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Animal Planet’s 2015-16 slate has two shows set in India

MUMBAI: US infotainment broadcaster Discovery’s channel Animal Planet unveiled its 2015-2016 upfront slate. The network’s offering of new and returning programming aims to connect audiences with the untamed natural world. The network promises its male and female viewers raw, unpredictable and ‘unscriptable’ entertainment.

Animal Planet, TLC and Velocity group president Marjorie Kaplan said, “Animal Planet’s 2015-16 programming and characters have a wild, untamed streak that’s a powerful invitation to viewers. The more we live apart from the wild world, the more we crave authentic experiences that bring us closer to that sweet spot where humans and animals coexist.”

Animal Planet GM executive VP Rick Holzman said, “Animal Planet is a dynamic television brand that’s constantly evolving. ‘Living wild’ is a big part of our network’s underlying ethos and is our North Star when commissioning content. It’s evident in the range of programming we’ve developed for the year ahead, including our proven returning series and several surprising new offerings.”

Two of Animal Planet’s new shows are set in India and belong to the Natural History genre. ‘Living With Maneaters’ is about the close proximity of human and great predatory cats which has created a fascinating and very complex relationship. Perhaps, nowhere else in the world is the line between the untamed and the developed so incredibly thin. This two-hour special explores the delicate balance among man, tigers, leopards and lions all living on top of each other, and examines what happens when this balance is thrown off.

Meanwhile, ‘Wild India’ searches for the remarkable, the iconic and the elusive. It follows the largest elephant migration outside of Africa, life-and-death struggles on the slopes of the world’s tallest mountains and seasonal clashes in the rainforest.

On 5 April, Animal Planet is launching the seventh season of ‘River Monsters’, and this time, biologist/angler Jeremy Wade’s expeditions search for the greatest ‘River Monsters’ of all time. On the same night, the network is off and running with ‘100 Miles From Nowhere’, a new series that features three best friends who try to get as far off the beaten path as possible… and then go 100 miles farther.

Other new shows that have been announced include ‘Sheriff Of Cross River’ in the Muscular Conservation genre. This is the latest in Animal Planet’s muscular conservation genre in the vein of the series ‘Whale Wars’. This show follows Peter Jenkins – Nigeria’s leading wildlife warrior and a cross between Clint Eastwood and Paul Watson. In the extremely dangerous Cross River region, Peter and his team go to any means necessary to ward off poachers, clear cutters and other nefarious human threats from the area’s animal population, including the drill, the world’s most endangered primate. (Red Rock Films with Triosphere Productions)

Another new show is ‘America Builds A Shelter’ in the People and Pets genre. It is being pushed as ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ with an Animal Planet twist. Animal shelters around the US are in desperate need of help; they are underfunded and overtaxed but determined not to turn away any animals. With the show viewers identify deserving animal shelters in need of renovations to help with their noble missions. In each quarterly special, one fortunate shelter receives a complete transformation, which viewers are able to see from inception to completion.

Another new show is ‘Restoration Wild’ in the Environmental Build genre. This is a nature build series that captures the Treehouse Masters. The series follows visionary wild man Jay Chaikin and his crew of expert builders and designers as they identify and repurpose the coolest vintage structures and relics left abandoned in the landscape. Jay and his team transform this waste into amazing one-of-a-kind living spaces. An expert in transforming dilapidated spaces, Jay converts a vintage bus into a breathtaking guesthouse on wheels, flips a centuries-old cabin into an over-the-top hunting-lodge basement hangout and much, much more.

In the Epic genre, one new show is ‘Last North’. In February 2014, polar adventurers Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters began what is considered the most difficult expedition on the planet: traversing the Arctic Ocean from Northern Ellesmere Island to the geographic North Pole with just their hand-drawn sleds and the gear they bring with them. The team traveled unsupported – with no camera crews or resupply missions. Their goal: to break the current time record of 49 days. (High Noon Entertainment)

Another new show is called ‘Fish Or Die’. Four diehard anglers and adrenaline junkies are determined to go where no fisherman ever has gone before. Traversing all seven continents in a vegetable-oil-powered pickup truck in search of earth’s last unexplored waters, they embark on an adventure. Along the way, they battle parasites, dodge drug cartels and survive off the bare essentials as they risk their lives in attempt to fulfill their dreams.

In the Muscular Conservation genre, one new show is called ‘Animal Black Ops’. This follows the Office of Law Enforcement, a special unit of the Fish and Wildlife Services. The organisation boasts more than 250 special agents and its own forensic laboratory, which supports international investigations of wildlife crimes. The team exists to defend the defenseless and use their world-class skills to guard animals from the corrupt and the villainous.

Meanwhile, ‘Predator And Bait’ features hunters – lions, hyenas, polar bears, and sharks. This new wildlife adventure series teams former Navy Seal Joel Lambert with various experts to go to remote locations to study these fascinating animals. From the plains of Zambia to the frozen ice floes of Norway to the treacherous waters off the coast of South Africa, Lambert and his scientific colleagues traverse the globe to study these animals intimately. Using a specially built, safety-tested transparent pod, Joel and his comrades spend up to 24 hours living amongst these majestic predators while giving enough distance to respect their territory from a safe distance.

In the Environmental Build genre, one new show is ‘Alaska Proof’. In the quest to harness the essence of Alaska into a bottle of Vodka, the determined team at Alaska Distillery journeys to the far reaches of the wilderness to harvest the finest exotic ingredients mother nature and the last frontier have to offer. Expeditions into the bush come at a high cost and are sometimes dangerous, but to these artisans, it’s a price they’re willing to pay in order to create the world’s finest vodka.