Group Nine Sells Unscripted The Dodo Series to Animal Planet (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Group Nine
Izzie Lerer

'Dodo Heroes' is the first linear series for Group Nine, which rolled up Thrillist, The Dodo and NowThis following an investment from Discovery Communications.

Group Nine is making the jump to television. 

The digital media company has sold its first show, working title Dodo Heroes, to Animal Planet. 

Produced by Group Nine-owned The Dodo in association with Nomadica Films, Dodo Heroes will feature inspiring stories about animals in need and the people who go to extreme lengths to help them. It will premiere in 2018. 

"We are delighted to be partnering with The Dodo for this wonderful series," said Animal Planet president Susanna Dinnage. "These are compelling and moving stories about the powerful relationship between animals and people, and together we are proud to share them around the globe on every screen."

Among the stories that Dodo Heroes will explore are that of British Royal Marine Pen Farthing, who has united more than 700 street dogs with soldiers in Afghanistan, and Derrick Campana, a doctor who builds prosthetics for animals of all sizes. 

"The Dodo has built a far-reaching, deeply engaged audience on social by putting animals front and center and telling their uniquely emotional stories," said founder Izzie Lerer. "We're beyond excited to team up with Animal Planet for our first TV series, Dodo Heroes, where we'll tell stories about animals in need and highlight the incredible people out there who are stepping up to save them." 

Group Nine was founded in October 2016 through a $100 million investment from Discovery Communications, which owns Animal Planet. The creation of the company saw the roll-up of a portfolio of media brands including Thrillist, The Dodo, NowThis and Seeker. From the beginning, CEO Ben Lerer has focused on turning Group Nine into a video-centric company with an eye for linear distribution.

As part of the deal for Dodo Heroes, Animal Planet and The Dodo will publish digital content on their channels next year.