Discovery and its sister Science Channel are looking to turn high-stakes pumpkin launching into America’s Thanksgiving pastime: Now that he’s in charge of both nets, prexy-g.m. Clark Bunting has decided to simulcast this year’s turkey day coverage of the annual Punkin Chunkin contest on both channels.
Move comes as the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Assn. — yes, that’s a real org — marks the 25th anniversary of the Delaware-based event. It also marks the third consecutive year on the Science Channel.
“Mythbusters” stars Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman will host this year’s competish, which airs Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Day, at 8 p.m. Discovery and Science have also expanded coverage of the event to three hours.
Punkin Chunkin centers on 110 teams that apply scientific precision — along with a dose of showmanship — in their quest to launch a pumpkin as far away as possible. The goal of the organization is to somehow eventually send a pumpkin flying at least a mile away –a feat not yet achieved.
“It’s the highest-rated event on the channel,” said Science g.m.-programming exec VP Debbie Myers. “It’s pure Americana and ingenuity. The teams take it seriously, and the characters are over the top.”Science Channel will tease the “Punkin Chunkin” event the night before via a “Road to Punkin Chunkin” special on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 10 p.m.
Last year’s event attracted 30,000 spectators; Myers said she expects to exceed that number this year.
Since Bunting took over both channels, Discovery and Science also simulcast the event series “Life.” Myers said the Discovery simulcast will include several marketing spots promoting the Science Channel, particularly its slate of original Friday night series.