Discovery Channel is unveiling 18 new series and 20 returning series for its 2017-2018 season for its upfront presentation to advertisers today in New York. New series and specials in the works at Discovery Communications’ flagship network include its scripted anthology series debut Manhunt: Unabomber, which has received an August 1 airdate; five new documentaries features including NASA: 60 Years And Beyond from Oscar winner Rory Kennedy; a revamped Cash Cab; and three new series joining its Motor Monday programming block.
It also has set July 23 to launch Shark Week, also revealing big plans for its 30th anniversary season in 2018. Among the other returning staples set for 2018 are Deadliest Catch, Naked And Afraid and its spinoff Naked And Afraid XL, Gold Rush and Bering Sea Gold.
Also in the mix is Darkness, from Electus, a new series featuring strangers who will test their mental and physical limits in complete darkness — enduring days buried underground while navigating prehistoric cave systems, ancient subterranean cities and centuries-old abandoned mines.
Here’s is the network’s full 2017-2018 programming slate announced today:
NEW UNSCRIPTED SERIES
CASH CAB – Revived and revved up, unwitting passengers enter the Cash Cab expecting a normal taxi journey, only to discover they’re instant contestants in for a potentially lucrative ride. Dodging New York City traffic, these lucky passengers will take on classic CASH CAB trivia en route to their destination. If they get stumped, pedestrians and friends can help them out via phone, text or social media shout outs. If these riders get three questions wrong, though, they’re out on the street. Comedian David Steinberg (CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, INSIDE COMEDY, SEINFELD, and MAD ABOUT YOU) comes to the project and with All3Media’s Lion USA will revamp the series as executive producers, with Robyn Todd as co-executive producer. All new episodes will feature some of the top names in comedy, film and TV…who will even get behind the wheel of the cab itself, picking up lucky passengers. (Lion USA)
COLD CASE ALASKA – In the largely untouched landscape of Alaska, people go missing at an eerily high rate with more missing people per capita than any other state. It’s a place where people can vanish into the wilderness without a trace— with some disappearing because they want to, but many others missing because someone else wanted them to. These cases were originally handled by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Cold Case Unit. However, the unit was recently disbanded – leaving many of these missing person cases unsolved. Now Discovery will follow one man’s search who will stop at nothing to find some answers. (M2 Pictures)
COOPER’S TREASURE – In the 1960s, the “Original 7” astronauts were both rock stars and daredevils. With movie star looks and a penchant for sports cars, Gordon Cooper was the youngest and the flashiest of the bunch. As a space pioneer, he first took orbit in Mercury-Atlas 9, setting a record that still holds today for the longest solo space flight in US history. During one of his key missions, while Cooper claimed to be scouring the globe for nuclear sites, he actually discovered something else: shipwrecks. Working for decades in secret, using the information he collected while orbiting the Earth, Cooper created a document that he thought could lead to unimaginable wealth – a treasure map from space. Before passing away, Cooper shared his secret with long-time friend Darrell Miklos with the hope that his exploration would continue and the treasure would ultimately be found. Miklos is now setting out on a personal quest to fulfill the legacy of his lost mentor, once and for all realizing Cooper’s long-held dream and proving to the world that the mysterious documents hold the key for a new generation of explorers. (Ample and Amblin Television)
DARKNESS – Are you afraid of the Dark? This all-new series features one of the most advanced and comprehensive tests of mental and physical survival ever captured on television. Inspired by extreme training scenarios conducted by the U.S. Military, Department of Defense, and NASA, three strangers each episode will push themselves to their absolute limits in complete darkness – enduring days buried underground while navigating prehistoric cave systems, ancient subterranean cities and centuries-old abandoned mines. (Electus)
DEVIL’S CANYON – The Devil’s Canyon area of British Columbia is home to the largest creek side gold deposit the world has ever seen. It’s also one of the most hostile terrains for survival on the planet. Three extreme prospectors, Ben van der Valk, Boyce Goff and John Belcik take the biggest gamble of their lives as they journey into the most remote areas of the Canyon in search of their fortunes. Equipped with only the tools and food they can carry in on their backs, these skilled miners head deep into the forest where big mining companies can’t reach. Once they arrive, they have a slim window of time to find as much gold as they can before winter hits. All three men are forced to constantly balance their relentless desire to hunt gold with their need to survive. Raging windstorms, bone-chilling rain and snow, falling trees, hypothermia and deadly bears all stand in the way between these miners and the find of a lifetime. (Magilla)
GOLD RUSH: PARKER’S TRAIL – Between 1896 and 1899, more than 100,000 brave souls set out on a perilous journey into the frozen North on the legendary Klondike Gold Rush trail. Most never made it to the end. Killed or scared off by bears, treacherous terrain, raging torrents and temperatures below -40 degrees, only one in three completed the journey. Now Parker Schnabel of Discovery GOLD RUSH fame, will attempt to make this same journey and document it. Parker comes from a family of gold miners, including his beloved grandpa, who inspired him to push himself beyond his limits. In honor of his grandpa’s memory, he will now attempt one of the most dangerous challenges he’s ever done by trekking across the Coastal Range – as winter closes in – from his home in Alaska to the fabled goldfields of the Klondike. This journey is in his blood and will follow in the footsteps of his forebears. (RAW Television)
NEW MOTOR MONDAY SERIES
GARAGE REHAB – Richard Rawlings is the owner of several successful businesses including Gas Monkey Garage a world-renowned hot rod shop and Gas Monkey Bar and Grill. Now, he’s ready to help other business owners find that same success. So, he’s traveling the country in search of struggling automotive and motorcycle shops that are desperate for cash and on the brink of failure. Will Richard and his team be able to save a struggling garage from closing its doors forever? (Pilgrim)
HOUSE OF CARS (W/T) – An original unscripted series that proves building cars isn’t just for the pros – it’s for anyone who thinks they have what it takes to test their chops on a big build.
