Outdoor Channel will ring in the new year and the Nielsen calendar with a bevy of new programming, including the bows of nine new series in the first quarter.
The independent programmer, which also will debut new episodes of 65 extant series, welcomes big-names from the outdoors, Hollywood and pro sports communities, including Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson, who joins Tom Brokaw Michael Keaton, angling icon Lefty Kreh and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on Buccaneer and Bones. The award-winning series, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Fishing, also makes its return to the network with new fishing adventures, featuring fan favorites such as Kevin VanDam and Bill Dance.
"Outdoor Channel continues to offer unique, quality programming that appeal to a wide-range of audiences across several genres within the outdoor lifestyle. In 2012, we are kicking-off the year with brand-new shows and revamping some of our popular series with more celebrity hosts and fresh faces," said Outdoor Channel COO Tom Hornish in announcing the lineup. "As the preeminent source for best-in-class outdoor programming, the network is committed to providing our avid outdoorsmen and women with exclusive content only found on Outdoor Channel."
The series premieres begin on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. (ET) with Border Battles,a look at the lives, through reenactments and personal stories behind the Americans who put their lives on the line every day to protect the U.S.
The following night at 8 p.m. will provide the first look at FoxPro Furtakers, where each episode features multiple hunts and non-stop action, and introduces viewers to ideal locations, tactics, and gear for predator hunting. Mike Dillon, Abner Druckenmiller and Al Morris serve as the hosts.
There are a pair of new shows on Dec. 30. Kicking off at 7:30 p.m., Gridiron Outdoors features current and retired NFL players who take their game from the field into the wild and onto the water to experience the adventures of hunting and fishing. Among those in Outdoor Channel's huddle: Jerome Felton catching shark in Key West; Pro Bowler Alex Mack learning to billfish in Guatemala; and Super Bowl linebacker Scott Fujita fly fishing in Idaho.
Four hours later viewers can join 27-year veteran professional angler and lead diver, Kim Stricker, and his son Danny on Hook 'N Look as they explore lake bottoms. The program provides vistas from a fish-eye perspective, while demonstrating the action and effectiveness of lures from beneath the surface.
Also ready to bow on Outdoor: Project: Dominion debuts Dec. 31 at 1:30 a.m.; Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Fishing starts Dec. 31 at 5 p.m.; Fly Rod Chronicles casts Dec. 31 at 6 p.m.; American Bird Hunter takes flight, Jan. 1 at 12:30 p.m.; and Outfitter's Showcase begins Jan. 1 at 2 p.m.
Check out the network's full Q1 programming schedule here.