TCA: CNN, Discovery in 'Peril'

Rare repurposing for news net

An upcoming CNN documentary on environmental dangers will get an unprecedented second window on Discovery Networks, the 24-hour news channel disclosed Sunday at its Television Critics Assn. session at the Beverly Hilton.

"Planet in Peril," a four-hour documentary premiering Oct. 23 on CNN, will be repurposed four weeks after its original airdate for a limited run on Discovery. CNN has collaborated in the past with other cable channels within the Time Warner family, but sharing outside the company is a rarity.

Securing clearance for the participation of a Discovery personality, Jeff Corwin, for an on-air role in the docu led to further discussions between the companies, which in turn led to the arrangement, according to sources. Corwin hosts "Corwin's Quest" on Discovery-owned Animal Planet.

"Peril" likely will air on Discovery's flagship network Discovery Channel, which has been beefing up its news programming in recent years, including a series of specials featuring Ted Koppel.

"Peril" was one of two multihour documentaries CNN introduced Sunday, the other being the six-hour exploration of religious fundamentalism, "God's Warriors." The network is boosting its emphasis on documentaries, increasing its fill of the genre by 30% compared with last year.

"Peril" features Corwin with CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta reporting from environmental hotspots in 13 countries. "It's a vast global undertaking to check the facts by going to the scene," CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein said.