Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Discovery Communications announced this morning that it’s launching its new network Velocity Oct. 4 in an undetermined number of homes. It’s described as an upscale, male-skewed lifestyle network and is based on the global format Turbo TV, blending originals with acquired programming. The network also said that Robin Williams, Samuel L. Jackson and Brendan Fraser have joined the lineup of hosts for the Discovery Channel event series Curiosity that launches Aug. 7. The show, described as being dedicated to “capturing the sense of wonder” that humans have, will also feature Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michelle Rodriguez and Morgan Spurlock. Also, the Science channel is partnering with Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, for the feature-length special Trek Nation premiering fourth quarter of this year. The show explores the popularity and impact of the Star Trek franchise and includes interviews with George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Stan Lee and others.
Also during its morning TCA panel, Discovery Channel trotted out the three gentlemen who run Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the nation’s largest medicinal cannabis dispensary, who are at the heart of the channel’s new series Weed Wars that premieres this fall. During their panel, two things were immediately apparent: The critics were not going to be receiving a cannabis sample in their press kits, openly disappointing many. And the stars of the show — Andrew DeAngelo, his brother Steve DeAngelo, and dispensary partner David Weddingdress (yes, Weddingdress) — very much looked the part of marijuana dispensers. But they weren’t at all spacey during their panel. Said Steve DeAngelo: “The reason we do what we do is we believe in this plant and see how it heals people.” Added Andrew DeAngelo, on why they’ll soon put the Mexican cartels out of business: “Our cannabis is better than their cannabis.” Noted Weddingdress, on how he came to take his surname: “It challenges what it is to be a man in this society.”