Discovery Sets Egypt Live, Serengeti Events


Discovery’s TCA presentation unveiled a range of highlights across the bouquet of networks, including Discovery Channel’s two-hour live event Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live (working title) and the six-parter Serengeti.

Discovery Channel is set to premiere Serengeti, which comes from American Idol creator Simon Fuller and multi-award-winning wildlife filmmaker John Downer. The landmark series follows the stories of a cast of African wildlife over the course of a year, showcasing the dramatic moments that make each day of survival on the Serengeti a feat. The filmmakers received unrivaled access to one of the most pristine and unspoiled corners of the African plains. Serengeti is made by XIX Entertainment and John Downer Productions and was commissioned for the BBC.

The live two-hour multiplatform event Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live will be hosted by adventurer and explorer Josh Gates, who will be joined by world-renowned Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass, and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt. The event will be produced by Discovery Studios and Ping Pong Productions in association with Big Dreams Entertainment with Leslie Greif as executive producer. Viewers will get to see the inner chambers of an excavation site, where archeologists recently uncovered a network of vertical shafts leading to an underground network of tunnels and tombs with 40 mummies believed to be part of the noble elite. There is a mysterious limestone sarcophagus found buried deep within the complex of chambers, and the identity of the mummy inside has been a mystery for 3,000 years—possibly until now.

Discovery also revealed Cajun Navy (working title), which chronicles the grassroots rescue efforts from a movement of ordinary citizens that started during Hurricane Katrina and lives on today. From production company Lightbox, the project follows a group of men and women, hailing from all walks of life, who are saving their community and its people from the destruction caused by catastrophic storms such as Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.

Meanwhile, Investigation Discovery (ID) has lined up The Atlanta Child Murders, produced by Jupiter Entertainment and Will Packer Media. The special, set to premiere on March 23, revisits a case from 1979 when the remains of two 14-year-old boys were found in Atlanta. What was uncovered in 23 months was a total of 29 African-American children being stolen from their families and murdered. Multiple suspicions lead nowhere, and decades later, no person has been tried for these murders, and the killer has never been confirmed.

Also coming to ID is the six-episode true-crime series Deadly Recall, debuting March 5. The show spotlights homicide detective Pat Postiglione, who has the gift of a photographic memory. He recounts his most daunting cases, walking viewers through the locations in exacting detail.

In Pursuit with John Walsh, which made its world premiere on ID on January 16, follows the eponymous icon of justice and victims’ rights advocate as he leads viewers through unsolved violent crimes that urgently need to be closed. He is joined by his son, Callahan Walsh, who leads the operation on the ground, working in tandem with the community and local authorities to search for persons-of-interest. In partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the series will also feature two missing children each hour, providing age-progression photos and descriptions in the hopes that viewers can provide new leads to their whereabouts. The program is set to air for 12 consecutive weeks. Luis Frias—who was profiled in the premiere episode and was wanted after allegedly stabbing his ex-wife, Janett Reyna, to death in front of their children—has been captured by U.S. Marshals thanks to a tip resulting from the show.

Travel Channel revealed the new series Portals to Hell, launching April 19. In the show, TV personality and executive producer Jack Osbourne, and paranormal researcher and investigator Katrina Weidman join forces to explore locations with sordid pasts and dark histories that are especially sinister and purported to be doorways to the spirit underworld. They will be investigating each haunted location in search of evidence that a spirit world exists, and death is not the end, over eight hour-long episodes.

Travel Channel has also added to its lineup Mission Declassified, launching March 24. It features investigative reporter Christof Putzel, who reveals new information from an unsolved case that takes him on an adventure into the past. Episodes include “Escape from Alcatraz,” “The Hunt for DB Cooper,” “The Lindbergh Kidnapping” and others.

The channel is reviving America Unearthed, in which forensic geologist Scott Wolter examines artifacts and strange finds to discover the secrets of our country’s history. Following the closure of the H2 channel, Travel Channel is updating the show’s format for its new network home and allowing Wolter to continue his quest to establish what really happened and set the historical record straight. Travel Channel has acquired the previous three seasons, comprising 39 episodes, and the network will premiere a fourth season with ten new one-hour episodes this summer.

Over on Animal Planet, Evan Goes Wild features Dr. Evan Antin, voted the “sexiest veterinarian alive” by People magazine, in his first TV series. Debuting February 24, the series will follow Antin as he chases his wildlife bucket list: swimming alongside humpback whales in Tahiti, exploring caves with bats and snakes in the Philippines and tangling with crocs in the Yucatan.

Food Network’s Family Food Showdown launches March 3 with host Valerie Bertinelli. In each episode, two families are pitted against each other in three rounds of challenges designed to test their cooking skills, recipes and family dynamics.

At the TCA presentation, HGTV stars Christina Anstead (Christina on the Coast), Alison Victoria (Windy City Rehab) and David Bromstad (My Lottery Dream Home) were joined on stage by the network’s newest home-renovation expert, New Kids on the Block singer Jonathan Knight (Farmhouse Fixer, a pilot), for a panel discussion about identifying and seizing new on-camera career opportunities. This spring, HGTV will welcome renovator and designer Grace Mitchell in the new series One of a Kind, premiering on March 19.

TLC has added to its lineup Drag Me Down the Aisle, an all-new wedding special following four of America’s most beloved drag queens coming to the rescue as they make it their mission to help a struggling bride salvage her big day. It premieres March 9, following Say Yes to the Dress. Kate Gosselin, who audiences came to know from the reality show Jon & Kate Plus 8, is returning to TV with Kate Plus Date. The six-part TLC series, premiering in June, will follow the single mom of eight on her quest to find love.