Discovery Greenlights Cajun Navy, ID Slates Timely Doc Sugar Town


Discovery’s TCA presentations included among its highlights the new Discovery Channel documentary Cajun Navy, about civilians who jump to respond after devastating storms, and the Investigation Discovery (ID) doc Sugar Town, examining the controversial death of Victor White III, who was fatally shot in the back of a police car while being taken to the station.

Produced by Lightbox, Cajun Navy follows a group of men and women who run towards deadly storms and floodwaters to help save their community and its people from total destruction. Lightbox’s Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Suzanne Lavery are producers, and filmmaker James Newton directs.

“These are stories of neighbors helping neighbors, of people relying on each other, of communities overcoming devastating obstacles together,” said Nancy Daniels, chief brand officer for Discovery and Factual. “We are really excited to shine a light on the Cajun Navy’s inspiring work for our audience.”

Simon and Jonathan Chinn, co-founders of Lightbox and executive producers of the doc, noted: “The Cajun Navy was born, spontaneously, out of one of the most devastating natural disasters in living memory in America—and the fact that it has endured and continues to rescue people every hurricane season is a testament to the need it fills in American life. This feature documentary will be a snapshot into a fascinating and little-understood group of people in the deep South who are driven to risk life and limb to help their neighbors, regardless of religion, race or creed. We are very excited to be collaborating with Discovery to bring their stories into audiences’ homes.”

Sugar Town, meanwhile, provides exclusive access to the White family as they investigate their son’s arrest and suspicious death. The doc is produced by Stephen David Entertainment, with David and Tim W. Kelly serving as executive producers, Shan Nicholson directing and Jonathan Soule as co-executive producer. It is slated for broadcast on August 6 from 8 to 10 p.m.

“Victor White III was a father, a son, a brother—and sadly, I fear, a victim of injustices rooted in New Iberia,” said Henry Schleiff, group president of ID, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. “Tragedies like these unfortunately catapult people into becoming activists, and we are humbled to share the White family’s crusade for answers in Sugar Town. We are reminded that corruption and racism exist in our society today, and we hope that ID’s airing of this documentary will help spark informed dialogue about larger social injustices to ensure that White’s death was not in vain.”

ID has also lined up the three-part special event Pamela Smart, An American Murder Mystery, as well as the world television premiere of A Murder in Mansfield, which comes from Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple. The former will air on August 19 at 10 p.m., while the latter is scheduled for November 17 at 9 p.m.

HGTV unveiled new series such as Rustic Rehab, which follows real-estate and home-renovation experts David and Chenoa Rivera; My Windfall Dream Home, featuring HGTV alum and designer David Bromstad; and House Hunters: Home for the Holidays, a new spin on the network’s hit franchise. The network’s other new shows are Best House on the Block, Big City Charm, Mom and Me, Almost Home, Windy City Rehab and Montana Home. Returning HGTV series for July 2018 through January 2019 include Love It or List It, Flipping Virgins, Desert Flippers, Property Brothers, Flip or Flop Atlanta, My Lottery Dream Home, Property Brothers: Buying & Selling, Restored by the Fords, Flip or Flop Nashville and Home Town.

Food Network shared its expanded slate of new and returning summer series, including the upcoming season of Chopped Grill Masters, which premieres on July 31 at 9 p.m. Among other highlights, the channel announced that it is welcoming Andrew Zimmern in the new show Big Food Truck Tip (August 29 at 10 p.m.) and will be introducing a new program with Tyler Florence called Bite Club on September 6 at 9 p.m.

Also at the event, Animal Planet revealed that the all-new series Amanda to the Rescue will begin airing on October 28 at 9 p.m., and Science Channel unveiled the full cast of MythBusters Jr., due to debut in late 2018.