Animal Planet Talks 2010-11 Slate

Since its rebrand just two years ago, Animal Planet has transformed into a more powerful, competitive entertainment destination with hit shows featuring people's complex relationships with the animal world. This upfront season, the Planet announces 300 hours of original programming including more than 100 hours of new shows along with a slew of returning series that earned both critical and viewer acclaim, all underscoring the evolution of the Animal Planet brand and its new tagline, "Surprisingly Human."

"There is no human world separate from the animal world," says president and general manager Marjorie Kaplan. "We all inhabit one large, living planet, and the stories we can tell at the margins where humans' and animals' lives intersect make for terrific entertainment." This year's line-up further cements the Planet's ownership of the pets' category, features landmark natural history series and specials, and expands its bold roster of surprisingly human character-based series.
Nothing could be more surprising than TAKING ON TYSON, a show that returns former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson to the roof tops of Brooklyn and to sports. This time, he's the underdog as he enters the competitive world of pigeon racing. Pigeons have been Tyson's great passion since childhood; he loves them but he's never raced them before. TAKING ON TYSON will explore a fascinating subculture and reveal this complex man as never seen before.

What if you're not as crazy about birds as Mike? What if you have rodents in your rec room? Or bats in your belfry? Introducing the SKUNK WHISPERER, aka Ned Bruha, the frazzled homeowner's answer to furry - and not so furry - intruders...a hilarious, bayou-bred hero, Ned has a lofty goal - to humanely remove the most unwanted, invasive, creepy-crawly even slithering creatures that worm their way into homes. Who would have thought that critter eviction could be so wild and so fun?

The network's big returning series, whether domestic or wild, tame or bold, reflects Animal Planet's surprisingly human side. Fan-favorite show PIT BOSS, about a group of little people with big hearts, big mouths and big love for pit bulls, returns this summer. In the channel's best-performing series ever, RIVER MONSTERS, extreme angler Jeremy Wade dives into another season, having hooked both female and male viewers and delivered an average of more than a million households per episode last year. And, ratings-winner WHALE WARS prepares to make an even bigger splash with its third drama-drenched season.

Riding the wave of WHALE WARS, Animal Planet continues to flex its muscle when it comes to conservation, spotlighting the lengths people go to help animals. Later this summer, Academy Award-winning documentary THE COVE will make its cable television debut on Animal Planet. The film will be followed by a return to Taiji ("the Cove") and other precarious waters in DOLPHIN WARRIORS (wt), featuring flipper-trainer-turned-activist Ric O'Barry and his son, Lincoln, in their determined efforts to save dolphins in peril at the hand of man.

No one walks that thin line between civilization and wildlife better than Animal Planet's large predator expert Dave Salmoni in new series WORLD'S DEADLIEST TOWNS (wt). From India to Zambia, Dave finds paradise lost in the transitional danger zones at the beautiful but deadly ends of the Earth, where human life and the wild have lost their ever delicate balance. The channel also takes viewers deep INTO THE DRAGON'S LAIR through human eyes as world-renowned underwater cameraman Didier Noiret brings a fellow explorer with him in his quest to do what no one has before - follow the terrifying 19-foot Nile crocodile into its den to capture never-before- seen behaviors of this venerable apex predator. Of course, Animal Planet will continue to deliver on its legacy of spectacular natural-history storytelling with a new season of MUTUAL OF OMAHA'S WILD KINGDOM and breathtaking specials including WILD AMAZON, VIKING WILDERNESS and an unprecedented journey to the island of MADAGASCAR.

It wouldn't be Animal Planet without the creatures we want in our homes. Where some nets may showcase dominance training for dogs, Animal Planet simply dominates the whole pets' space with the largest pet presence on the web, connections to 95% of all shelters in the United States and nearly 100 hours of returning and new series that take audiences from pet rescue to adoption to training. Returning shows run the gamut from the fascinating information in DOGS and CATS 101 to rich entertainment with remarkable characters like PIT BOSS' Shorty Rossi, Victoria Stillwell in IT'S ME OR THE DOG and Tia Torres in PIT BULLS AND PAROLEES.

The network introduces more big characters in its new series LAST CHANCE HIGHWAY, produced by Al Roker Entertainment. Shelly Bookwalter and Kyle Peterson are two strong-willed, die-hard animal lovers who use a little known "underground railroad" to take hundreds of stray dogs that would otherwise be euthanized from the South to loving homes in the Northeast. And for the millions of cat lovers, MUST LOVE CATS premieres in 2011 with cat-obsessed host and musician John Fulton, whose road-tripping adventure brings viewers some of the most unique people, places and things the feline world has to offer.

There's only one planet, and Animal Planet's slate proves that it's a fascinating place as the network features real, compelling, human stories made more intense, moving and entertaining because of the world we share with animals.

-press release

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