At just 29, Nate Boyer has already made his mark restoring and customizing classic American cars as owner of Kultured Customs. But now he’s making his biggest gamble yet – starting a new type of garage like no other. It’s called “The Doghouse,” a co-op business, where mechanics and hobbyists with varied skill sets (aka “Dawgs”) get to use Nate’s space to modify and restore cars to their full glory. (Coolfire Studios)
MOTORHEADS (W/T) – This all-new series will follow Carlos Becerra, a tenacious 25-year-old Mexican American, as he attempts to hustle his way into the car business and become one of the top classic car flippers in the country. Carlos and his team make their own rules when it comes to finding and flipping cars — and along the way, have a ton of fun doing it. In addition to building amazing, one-of-a-kind cars, the series will follow the crew as they hunt down potential cars to flip in the most unlikely of places. All across Northern Washington, cars litter the landscape and the team will stop at nothing to find them. While some of the cars look unsalvageable – after years of deterioration from sitting deep in a forest – Carlos sees big potential, even if trees are growing right through them. But will he be able to hustle his way into the highly competitive business of car flipping and prove these vehicles are more than just a diamond in the rough? (Leftfield Pictures)
NEW DOCUMENTARY SPECIALS
BILLION OYSTER PROJECT (W/T) – On New York’s Governor’s Island, an unprecedented program has an ambitious goal: to restore once-bountiful oysters and the environmental benefits they bring to New York Harbor. What’s more, the foot soldiers of this environmental movement are an unlikely group–high school students at a remarkable public school that teaches stewardship of the waterways alongside math and English. BILLION OYSTER PROJECT (working title) highlights the stories and work of these extraordinary students and their inspiring teachers as they persevere to turn the tide on decades of neglect and bring back the health of New York City waterways. Directed by Oscar® winner Roger Ross Williams and award-winning filmmaker Kristi Jacobson and produced by the Emmy® Award-winning producer Julie Goldman, the film will premiere on Discovery under the Discovery Impact banner. (Motto Pictures)
MOSQUITO – Mosquitos are the single greatest agent of death in modern human history. Today, rapid environmental shifts like climate change and the ease of international travel have only increased the threat mosquitos pose by hastening their spread around the globe. These changes are bringing diseases like Zika, dengue, and yellow fever to uncharted and unprepared parts of the world, from Brazil to Florida to New York, putting millions more lives at risk. Shot on four continents and featuring insights from some of the world’s leading experts – including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden and leadership from the World Health Organization – MOSQUITO sounds the alarm about this mounting global threat, and serves as a call to action for the immense international efforts that will be required to stop it in its tracks. This timely film dives deep into the unique biology of the mosquito, revealing its uncanny ability to adapt to and overcome efforts to control it, and presents new (and sometimes controversial) methods of eliminating the danger they pose. Directed by Su Rynard. (Yap Films)
NASA: 60 YEARS AND BEYOND – As this historic institution celebrates its 60th anniversary, Discovery once again shines a spotlight on NASA and the vital role it has to play moving forward into the coming decades. With wide-ranging access to NASA leaders and scientists, the film will chronicle the scope of NASA’s work around the globe, to the farthest reaches of our solar system and galaxies. Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy®-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy (“Last Days of Vietnam,” takes her cameras behind the scenes of the world’s greatest space agency, filming next-generation space telescopes, dazzling prototypes of Mars-bound spacecraft, and cutting-edge missions to better understand Earth, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. (Moxie Firecracker Films)
