Discovery Channel plans to launch two very different shows with cars as a centerpiece, while a series joining two of the most popular entities in reality TV -- Mark Burnett and Alaska -- is also coming. Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network also has a series set in Alaska on tap.
Discovery Channel’s “One Car Too Far” is in the vein of other survival series on the network as a British special forces veteran and American “car junkie” are let loose way off the beaten path. They have a small red car and have to work together to return to safety. Whether in the freezing cold or a muggy rainforest, they must “MacGyver-ize” the vehicle.
“Fast And Loud” involves remote areas, but not dangerous ones. The series features two men prowling the country searching for “forgotten and derelict classic cars to restore” at their garage, which are then sold to the highest bidder.
Burnett, who is behind “Survivor” and so many other unscripted ventures, will offer a documentary-style series, “Mark Burnett’s Alaska,” about the state’s people, history and geographic wonders. Discovery already has multiple shows involving the state, including “Flying Wild Alaska” and “Alaska: The Final Frontier.”
Burnett had previously worked with Discovery sister channel TLC on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Both networks are now run by Eileen O’Neill.
At OWN, which is owned 50/50 by Discovery Communications and Winfrey’s production company, the network plans to launch “Married To The Army: Alaska,” focusing on military wives with deployed husbands, who “find themselves in a unique sisterhood that only they can understand,” while living in the difficult conditions of the last frontier.
TLC is launching a pair of series in familiar genres: large families and little people. The “Bates Family Series” (working title) focuses on a family with 19 kids and how they manage in rural Tennessee with so many loads of laundry and other challenges. “Big Tiny: Life With the Jordans” features the “world’s smallest siblings,” with 22-year-old Bridgette weighing just 18 pounds and younger brother Brad weighing in at 35.
The network also looks to offer some of the flavor of an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx and a traditionally Irish one in Boston. “Mama’s Boys of the Bronx” follows five men in their 30s in the Bronx's Little Italy who still live with their mothers. “Southie Pride” (working title) features “five South Boston women as they struggle to make a life for their families and protect the people they love the most.”
Discovery Communications made a slew of announcements as it held its upfront event Thursday.
Among the new series coming to Animal Planet is one that doesn’t appear to have a direct link to animals, although clearly with the outdoors. (With its “Surprisingly Human” tagline, the network has been focusing on shows about intriguing people who interact with animals.) “Treehouse Men” features a group near Seattle who build exotic treehouses for clientele ranging from 10-year-olds to billionaires.
The network will also launch “Top Hooker” (working title), a competition series where 10 fishermen are split into two teams, pitting them "head-to-head in a series of insane, never-before-seen fishing challenges.”
The growing Investigation Discovery, or ID, network will continue to offer up “guilty pleasure” series such as true crime “Pretty Bad Girls,” profiling “sexy criminals (who) know exactly what they want, and are willing to do anything to get it, no matter the cost. They will lie, cheat, steal, and even kill.”
If murder and marriage become the focus of “Pretty Bad Girls” episodes, it is the focus of “’Til Death Do Us Part,” which “explores tumultuous, shocking, and high-stake divorces and the deadly murders linked to them.” A psychotherapist and relationship expert, and attorney and forensic psychologist, are hosts.
In addition to “Married To The Army: Alaska,” other new OWN series include game show “Are You Normal, America?,” which on one level shows “we’re all pretty abnormal” and “Elura and Michelle Take Staten Island,” focusing on two ostensibly regular housewives who are former prosecutors who aren’t afraid of straight talk -- no matter who the recipient.