History has renewed six of its biggest unscripted series, including a massive 30-hour Season 6 order for flagship The Curse of Oak Island, which ranks as cable’s top nonfiction series among total viewers in Live +3, averaging over four million viewers. It is believed to be one of History’s largest orders ever. Additionally, the cable network has picked up a 10-episode second season of Oak Island’s breakout offshoot, The Curse of Civil War Gold, the top nonfiction series launch across cable this season with total viewers. Also renewed for another season are Truck Night in America, History’s #2 new series this year; along with new seasons of hits Alone, Mountain Men and Swamp People.
Additionally, History is ramping up its nonfiction lineup with five new series greenlights, representing the first full slate shepherded by the network’s EVP Programming Eli Lehrer. It includes Ax Men Reborn, a reboot of one of History’s signature series, which ended its run in 2016 after nine seasons and 153 episodes.
New project greenlights also include Yamashita’s Gold. In the vein of War Gold, the series searches for a mythical treasure allegedly buried by WWII Japanese soldiers in the Philippine jungle. Also on deck are American Butcher (working title) where master butchers carve their way through historical challenges, along with two new series premiering in November, Knight Fight, in which modern-day warriors battle using era-specific weaponry and armor, and Brothers in Arms, about two Army veterans who are experts at historical military weaponry. Knight Fight could be a suitable companion series tro History’s scripted drama Knightfall.
The new orders and renewals come amid strong performance for History’s 2018 unscripted slate. Year-to-date, the network’s new nonfiction series have outperformed 2017 new series by 36% among total viewers. History is on pace to finish its 10th consecutive year as a top 10 ad-supported cable network among the basic cable’s target adults 25-54 demo.
“History is committed to delivering entertaining, compelling and informative programming and the solid performances of our new nonfiction launches this year prove this content is resonating with our loyal audience,” said Lehrer. “Yamashita’s Gold, Knight Fight, Brothers in Arms and American Butcher are the perfect companions to our existing slate of signature hit series, as we continue to invest in quality series rooted in history that our audiences trust.”
Details of History’s new nonfiction series are below:
Brothers in Arms – 5 X 60 min. – Premieres Tuesday, November 20 at 10PM ET/PT
With almost twenty years of military and law enforcement experience between them, Rocco Vargas and Eli Cuevas are about to combine their talents and embark on a new adventure. Vargas and Cuevas are the new owners of Banditos Armory in the historic town of Ogden, UT. Their goal is simple, to take their expertise and passion and become the best one-stop shop for all things military. From fixing and testing a Cold War Russian tank, one of only a few in America, to solving the mystery of an unidentified Japanese WW2 contraption that Allied troops had never seen before – and didn’t know how to fire. There’s little that the team at Banditos won’t do to investigate, restore, build, and test the most innovative, iconic machines in military history. No challenge or question is too big for Vargas and Cuevas, whether they’re working with military historians and veterans, opening their door to inquiries from avid customers, or even seeking answers to burning questions of their own.
“Brothers in Arms” is produced by Blackfin. Geno McDermott and Mike Colón are the executive producers for Blackfin. Dolores Gavin and Mike Stiller are the executive producers for HISTORY.
Knight Fight – 8 X 60 min. – Premieres Wednesday, November 28 at 10PM ET/PT
Live by the sword, die by the sword: knights were some of history’s most brutal warriors. With armor of steel and a will of iron, they took part in some of the bloodiest battles ever fought. These warriors were so dedicated that between bloody battles, they would challenge one another to extreme trials of combat. Today, the blood sport lives on in the form of the full-contact Armored Combat League — often referred to as “Medieval MMA” or “Knight Fight Club”. Rooted in historical traditions, these modern-day warriors battle in over eighty pounds of plated armor with real steel weapons. Now, for the first time, these modern knights are set to wage war in this eight-episode series. Each episode will feature six fighters who will customize era-specific armor and weaponry and engage in a series of full-contact battles to see who has the skill and the strength to win the ultimate Knight Fight.
“Knight Fight” is produced by Matador Content for HISTORY. Executive Producers for Matador Content are Jay Peterson and Todd Lubin with Vincent Cariati serving as Showrunner and Executive Producer. Jim Pasquarella and Mary E. Donahue are the executive producers for HISTORY.
Yamashita’s Gold (working title) – 8 X 60 min.
In the closing months of WWII, legend has it that Japanese soldiers – led by General Yamashita, along with Allied POWs – constructed secret tunnels underground in dozens of locations and buried treasure worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Yamashita had the entrances blown up, trapping the soldiers inside to keep his secret. It’s a grand mystery that involves a secret cadre of princes called the Golden Lily, booby-trapped tunnels marked by ancient Japanese symbols, and real-life characters like Douglas MacArthur, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and FDR. One Filipino farmer witnessed the operation and for the first time, he has entrusted his secrets to a group of dedicated investigators and engineers who are using the latest technology to search for the treasure – and the truth.
“Yamashita’s Gold” (working title) is produced by Ample. Ari Mark, Phil Lott and Ed Gorsuch are executive producers for Ample. Mike Stiller and Mary E. Donahue serve as the executive producers for HISTORY.
American Butcher (working title) – 6 X 60 min.
Throughout history, the skilled craft of the butcher has been a lynchpin to survival. In early civilizations when foodborne diseases were claiming lives, it was the butcher with their sharp tools and sharper skills who kept death at bay – eventually becoming a fixture in every town across America. Today, there are thousands of people who cut meat but only a select few with the skills and expertise to be considered a “Master Butcher.” Now, for the first time comes an extreme competition series where the best-in-class butchers battle each other in a showdown designed to put their skills, strategy and technique to the ultimate test. With knives drawn and machines at the ready, these Master Butchers will carve their way through painstaking challenges, use their expert knowledge to adapt to every historical twist, and reveal the fascinating secrets of the butcher’s world.
“American Butcher” (working title) is produced for HISTORY by Railsplitter Pictures. Matt Ginsburg and Tim Healy are executive producers for Railsplitter Pictures. Jim Pasquarella, Dolores Gavin and Mary E. Donahue are the executive producers for HISTORY.
Ax Men Reborn (working title) – 10 X 60 min.
The logging families of the Pacific Northwest have been torn apart since the long-running series “Ax Men”. Untimely deaths and a changing economic landscape have threatened family businesses. (Three Am Men cast members died between 2012 and 2016.) For these new generation of loggers, now is the time to start wielding the ax as the timber industry is on the upswing again and the old guard is looking for redemption.
“Ax Men Reborn” (working title) is produced for HISTORY by Original Productions. Jeff Hasler, Brian Lovett and Brian Mandle are executive producers for Original Productions, a Fremantle company. Zachary Behr, Mike Stiller and Dolores Gavin are the executive producers for HISTORY.