Upfront Slates Take Shape

New York — Cable programmers Discovery Communications,
Scripps Networks, Style Network and Tru TV unveiled
their programming plans to advertisers in New York
during a busy upfront week.

Discovery Communications will look to reel in male
viewers with the 2011 launch of a new network, Velocity,
as the company continues to look for opportunities to rebrand
its existing digital networks.

Velocity will take over for Discovery HD Theater and launch
to about 40 million homes, the network said during its upfront
presentation here last Thursday (April 14). The service will offer
more than
400 hours of programming
in the
categories of automotive,
sports and
leisure, adventure
and travel.

Velocity will
join Viacom’s
Spike TV in
sharply focusing
on male viewers,
without the benefit of live major professional sports telecasts.

Other upfront announcements from Discovery-owned
channels include OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network’s plans
to launch a new 60-episode series chronicling the best of
The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah’s Encore will look back at
the talk show host’s most memorable moments from the
25-year-old syndicated talker, which wraps up May 25.

The network will also pick up six new series, including
Confronting ..., which documents mediation programs
that bring victims and offenders together to achieve closure;
I Owe You My Life
, which tells the stories of people
who take risky actions to protect others; and Louie Spence
Dance Project
, about a British choreographer brought in to
revamp the Broadway Dance Center’s program.

Animal Planet will look to build on its record 2010 ratings
year with 14 new series, including Romance Is Dead,
which follows a family-run pet taxidermy company; Rat
Busters NYC
, about a pest-control company in the Big Apple;
and Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer, a look at the world
of humane wildlife control in Tulsa, Okla.

Scripps Networks Interactive’s Food Network and Cooking
Channel said they will serve up nearly 30 new series
during 2011-12. Among them: Have Cake, Will Travel, about
a cake decorator traveling the country to create cakes for
special events; Heat Seekers, about two chefs searching for
the spiciest food in the country; Tough Cookies, a docu-soap
about a multi-generational family running a bakery in New
Jersey; and Supersizers, about two foodies who explore the
history of cuisine in different eras and receive medical exams
to see how the diets of days past affect their bodies.

Cooking Channel has five new series in primetime: Eat
St., Unique Sweets, The Originals With Emeril, From Spain
With Love
and Hook, Line & Dinner.

Coming off its best first quarter ever, Scripps’ Travel
Channel will offer several new and returning shows, including
Triple Rush, which focuses on the lives and culture
of New York City bike messengers; Mancations, showcasing
the best guy-only getaways; and Sand Masters (working
title), in which the “Sand Guys,” produce larger-than-life
sand sculptures that defy Mother Nature and gravity.

Travel will also return such series as Bizarre Foods With
Andrew Zimmern
, Bert the Conqueror, the reformatted
Man v. Food Nation
; and Ghost Adventures.

NBC Universal’s Style Network will look to target its
female-heavy “Shoptimists” audience with 13 new and
developing series and two returning shows which the network
announced during its upfront event.

Taking aim as a viewing destination for a group of women
18 to 49 who are positive, loyal and evolving, as well as
passionate shoppers and trendsetters, Style will roll out such
new series as Glam Factory, a 10-episode spinoff of its topranked
Jerseylicious, and Big Rich Texas, which follows five
wealthy women and their daughters who are members of a
Dallas country club.

Returning series include Giuliana & Bill, as the couple
embarks on life in Los Angeles, as well as a Big Apple version
of its Clean House franchise.

Turner Broadcasting System’s TruTV announced eight
new series in development and the renewal of three returning

Among the new projects are Semi-Pro, about a semi-professional
football team; Motoclash, about the making of
the world’s toughest motorcycle race; Guinness World Records,
about two brothers who coach each other on being
record holders; and South Beach Tow, about a family-run
towing business in Miami, said network officials.

The network has also acquired the exclusive, offnetwork
cable rights to the ABC reality competition series