January 13, 2012 9:58am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Discovery Schedules 'Frozen Planet,' Science's 'Are We Alone' Programming
Discovery Communications has set premiere dates for nature series Frozen Planet, Science Channel's extraterrestrial initiative and Werner Herzog's "On Death Row," his four-part companion series to his award-winning documentary Into the Abyss.
Frozen Planet, the cabler's follow-up to Planet Earth. Alec Baldwin will narrate the series, which will bow Sunday, March 18 from 8-10 p.m., with hour-long episodes set to begin the following Sundays at 8-9 p.m.
At TLC, Niecy Nash's docu-sitcom Leave it to Niecy will kick-off its eight-episode half-hour run on March 28 at 10 p.m., featuring the popular actress-host's family.
In addition, TLC has picked up U.K. series My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. The original series aired last year, attracting more than 45 million viewers in combined airings on multiple platforms. The series will explore the lives of the 1 million gypsies and "travelers" in the U.S., most who live in secrecy. TLC has ordered eight hourlong episodes.
Animal Planet, meanwhile, has picked up a second season of aquarium building docuseries Tanked, with 20 episodes to be split between the spring and summer.
Over on the Science Channel, the net is launching Are We Alone? a multimedia initiative with TED, a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting world-changing ideas. The month-long event kicks off Tuesday, March 6 at 10 p.m. with the premiere of Morgan Freeman's Through the Wormhole: Will We Survive First Contact, forecasting man's first encounter with the otherworldly. In addition, two-part series Alien Encounters has been scheduled for March 13 and 20 at 10 p.m. Lastly, NASA Files: The Unexplained will air March 27 at 10 p.m.
Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington return with An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List on Jan. 21 at 10 p.m., wrapping its eight-episode run on March 10 when Pilkington returns home to London.
Investigation Discovery has also scheduled On Death Row, Werner Herzog's four-part companion series to his award-winning documentary Into the Abyss for Friday, March 9 at 10 p.m.
As previously reported, Susan Lucci will officially join Investigation Discovery as host of the cabler's original romance-gone-wrong series Deadly Affairs, which will bow in the fall.
Lastly, Velocity's highest-rated series, Inside West Coast Customs, will return with a new season exploring the best in custom car fabrication on Feb. 12 at 10 p.m., with its seven-episode season ending its season on April 1.