Discovery announces new shows at upfront


Discovery Communications Tuesday highlighted a slew of new programming across all of its networks -- including Discovery Channel, TLC and the soon-to-launch Planet Green -- during its upfront presentation to advertisers at the Beverly Wilshire.

TLC said it is shaking up its schedule with an "aggressive" slate of programming and a scheduling strategy that creates new opportunities for advertisers to be integrated into the network's programming. Network executives said they're building a new brand that "creates an environment with a sense of humor and a home for real-life, feel-good reality," with the brand and content being organized into themed nights.

Monday will be the night for the network's most successful family-based comedy-reality series along with new shows in that theme, Friday centers on makeovers, and Saturday is themed around home and decorating. The other nights will focus on relationships, careers and entertaining and include new genres like competition and games.

Returning series include family reality shows "Little People, Big World" and "Jon & Kate Plus 8," makeover series "What Not to Wear," home-design shows "Trading Spaces" and "Flip That House." New to the schedule will be makeover series "Real Simple," home-design series "Your Place or Mine?" and the Bob Guiney-hosted "Date My House," relationship show "Single Moms" and career-themed "The Singing Office," from Scott Sternberg.

Falling into what TLC calls the "unusual lives" programs are returning series "L.A. Ink" and "American Chopper" and the new shows "Ashley Paige," about a bikini designer, and the tentatively titled "Napoleon Complex," which follows students at a makeup academy.

Among the new series at Discovery Channel are "Expeditions With Josh Bernstein," featuring the former History Channel personality that moved to Discovery last year; "How Stuff Works," based on the Web site; "Prototype This!" in which inventors and engineers try to create innovative prototypes; "One Way Out," centering on extreme escape artist Jonathan Goodwin; and "Time Warp," which plays with time to lets viewers see events that normally happen way too quickly or slowly, like the break of a matchstick.

Newly announced event specials include "Inside Planet Earth," "Nature's Greatest Events," "Raging Planet," "Colony" and "Koppel on Discovery," featuring Ted Koppel. "An Inconvenient Truth," the documentary starring Al Gore, also will be making its premiere on Discovery.

Those programs join the recently announced the six-part series "Coal" and event special "Iditarod".

Planet Green, the eco-friendly network launching June 4, has recruited a slew of well-known personalities to host or star in various environmental-themed series and specials. Adrian Grenier is starring in the tentatively titled "The Green Life," in which the "Entourage" star and a team of experts will help celebrities and regular people learn how to transition to a "green" lifestyle.

Tom Green is set to host the tentatively titled game show "The Tom Green Project," and Bill Nye will star in "Stuff Happens," showing what happens to everyday things before and after we consume them. Green also has joined up with Tom Brokaw for a series of specials following on the heels of Discovery Channel's "Global Warming: What You Need to Know with Tom Brokaw."

Also on the slate is weekly entertainment magazine "Hollywood Green With Maria Menounos," a partnership with "Access Hollywood."

They join the previously announced "Wa$ted," hosted by Annabelle Gurwitch; "Supper Club With Tom Bergeron"; "Battleground Earth: Ludacris vs. Tommy Lee"; and "Greensburg," from Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way, and Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Films & Television.

Also announced Tuesday:

-- Animal Planet's new series include "Dark Days in Monkey City," which uses a combination of live-action and graphic novel-style animation; "Dave Salmoni: A Year With Lions"; "Dogs! Cats!"; "Jockeys"; and "Whale Wars."

--Science Channel's slate includes the series "How It's Made," stunt-themed "Danger Man" and "Build It Bigger."

--At Travel Channel, new series include "Dhani Tackles the Globe," featuring Dhani Jones, NFL linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, and "Bizarre Worlds," starring "Bizarre Foods" host Andrew Zimmern. Travel also is planning a new stunt dubbed "Cruise Season" that will look at cruise ships and port destinations around the world.

--Investigation Discovery has slated new series "Solved!" which goes inside elite law enforcement investigative units, and the tentatively titled "Navy Justice: The Real NCIS" and "Sacred Nation," which explores user-generated footage of paranormal phenomena.

--Military Channel's new series include "Special Ops: Pursuit," in which elite squads of hunter-seekers attempt to track a former Army Ranger; "Backyard to Battlefield," featuring those people who work out of their homes to create equipment to help the U.S. Armed Forces; and the tentatively titled "Combat Tech" and "Tac-Tech."

--Discovery Kids' upcoming programming includes "Tutenstein: The Movie," about the ancient pharaoh; "Willa's Wild Life," based on the book by Dan Yaccarino; and the second season of "Bindi: The Jungle Girl."

--New series on HD Theater include the auto-themed "Chasing Classic Cars," "West Coast Customs Goes Global" and "Star Racer" and the aerial-centric "Showdown: Air Combat."

--On the healthy living front, both Discovery Health and FitTV are creating themed programming nights. Discovery Health, before its transition into OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network later next year, will continue to present health-themed programming centered around nights like Monday's "Vital Signs," featuring stories of perseverance and triumph, and Tuesday's "Crib Notes," focusing on babies.

--FitTV's themed nights, which are aimed to help viewers "get moving," include "Get Started Mondays," featuring healthy cooking tips; "Living Fit Wednesdays," where experts will offers tips for living a healthy lifestyle; and "Kick Butt Thursdays," focusing on at-home training.