EXCLUSIVE: ITV is moving into the resurgent natural history space with its first major wildlife series in a number of years, taking on the likes of the BBC, Netflix and Discovery.
The British commercial broadcaster is working with Hostile Planet producer Plimsoll Productions on landmark doc series A Year On Planet Earth (w/t) and the Grant Mansfield-run business is currently in LA pitching the project to U.S. broadcasters and streaming platforms to finalize its financing.
A Year On Planet Earth is being overseen by showrunner Tom Hugh-Jones, creative director at Plimsoll, who was the showrunner of the BBC’s Planet Earth II and Nat Geo’s Hostile Planet, and Plimsoll’s Head of Wildlife, Dr Martha Holmes.
Deadline understands that the series showcases the planet’s annual journey around the sun and its impact on the globe.
Hugh-Jones and Holmes are in LA this week, on the back of Hostile Planet being nominated for two Emmys, pitching out the project to a slew of interested parties. Deadline hears there’s much interest in this one.
Last year, ITV aired David Attenborough-fronted one-off doc The Queen’s Green Planet, which saw the British monarch and the Planet Earth frontman discuss trees, nature and conservation. However, it has not really been in the wildlife market for close to 20 years, leaving the genre to rival BBC and well-funded streamers such as Netflix, which recently launched Attenborough’s Our Planet, and U.S. cable networks including Discovery and Nat Geo.
Plimsoll has worked with ITV on slightly smaller scale natural history series, including four-parter Life At The Extreme, which saw host David McCall, travel across different continents from deserts to snowdrifts and rainforests.
The broadcaster’s international sales arm, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, has also taken strides in this market. It recently partnered with ITV-owned producer Oxford Scientific Films and Japanese broadcaster NHK on Wild Tokyo, a one-off doc that sees some of the world’s leading wildlife cinematographers revealing an unseen side of Japan’s capital.