Discovery’s Root grows spec, skeins

Volcanoes, thieves, deadly waters offer new entertainment

The Discovery Channel has greenlit two series — “World’s Deadliest Season” and “To Catch a Thief” — and the special two-hour event “Supervolcano,” all of which bear the stamp of Jane Root, the network’s new exec VP and general manager.

“Supervolcano” is scheduled for April.

At a press luncheon Monday, Root, who quit as head of BBC2 to join Discovery in June, said the spec will use “dramatic reconstruction with actors” to explore “what might happen if the volcano under Yellowstone National Park explodes. We’ll go into the extensive disaster planning for the event. I call the format science prediction, not science fiction.”

“Supervolcano” comes from the same BBC team that produced the two-hour reconstruction of events surrounding the volcanic eruption that destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii. The “Pompeii” doc premieres on Discovery Jan. 30.

Discovery has commissioned Original Prods. to do the 10-hour series “World’s Deadliest Season” (working title), which will follow a number of fishing boats as they ply the waters of the Bering Sea to harvest Alaskan king crabs.

The job is very dangerous because the government allows only a short window of time for the boats to legally fish the waters, so the men work day and night, often in subfreezing weather, to bring in the biggest possible haul.

Exec producer for Original Prods. is Thom Beers; David McKillop is exec producer for Discovery.

“To Catch a Thief” is a 13-hour reality series that will show average homeowners how vulnerable they are to burglary. Producer Lion Television hires experts at breaking and entering and follows them on camera as they go about finding ways to break into a house that’s supposedly secure.

Goal of the series is to show people how to make it harder for house thieves to gain access to their valuables. Discovery has scheduled “Thief” for sometime during the first quarter.

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