Discovery Channel took the wraps off 20 new series and 22 returning series on its 2016-2017 primetime programming slate today, including target launches two new scripted efforts: its miniseries Harley And The Davidsons and a new greelight for Manifesto, the previously announced project about the Unibomber investigation from Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti’s Trigger Street.
Manifesto, whose pilot was penned by Black List scribe Andrew Sodroski (Holland, Michigan), will tell the story of how the FBI brought down Ted Kaczynski from the point of view of an FBI profiler whose focus on linguistics in Kaczynski’s manifesto became vital to breaking the case. Trigger Street’s Spacey and Brunetti executive produce with Gian Pirates Entertainment’s Troy Searer.
Other new series on Discovery’s slate include the Deadliest Catch spinoff Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove, Sacred Steel and the globe-trotting survival competition series The Wheel. Also in the mix is Cooper’s Treasure, a documentary about the quest to find a secret treasure based on the research of astronaut Gordon Cooper.
The network also announced the launch of Discovery Impact, an anthology series that will focus on man’s impact on the environment, which comes on the heels of the success of the network’s global bow of its documentary Racing Extinction. (See Discovery’s full programming slate below.) In addition, it unveiled Seeker, a video network with more than 250 videos premiering every month with socially driven content targeting millennials. Supported by a marketing campaign, including cross-promotion from its sister linear network, it will feature daily episodes of established franchises, web documentaries and live online events.
The new and returning shows from Discovery Communications’ flagship channel were unveiled during parent Discovery Communications’ upfront presentation today in New York, which featured upcoming slates from Discovery’s sibling networks TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science Channel, American Heroes Channel, Destination America and Velocity. In addition to TLC, among the highlights:
Investigation Discovery‘s slate of 13 new series and 16 returning shows includes OJ Is Innocent, a six-part docu-series narrated and exec produced by Martin Sheen that offers alternate theories to the crime; People Magazine Investigates, featuring crime stories from the magazine.
Science Channel, coming off its highest-rated quarter ever in key demos including adults 18-49, announced the return of Punkin Chunkin and new competition series Search For The Next Mythbusters, which is intended as a reboot of the popular Discovery Channel series with the eventual new hosts.
Animal Planet unveiled Animal Planet Presents among its new programming o showcase specials and documentary films.
Meanwhile, here is Discovery Channel’s 2016-2017 programming schedule highlights:
NEW UNSCRIPTED SERIES/SPECIALS
COOPER’S TREASURE – COOPER’S TREASURE is a new documentary series that tells the incredible story of a legendary astronaut’s secret treasure map he began from space. In the 1960s, Gordon “Gordo” Cooper was considered one of NASA’s original space pioneers and broke the record for the longest space flight onboard Faith 7. While on the mission, he discovered something incredible. Working for decades in secret, Gordon created a map based on his findings from space, which he believed could uncover billions of dollars-worth of treasure. Before passing away, Gordon shared his secret with his long-time friend Darrell Miklos, including files full of meticulous research with the hope that his exploration would continue and the treasure would ultimately be found. Darrell is now setting out with a team of seasoned explorers and researchers to uncover treasure and once and for all accomplish Gordon’s long-held dream. (Ample)
DEADLIEST CATCH: DUNGEON COVE – From the creators of multiple Emmy® Award-winning series Deadliest Catch comes DEADLIEST CATCH: DUNGEON COVE, a new series that explores the lives of fishing families and the sacrifices they make to survive. Newport, Oregon is one of the last remaining fishing towns along the edge of the notoriously violent ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’ that stretches from Oregon to British Columbia. Here, generations of Dungeness crab fishermen and their families sacrifice everything that they have, including life itself, to carve an existence from the sea. DEADLIEST CATCH: DUNGEON COVE premieres in Fall 2016. (Original Productions)
