are Extreme Trains, an eight-episode series set to launch this fall, profiling the longest, strongest and coolest trains ever created; Sandhogs, part of the network’s “American Original” programming strand, which over 12 episodes this fall will dig up the history of every tunnel and underground project in New York City; and The Works, an examination of the history and some unknown facts about such complex and familiar objects such as steel, motorcycles and power tools over 10 original episodes.

Also on History’s docket: Evolve, a 13-installments series that will look at the key innovations that have driven nature’s evolutionary path from the dawn of life to today; and Surviving History, a nine-episode series wherein thrill-seeking history buffs put history’s artifacts and weapons to the test.

History also will utilize high-definition CGI rendering and other new contemporary visual styles to produce its six-episode series What Went Down – a reproduction of unseen moments in history through the eyes of key witnesses at the center of the action. Similarly, high-tech techniques will guide Battles B.C., which focuses on the heroes and military strategies of the ancient world.

The diverse slate is part of the $650 million A&E Television Networks is allocating to new series and content in 2008 across its varied holdings. 

The new series will join on the schedule the network’s most popular show Ice Road Truckers, which will return with new episodes in June, as well as previously announced series Eyes on Target (working title) and Jurassic Fight Club.

“Our commitment to great storytelling and immersing viewers in the narrative is at the heart of our success, said History executive vice president and general manager Nancy Dubuc in a statement. “These new series reflect that and speak volumes about where we are headed.”

On the specials front, the network will travel to space with the 2009 debut of Moonshot, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the moon landing; will ride into the Old West with a six-hour miniseries Cowboys; and willtravel back 65 million years to examine the extinction of the prehistoric behemoths in the two-hour special What Really Killed The Dinosaurs?.

The human body will get a physical examination in two specials set to debut in fourth quarter 2008, according to History. The two-hour special The Brain, seeks to unlock the secrets of our most complex machine, while Secrets of Body Language aspires to demonstrate how we communicate through gestures, facial expressions and body movement.

Other History specials include: The American Future: A History, a four-hour special which tackles four issues that has changed the nation over time; and Einstein, a revealing look at the personal and professional life of the genius.