TCA: Nat Geo Readies For 'Expedition Week'

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Tribal headshrinkers, killer sharks, and a potentially habitable Mars are some of the subjects National Geographic Channel will explore as part of its second annual "Expedition Week" set for November.

But it was a bunch of big, tough looking, animal rescuers that captured the attention of TV critics at Nat Geo's Television Critics Association presentation here Wednesday.

The burly men with colorful nicknames like Big Ant, Johnny O and Joe Panz -are part of a new series, Rescue Ink Unleashed debuting Sept. 25.

The eight man group -- some with tattoos and criminal backgrounds -- have a soft spot for abused animals and no love for those who abuse them. First discovered by Nat Geo from a recent New York Times article, the New York-based outfit receives more than 100 requests a week to rescue abused or abandoned cats, dogs, chickens and even piranhas -- and often their heroics place them in direct confrontations with pet owners.

While they stop short of physically abusing these owners, they don't have any problem influencing these law breakers with a bit of intimidation.

"But we can't rescue animals if we're sitting in a jail cell," said the 300-plus pound Big Ant.

Meanwhile, shows set for Nat Geo's seven-day "Expedition Week" include The Search For The Amazon Headshrinkers, an expedition to the Amazon sparked by actual footage of a human head being shrunk; Expedition Great White, which follows the exploits of people who capture, examine and then release great white sharks; and Mars: Making The New Earth, which takes a closer look at whether life can exist on the red planet.