Fox slots carnal critters

'Beast,' 'Wrong' ordered to fill holes in pre-spring sked

Fox is focusing on a really wild kingdom.

Net has ordered “National Geographic: When Animals Attract,” an hourlong special on the mating habits of the wild kingdom.

Net has also greenlit a second installment of last year’s popular LMNO Prods. hour “Man vs. Beast,” as well as a potential franchise from LMNO dubbed “That’s Just Wrong.” Specials are meant to fill in some key holes in the Fox February Friday-night sked prior to the arrival of new scripted fare in the spring.

Fox is no doubt hoping for boffo Nielsens from its animals boffing spesh, which is slated to air Feb. 13 at 9 p.m., just in time for Valentine’s Day. Spec had been in development for Fox-owned National Geographic Channel, but Fox reality titan Mike Darnell jumped at the chance to have first crack at the hour.

“No one’s ever done this on network TV before,” Darnell said. “It’s a very interesting part of nature … people hear about in science class but not on network TV.”

At one point, spec had been known around town as “Wild Animal Sex.” Nonetheless, Fox insiders said the special will have the same production qualities and scientific integrity usually associated with National Geographic programming.

The “When Animal Attract” title is a play on Fox’s popular “When Animals Attack” specials of the late 1990s. Net has vowed off that franchise for good.

Fox has aired at least one National Geographic spec before, and Darnell said he wants to do more business with the company.

Continuing the amazing animals theme of Fox’s Friday sked, net on Feb. 20 with air “Man vs. Beast 2,” a sequel to last year’s hour from Eric Schotz’s LMNO Prods.

Among the competitions slated for the new installment: A monkey vs. man climbing contest and a long-jumper vs. a leopard.

There’ll also be a few animals in “That’s Just Wrong,” an LMNO hour slated for Feb. 6 at 9 p.m. that serves up clips and stunts designed to live up to the show’s title.

“It’s literally what the title says,” Darnell said. “It’s filled with things that make you say, ‘Man, that’s just wrong.'”

Darnell won’t reveal all of the special’s contents, but said one stunt involves a man who puts a live snake in his mouth then pulls it back through his nose, alive. Producers also plan to put various objects in a jet engine and see what happens when the engine starts up.

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