RANCHER FARMER FISHERMAN – An official selection of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN weaves together the stories of four unlikely conservation heroes working in America’s heartland. At a moment when it seems that collaboration is not just nonexistent but impossible, these working families cross political and other divides to arrive at real solutions for protecting the land and sea that define our country – and are crucial to all of our survival. From the Montana Rockies to the fields of Kansas to the Gulf of Mexico, RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN showcases the successes of a new crop of conservation heroes. RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN will premiere as part of Discovery Impact, a slate of groundbreaking documentaries focusing 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. Narrated by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw, and directed by Emmy®-winning and Oscar-nominated Froemke and Emmy®-winning filmmaker Hoffman, the film is based on Miriam Horn’s book, “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland.” (McGee Media)
SACRED COD – Off the coast of New England, a historic cod fishery has been ravaged by overfishing, climate change, and government mismanagement. However, local fishermen are skeptical of the science and object to government policies that protect the fish but leave them fighting for their livelihoods. SACRED COD examines the complex collapse of one of the world’s greatest commercial fisheries. SACRED COD is directed and produced by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Abel, Andy Laub, and Steve Liss. (Cody Wolf Productions)
MANHUNT: UNABOMBER – Manhunt: UNABOMBER tells the dramatic and gripping true story of the FBI’s hunt for the Unabomber, the deadliest serial bomber in history. The story focuses on FBI Agent and Criminal Profiler Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald (played by Sam Worthington of “Avatar” and “Hacksaw Ridge”), who pioneered the use of forensic linguistics to identify and ultimately capture the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski (Paul Bettany, “Gangster No. 1,” “Captain America: Civil War”). As a fresh faced Criminal Profiler and the newest member of the Unabom Task Force (UTF), Fitz faced an uphill battle not just against the Unabomber – one of the most sophisticated and brilliant criminals in history – but also against the bureaucracy of the UTF itself as his maverick ideas and new approaches were dismissed by the system. MANHUNT: UNABOMBER is produced by John Goldwyn, serving as consultant to Discovery, Lionsgate, Discovery Channel and Trigger Street Productions. Emmy® Award-winning television producer and director Greg Yaitanes (“Quarry,” “Banshee”) will executive produce, direct and serve as showrunner and Andrew Sodroski, whose “Holland, Michigan” topped Hollywood’s famed Black List for screenplays in 2013, created the series and serves as an Executive Producer. Jim Fitzgerald will serve as Consulting Producer. Manhunt: UNABOMBER premieres with a special two-hour episode on Tuesday, August 1 at 9PM ET/PT.
SHARK WEEK 30th ANNIVERSARY – In 2018, SHARK WEEK turns 30! After three decades and hundreds of shows, Shark Week has become a staple of summer and a pop culture phenomenon. As television’s longest running summer event, from exotic, unexplored locations to incredible breaches and shark sonograms, SHARK WEEK has given viewers extensive insight into the mysterious world of sharks – taking them where cameras have never been before. Along the way, Shark Week has built a community of scientists, including Craig O’Connoll, Neil Hammerschlag, and Tristan Gutteridge, who have come on board to share science-based shark stories and exciting shark research from the field. In 2018, those scientists along with the very best underwater cinematographers, including Andy Casagrande and Joe Romeiro, will show sharks in a way we’ve never seen before. Discovery will employ new technology, from genetic profiling to miniaturized camera tags, to peer more deeply into the shark ecosystem. The shows of the 30th anniversary will combine the best of science and technology to capture the fascinating and misunderstood behavior of sharks. Whether looking for the largest great white sharks deep in the ocean, or exploring for strange new shark species, Shark Week 2018 will deep dive into the secret lives of sharks, and find better ways to share the oceans we co-inhabit. SHARK WEEK 30TH ANNIVERSARY promises to be the best week of must-watch shark programming ever!
Discovery Channel’s series returning in 2017-2018 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), EDGE OF ALASKA (TwoFour), FAST N’LOUD (Pilgrim Media Group), GOLD RUSH (Raw Television), HOMESTEAD RESCUE (Raw Television) KILLING FIELDS (Sirens Media), LAST ALASKANS (Half Yard Productions), MISFIT GARAGE(Pilgrim Media Group), MOONSHINERS (Magilla Entertainment), NAKED AND AFRAID and NAKED AND AFRAID XL (Renegade 83), STREET OUTLAWS and STREET OUTLAWS: NEW ORLEANS (Pilgrim Media Group), TREASURE QUEST: SNAKE ISLAND (MAK Pictures), VEGAS RAT RODS (Proper TV), YUKON MEN (Paper Route)