Planet Green Chief Seeks 'Great Narratives' To Air


Laura Michalchyshyn says she's tasked her Planet Green colleagues to come up with that Discovery-owned network's own version of signature hits like Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch or Animal Planet's River Monsters.
"The focus that was missing was personality and character," the former Sundance Channel general manger said of the year-old channel that she took over, as president and GM, in March after Eileen O'Neill shifted to TLC.
"The channel has to be about great narratives," she said.
She estimates 65% of the shows on Planet Green, which was created from the former Discovery Home, are in the "how-to" vein, giving viewers information about how to be more environmentally correct. Most of that programming belongs on the channel's Web sites, and, she said. "It's a big challenge."
The Planet has been evolving, though: she said maybe 40% of the programming is different now from the channel's June 2008 launch.
A slate of pilots is going to be announced later this month at the Television Critics Association gathering in Hollywood, with shows from them picked by fall to join the originals' lineup in 2010. Changes she's made so far include getting Emeril Lagasse out of his show's Whole Foods Market base to do four specials. The first two aired June 29: Emeril went to Fort Lee in Richmond, Va., to meet service men and women training to be military cooks. The channel has also acquired the Food Network Canada show 100 Mile Challenge, in which six families agree to only eat food produced within 100 miles of their homes. A Saturday night documentary block is coming in September.
Michalchyshyn, who attended the Discovery TSX opening in Manhattan June 25, wants to find some way to use the space in a tie-in with next April's 40th anniversary of Earth Day.