Animal Planet Sails with Martin Sheen
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Animal Planet is making a push into the scripted arena with a “Moby Dick”-inspired telepic “Revenge of the Whale,” to star Martin Sheen.

The co-production with BBC tells the story of a cabin boy’s life-changing experiences on a whaling ship. Project is slated to bow in the fall.

Animal Planet is to tubthump the Sheen pic and a slew of other projects Thursday at its upfront presentation in Gotham. Among the new entries on the cabler for the coming season is a docu special with basketball star Yao Ming chronicling his efforts to curb the hunting of elephants and rhinos in his native China.

“We always are exploring new stories that both entertain and challenge how we view the natural world and our place in it,” explains Marjorie Kaplan, group prexy of Animal Planet and TLC.

Among the new series bound for Animal Planet in 2014-15:

DEADLY ISLANDS
Animal Planet’s large predator expert Dave Salmoni is no stranger to adventure. Having trekked the globe to study predators and their unique environments, Salmoni combines his hands-on experiences in his new landmark series, DEADLY ISLANDS. Salmoni visits some of the world’s most remote islands to investigate how and why their native inhabitants have been so spectacularly successful at surviving — despite the harshest of conditions. In a unique approach that blends all the splendor of a natural history documentary series with an investigative twist, DEADLY ISLANDS follows Salmoni in the role of detective as he sets out to crack some of the last big secrets of these forgotten places. Salmoni’s skills are tested to the limits as he lives alongside some of Mother Nature’s fiercest predators to solve the mysteries of these DEADLY ISLANDS.

ICE LAKE REBELS
The freeze and thaw periods are the two most deadly times of the year on Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories in Canada. This series follows a handful of survivalists as they hunt for food, drill for water, trade for necessities and protect their turf. It’s a lawless frozen lake of ultra-libertarians forced together during brutal winters. Choosing another kind of lifestyle, these rebels – families, couples and singles – have said goodbye to living life the conventional way on land and taken to floating homes and houseboats… Since they don’t live on land, they don’t pay taxes, and, therefore, no one polices them. The very things that we take for granted – from opening the front door to walking your pet to shopping for groceries and supplies – are incredibly difficult to navigate. As one rebel says, “It’s not man you have to worry about; it’s woman – Mother Nature.”

POOL MASTER
POOL MASTER extraordinaire Anthony Archer-Wills is distinguished for being the best in the world for what he does – designing and delivering the ultimate swimming experience. A master designer and sculptor, Archer-Wills creates pools to look as though they were formed by nature’s hand more than 1,000 years ago. In each episode of POOL MASTER, Archer-Wills connects to the spirit of each house and its grounds to complement his pool design, and then, he goes on a ‘stone hunt’ in search of the perfect natural rock for the project. Once the client’s dream swimming pool is fulfilled, cameras share the inaugural swim. These are not your everyday swimming holes!

REDWOOD KINGS
REDWOOD KINGS uncovers the artistry that goes into turning ancient, reclaimed redwood trees into creative works of art. Creating carvings of animated characters, movie and theme-park facades and even treehouses, twin brothers Ron and John Daniels work side by side at their theming company. It isn’t all a forest fairytale though — things can get splintery when “little” brother Ron must turn off the chainsaw and reign in John “The Carving Cowboy” in order to keep every project on schedule and on budget. In the premiere season, the guys and their 40-person crew create a life-sized replica of a gold stamp mill and spinning waterwheel; head back to the glory days of the gold rush for a rustic roadside mall in California; build a Noah’s Ark themed treehouse for the youngest members of a small family church; and design a massive, 22 room, interactive theme-park experience in a historic building in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN BOUNTY HUNTERS
The Rocky Mountains, with more than 3,000 miles of dense forests and rocky peaks, provide the perfect hideaway for fugitives on the run from the law. In Animal Planet’s new six-part series ROCKY MOUNTAIN BOUNTY HUNTERS, two teams of elite fugitive retrieval agents are in hot pursuit of armed and unpredictable delinquents who’ve skipped bail and prefer the treacherous mountainous terrain to facing justice behind bars. ROCKY MOUNTAIN BOUNTY HUNTERS follows professional bounty-hunter pairs Clint and Dayson in Colorado and Rob and “Animal” in Montana as they patrol the harsh environment of the scenic yet deadly Rockies. When fugitives disappear into the immense wilderness inhabited by predators like black bears and mountain lions, it takes a special type of hunter to bring them to justice. Throughout the series, the region’s most-wanted offenders, who have histories of charges ranging from gun running to homicide to drug trafficking, attempt to evade the expert trackers who are always on the hunt. If you run, these wilderness bounty hunters won’t stop until they catch you.

MY TINY TERROR (working title)
With 40 years under her belt, small dog trainer Jacqueline Wilson trains some of the naughtiest and tiniest dogs. These teacup pups may look sweet, but they’re causing mayhem in their owners’ homes. From these pups’ incessant barking at strangers to ankle bites that end with hospitalizations, our expert has seen it all. In MY TINY TERROR (working title), these yappy purse pups and their sometimes even yappier owners are going to learn their manners.

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