Discovery Communications held its 2013-2014 upfront in New York yesterday at Columbus Circle’s Rose Hall, and boy, did they pull out all the stops. Oprah Winfrey was there, along with Tyler Perry, Morgan Freeman, William Hurt, Honey Boo Boo and lots of other Discovery notables. We can’t even imagine what the backstage might have been like, what with the baby alligators and goats that also made an appearance on behalf of Animal Planet. But here were some of the presentation highlights:
Klondike, Discovery’s first ever scripted mini-series, will star Tim Roth.
New series include:
- Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius with Kal Penn and Cutter Oil (wt) about a family-run oil company.
- Nik Wallenda, known as “The King of the High Wire”, will traverse the Grand Canyon without using a harness on the special Wallenda Live.
- Naked and Afraid is a new series in which a new pair of strangers each episode will find themselves stranded in some of the world’s harshest environments with no food, no water, no tools…and no clothes.
Returning series include: Deadliest Catch, Gold Rush, Amish Mafia, Bering Sea Gold, and Moonshiners.
New Series include (these are all WT):
- Alaska Bush Family
- Catch and Release Clipped (extreme dog grooming)
- My Tiny Terror
- Polar Bear Crossing (You can bet what that one’s about)
- Top Hooker (it’s about fishermen!).
Special Puppy Bowl X will return next Super Bowl Sunday, thank goodness. Returning series include America’s Cutest cat (and Dog), Finding Bigfoot, Gator Boys, and Pit Bulls and Parolees.
New series include:
- Alaskan Women Looking for Love
- Best Funeral Ever (based on the special in which “being in a casket can still be fantastic!”)
- My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I.
Returning series include Long Island Medium and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, natch. Also, get ready for Breaking Amish: Brave New World in which the cast reunites to make a fresh start in Florida, but instead find more culture shock, unexpected challenges and surprises along the way. You may also want to keep an eye out for Husband Hunters (working title) in which women have the dress, the venue and the cake…but oops, there’s no groom.
The channel’s first scripted dramatic feature will air in November 2013: 73 Seconds: The Challenger Investigation, starring Academy Award-winning actor William Hurt, a BBC co-production with Science Channel.
The end of 2013 also brings the series:
- This Changes Everything, featuring James Woods, who explores the emerging technologies of today that could change the way humankind lives tomorrow.
Returning series include How it’s Made and How do They Do It?, along with quirky hit franchise Oddities. Morgan Freeman also returns to take viewers to the world of the unknown in Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. The channel’s extraterrestrial programming event Are We Alone? returns in March of 2014.
- Americarna chronicles how American culture and car culture go hand-in-hand, hosted by NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham. It will premiere in January 2014.
Returning series include Wheeler Dealers, Overhaulin’ and Chasing Classic Cars.
- Against the Odds explores “mission impossible” stories of heroism and strength.
- CIA: Declassified tells the real tales of the CIA’s covert operations, based on the declassification of documents in the last twenty years.
Other series include: Gunslingers, Die Hard History and Apocalypse World War 1.
New summer series:
- King of Thrones, which honors the #1 room in the house: yup, the bathroom.
- Buying Hawaii focuses on the most popular island paradise destinations.
- Last Call Food Brawl is a competition series hosted by chef Adam Gertler that showcases the best in comfort food.
Returning series include BBQ Pitmasters, Epic, Buying Alaska and Hillbilly Blood.
The king of sensational television, Jerry Springer, is hosting its new series Tabloid. The weekly show will probe the most bizarre larger-than-life stories imaginable. With an initial run of 10, one-hour episodes, Tabloid will premiere on ID in 1Q 2014. The show is co-produced by Radley Studios and Espiritus Productions.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
The one-hour ensemble drama The Haves and the Have Nots (produced for OWN by Tyler Perry Studios) is set to premiere Tuesday, May 28 at 9p, and the sitcom Love Thy Neighbor (produced for OWN by Tyler Perry Studios) will premiere Wednesday, May 29 at 9 p. On Sunday, May 26 at 9p, Winfrey will interview Perry on a special Oprah’s Next Chapter.
In addition, the network has two new unscripted series joining its slate of original programming:
- Millionaire Mama’s Boy (executive produced by Pete Tartaglia and Amy Palmer Robertson and distributed by Sony Pictures Television), about the relationship between WNBA star Pamela McGee and her NBA star son JaVale
- Houston Beauty (produced by Park Slope Productions) about a Texas beauty school.