Reality star gets new show, series of specials

TLC isn’t done with Kate Gosselin just yet.

The Discovery-owned lifestyle cabler announced Thursday that Gosselin will front a new unscripted skein for the cabler to bow in the third quarter of this year. She’ll also be seen in a series of “Kate Plus 8″ specials chronicling her large brood, post-split from dad Jon Gosselin.

Also at the Discovery Communications upfront, Animal Planet unveiled its marketing makeover — and it’s a lot less hairy this time around. The cable conglom also revealed new projects for Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery, Science Channel and Planet Green.

Aud members at the Thursday afternoon Discovery presentation — held at Time Warner Center’s Rose Hall — found 3D glasses in black envelopes under the seats. The specs were necessary viewing equipment for a sizzle reel touting the org’s new net 3DTV.

Discovery ad sales head Joe Abruzzese thanked ad buyers for “hanging in there during one of the most challenging seasons in the history of television.”

“Audiences for network television have gotten older and smaller,” he said. “On cable you pay a lot less for a whole lot more.”

At TLC, the new Kate Minus 8 series, dubbed “Twist of Kate,” sends Gosselin (who the channel still manages to dub “America’s Favorite Mom” ) on the road to spend time living with everyday families across the country. In what’s either a comic touch or complete lack of self awareness, TLC says Gosselin will offer her “help” in finding ways to make their lives run smoother.

Meanwhile, the previously announced successor program to “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” “Kate Plus 8,” will now air as a limited number of specials, likely in response to the ongoing upheaval in the Gosselin family dynamic (including a custody suit filed by soon-to-be ex-hubby Jon Gosselin).

Also at TLC, the channel’s fascination with large families continues with a project starring “Multiple of Multiples” family the Carpios, who have 18-month-old sextuplets at home. And “Quintuplet Surprise” centers on the Austin-based Jones family, who have five newborns.

TLC’s previously announced relationship with Kelly Ripa has led to “Homemade Millionaire,” which centers on aspiring entrepeneurs. And “Auctioneers” centers on the stories behind an auction house.

On the food front, TLC is whipping up the cooking competish “Inedible to Incredible,” starring chef John Besh; the six-part “Cupcake Sisters”; and former Koi chef Rodelio Aglibot hosts the two-part “Food Buddha.”

TLC also has the previously announced “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” two new versions of “Say Yes to the Dress,” and the competish “Battle of the Wedding Designers.”

“The fact that TLC has 15 series delivering over one million viewers shows that our content is connecting,” said TLC president/GM Eileen O’Neill.

Palin wasn’t at the presentation but did prerecord a greeting.

Over at Animal Planet, the net’s focus on adding more human characters to the mix — including Mike Tyson’s pigeon racing show — has led to a slogan change.

The “Animal Planet: Surprisingly Human” campaign launches later this month.

“Taking on Tyson” joins the net’s other series pickups, including pest-control series “Skunk Whisperer,” “World’s Deadliest Towns” and Al Roker-produced “Last Chance Highway.”

“There’s no human world separate from the animal world,” said net G.M. and prexy Marjorie Kaplan. “We all inhabit one large, living planet and the stories we can tell at the margins where humans’ and animals’ lives intersect make for terrific entertainment.”

Besides Tyson and Roker, new net names with cachet include Ric O’Barry, subject of new eco-protection series “Dolphin Warriors” and helmer of Oscar-winning docu “The Cove,” which is set to make its cable bow on Animal Planet.

At Investigation Discovery, new prexy/G.M. Henry Schleiff, unveiled a crop of new series including “Paperback Mysteries,” “Buried Secrets” and “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?”

ID has also tapped James Ellroy to host and narrate “James Ellroy’s L.A.: City of Demons,” which looks at some of L.A.’s and Hollywood’s most lurid cases, past and present.

Channel is also working on two Las Vegas-themed shows — “Saved on the Strip” and “Vegas Streets,” while “Stalking” is just what it sounds like, and “The Sopranos’” Steve Schirripa hosts the mob-themed “Nothing Personal.”

And new series at Science Channel include “Prophets of Science Fiction,” “The World Without,” “Mutant Planet” and “What If?”

Planet Green’s new series include “The Kamen Code” ( Daily Variety , March 10), “Treehugger TV,” “Shareen Vintage,” “The John Patrick Show,” “Urban Impact,” “Fast Forward” and “Urban Insight.”

And as previously reported, Discovery Channel’s slate is heavy on big-event programming in the vein of current hit “Life” ( Daily Variety , April 7). Discovery on Thursday said it has cut a deal to develop projects with Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks TV and DreamWorks Animation. Among the first projects planned is an animated miniseries, “Future Earth,” examining what the world will look like over the next 25 to 100 years. Spielberg, who will oversee mini’s development, is already producing a limited series for the cabler, “The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.”

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