Food Feuds, Fortune Hunters and Landmarks: Travel Channel Orders Six Unscripted Series

The slate includes competition entries and hidden mysteries behind some of America's best-known monuments.

After introducing seven new series at its Upfronts in the spring, Travel Channel has picked up another six unscripted series as it pushes into "expansive directions" in travel entertainment, executives said Tuesday.

The slate, which includes series exploring food feuds, competition entries and the search for fortune and mystery, will debut next year and highlight authorities in fields including food and gems.

“From the untold stories of our monuments and the buried history uncovered by our relic-hunters, to discovering some of our nation's most interesting places to chow-down, and even trekking the world in search of rare gems -- our new shows prove we are the leader in travel entertainment," Travel Channel president Laureen Ong said.  “Our hosts are all authorities in their fields – and they take us along on their global thrill-rides, doing what they know best."

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"Our 2013 series demonstrate the expansive directions we are taking travel entertainment. We're actively developing in our category with unique and fresh ways that are resonating with our audience, and attracting new, entertaining talent who offer expertise in their spaces," Travel Channel GM Andy Singer added.

Here's a look at the six series:

All Forked Up, from O’Malley Productions with Julie McCully as executive producer, follows Las Vegas food criticsAl Mancini and John Curtas who can't agree on anything. In six half-hour episodes, the culinary odd couple explores a new city by forcing each other to their latest wild food find that reflects their differences. The one that finds the dish that best reflects each city will win bragging rights and the loser has to pay up on a crazy side bet.

Burger Land, produced by Magilla Entertainment with McCully, is hosted by Hamburger America authorGeorge Motzas he takes viewers on a road trip to meet some of the nation’s oldest and most storied hamburger creators, tour their establishments and find out what makes their burger the best. Over 11 half-hour episodes, Motz uncovers the history, people and secrets behind America’s most iconic sandwich.

Digfellas hails from Kinetic Content and Travel Channel’s Sean McKnight and features relic hunters Bill Ladd and Howard Hewitt as they embark on a quest to find and preserve our nation’s past. In each of the six half-hour episodes, the duo investigates, isolates and excavates a history-rich location in search of precious relics and antiques.  Using their expertise and deep historical knowledge, they separate treasures from trash.  At the end of every dig, the duo meets with historical experts to authenticate their findings. Their journey is about "passion over profit" -- the love of history and the adventure of uncovering it.

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Fortune Diggers (working title) is produced by Sharp Entertainment and McKnight follows three teams of America’s best relic hunters, competing head-to-head-to-head in a race, armed with metal detectors, to discover the most valuable artifacts in a location -- from forts to historical landmarks. Once on site, the teams in six half-hour episodes must use all their resources and hustle to ensure their victory -- and paycheck. At the end of the hunt, the modern-day treasure hunters will have their finds evaluated to learn more about the piece of history they’ve uncovered and the price tag that goes with it. 

  Gem Hunt is produced by NHNZ with Travel Channel’s David E. Gerber and captures all the intrigue, jeopardy and rewards of the world’s gem trade. In each of the seven hourlong episodes, viewers will follow veteran gem dealer Ron LeBlanc, geologist Bernie Gaboury and jewelry maven Diane Robinson as they travel to remote regions of the world in search of gemstones they can turn into a small fortune. A stone purchased for $4,000 at the source can instantly jump to $50,000 when it has been flawlessly cut, and by the time it hits the market, can be skyrocket to a quarter of a million dollars. Or, if botched during the cutting, can become practically worthless. 

Monumental Mysteries is produced by Optomen Productions and Gerber and will scours the country for America’s most extraordinary monuments to reveal the hidden mysteries behind them. From New York’s iconic Chrysler Building that was once the site of a stunning display of an architectural chicanery, to a huge clock on the island of Hawaii where the hands are forever frozen in time -- these are just some of the tales revealed. Hosted by Don Wildman, each hourlong installment in the 13-episode series visits the statues, memorials, national parks, gravestones and sculptures that commemorate the nation’s most notorious crimes, scandals, disasters and intriguing events of all time.

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