SACRED STEEL – SACRED STEEL joins the network’s iconic Motor Mondays line-up and will take viewers inside one of the most exclusive and unusual bike clubs in the world that produces one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Jason Wilson opened shop with Sacred Steel over a decade ago and never looked back, crafting custom fabricated high-end choppers and painstakingly restoring American classics. From humble beginnings, Jason and his motley crew of misfit friends honed their mechanical skills and founded Douche Larouche, now a full-fledged institution, complete with bylaws, regular meetings and in chapters across the country and around the globe. Club members range from noteworthy fabricators and childhood friends to highly connected icons in the world of underground bikes. All their joking aside, the club is a tight-knit brotherhood with members having everybody’s back and having the time of their lives creating jaw-dropping modern classic motorcycles in the process. (Half Yard Productions)
THE WHEEL – Survivalists go head-to-head against the world’s most unforgiving climates and each other in the new adventure series THE WHEEL. While most survival shows feature just one or two extreme environments, THE WHEEL demands that participants conquer eight distinctly grueling landscapes across the world, each requiring a completely different set of survival skills. With each turn of the Wheel, survivalists must tackle the planet’s most unforgiving terrains – including freezing tundra, parched deserts, rugged mountains and steam jungles – one immediately after another, with little time to prepare what few tools and materials they have. (Pilgrim Media Group)
NEW DOCUMENTARY SERIES ‘DISCOVERY IMPACT’
This year, Discovery introduced DISCOVERY IMPACT at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Top documentary filmmakers from around the globe will shine their spotlight on crucial conservation stories to enlighten society on the most pressing environmental issues of today. The groundbreaking documentaries featured in this new series will focus on humankind’s impact on the environment and what individuals and society as a whole can do to solve some of the largest problems facing the planet. Three films that will air as specials under the DISCOVERY IMPACT banner include SONIC SEA, TOUCAN NATION and DROUGHT (working title).
SONIC SEA – SONIC SEA highlights the continued emergence of noise pollution in our oceans and those working to prevent its harmful effects on our marine wildlife. Directed by Michelle Dougherty and Daniel Hinerfeld, SONIC SEA travels beneath the ocean’s surface to uncover the damaging consequences of increased ocean noise pollution and what can be done to prevent the extinction of some of the largest creatures on Earth. Narrated by Rachel McAdams, and featuring interviews with marine ecologists, ocean life experts, and wildlife activists, including Sting, the film highlights how noise from both commercial and government ships and other sources, has affected whales in recent years, including the mass stranding of whales around the planet. The good news is that this is a form of pollution that can be stopped, as long as society has “the political will to solve it.” (Natural Resources Defense Council in association with Imaginary Forces and International Fund for Animal Welfare)
TOUCAN NATION follows the uplifting story of Grecia, a toucan whose unconscionable abuse sparked international outrage and inspired a national animal welfare movement. Seeking to right a wrong and improve the life of this helpless bird after his beak was mutilated and he was left to die in the Costa Rican countryside, animal rescuers and veterinarians enlist a team of volunteer experts including 3D-printing engineers to design and construct a prosthetic beak. At the same time, a committed group of activists wage a battle to implement penalties for animal cruelty, motivated by the notion that every life — whether wild or human — is inherently valuable and must be protected. Directed by Emmy®-winner Paula Heredia, (In Memoriam: New York City,) TOUCAN NATION chronicles each step of the journey as they Zooave animal refuge works to save this beautiful bird and activists across Costa Rica rally to bring about lasting change. (Heredia Pictures in association with Alpha Channel Productions)
DROUGHT (working title) – From five Academy® Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (“Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt,”) Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County, U.S.A.”) Alan and Susan Raymond, (I Am A Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School”) and Sundance award-winning director Jesse Moss (“The Overnighters,”), the film looks at the water crisis in the West affecting 40% of the U.S. population. Presented in association with ProPublica who published Abrahm Lustgarten’s series “Killing the Colorado,” DROUGHT (working title) presents surprising stories that reveal the causes and consequences of our water disaster-in-the-making and proposes some innovative solutions. DROUGHT (working title) debuts on Thursday, August 4 exclusively on Discovery Channel. (Telling Pictures in Association with the Studios for Discovery Channel)
HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS – Based on a true story, HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS will tell the story of how Milwaukee schoolyard pals William (Bill) Harley and Arthur Davidson built – and rode – the machines that rule the road. Beginning at the turn of the 20th century, at the shores of Lake Michigan, the series charts the birth of Harley-Davidson during a time of great social and technological change and tells the epic story of how two 19-year-old kids from Milwaukee started a company in their backyard that would go on to become an American legend. (Raw Television)
MANIFESTO – Ted Kaczynski, also known as the “Unabomber,” terrified the nation over the span of 20 years from the 1980s through the early 1990s. A new scripted series from Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti’s Trigger Street with the pilot script from writer Andrew Sodroski, MANIFESTO will tell the story of how the FBI brought down one of the most infamous criminal masterminds in the world from the point of view of an FBI profiler. The series will trace how FBI Agent Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald challenged the “old school” ways with his radical new approach to intelligence gathering. Prior to Fitzgerald’s involvement, the profile of the perpetrator took a completely different direction. Fitzgerald had training as a profiler, but it was his focus on linguistics that became vital to breaking the case. He believed that the key to unlocking the true identity of the Unabomber would be found in the language of The Manifesto, a detailed account of some of Kaczynski’s plots. (Trigger Street Productions)
SHARK WEEK – SHARK WEEK is back and bigger than ever before! The 29th Annual SHARK WEEK, television’s longest running and most anticipated summer event, makes a huge splash this summer with all-new compelling and jaw-dropping shark stories and shark technology. This year, SharkCam dives deeper than ever before and follows giant great whites into the dark ocean to record never-before-seen behaviors. For the first time ever, sharks will face off with dolphins, seals, crocodiles and even humans, as one science team finds themselves surrounded by a gang of large tiger sharks. Discovery Channel is working with nearly two dozen of the world’s most respected marine biologists and science institutions to reveal remarkable new insights into these magnificent creatures. Additionally, Discovery Channel will continue to draw attention to the threats currently facing sharks around the world through in-depth, multi-platform content produced in conjunction with conservation partnerships.
ELEVATION WEEKEND – This year, ELEVATION WEEKEND takes viewers to striking destinations, following men and women on their journey to conquer the elements. The centerpiece of the weekend is SHERPA, an intimate look at how Mount Everest’s Sherpa community united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain following the 2014 avalanche that killed 16 of its members. Featuring intimate access to members of the Sherpa community, their families, and Western adventurers who were getting ready to climb Mount Everest before the tragic event, film highlights this volatile time in the Everest climbing industry which served as a turning point for many of the Sherpas and their families as they considered whether to continue working on the mountain. SHERPA debuts on Saturday April 23 and will be preceded by an encore airing of “Valley Uprising.” In addition, the weekend will consist of re-broadcasts of highly popular Discovery Channel programming including, North America and Dual Survival.
MOTOR MONDAYS is guaranteed appointment viewing for all-motor action and fun each Monday night for 52 weeks a year. Motor Mondays features all-new series including SACRED STEEL as well as returning favorites such as FAST N’ LOUD, MISFIT GARAGE, STREET OUTLAWS, STREET OUTLAWS: NEW ORLEANS, among others.
Discovery Channel’s series returning in 2016-2017 include: ALASKAN BUSH PEOPLE (Park Slope Productions), ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER (Discovery Studios), BERING SEA GOLD (Original Productions), DEADLIEST CATCH (Original Productions), DIESEL BROTHERS (Magilla Entertainment), FAST N’LOUD (Pilgrim Media Group), GOLD RUSH (Raw Television), KILLING FIELDS (Sirens Media), MISFIT GARAGE (Pilgrim Media Group), NAKED AND AFRAID and NAKED AND AFRAID XL (Renegade 83), STREET OUTLAWS and STREET OUTLAWS: NEW ORLEANS (Pilgrim Media Group), TREASURE QUEST (MAK Pictures).