Discovery unveils programming details

Company talks new series, projects at upfronts

Discovery Communications will launch a wide variety of new series this year across its channel platforms, including original projects for flagship nets Discovery Channel and TLC.

Company also gave more programming details for its new Planet Green cabler, set to launch this year. Discovery made the announcements Tuesday at their upfront presentation at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

For TLC prexy Angela Shapiro-Mathes, it was the exec’s first upfront slate since taking over the channel. Roster included new skeins such as “Ashley Paige,” which follows the world of the bikini designer; “The Singing Office,” hosted by Melanie Brown and Joey Fatone; and “Single Moms,” a 10-episode series that follows three women looking for love.

Also new: “Napoleon Complex,” which features students of Napoleon Perdis’ makeup academy as they compete to work with him; and “This Is Why You’re Single,” dubbed a “surprising intervention for perpetually single people.”

TLC, which recently moved to the West Coast under Shapiro-Mathes, also promoted its new brand to advertisers and revealed a new scheduling strategy: Themed nights.

Net will air “real family sitcoms” on Mondays; Fridays will focus on makeovers; Saturdays will continue to center on home and decorating. Nights will also be devoted to relationships, careers and entertaining, Shapiro-Mathes said.

“We’re creating strong multiplatform franchsies with our new series, brand and themed nights that will make TLC the place the audience and advertisers feel good about coming back to,” Shapiro-Mathes said.

Popular TLC franchises that will return for another round include “Little People, Big World,” “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” “What Not to Wear,” “10 Years Younger,” “Miss America” and “Trading Spaces.” Other previously announced newcomers include “Real Simple” and “Date My House.”

Meanwhile, Discovery Channel’s frosh entries include “Expeditions with Josh Bernstein,” which looks at ancient civilizations; “One Way Out,” starring escape artist Jonathan Goodwin, as he attempts to climb out of sticky situations; and “How Stuff Works,” based on the website of the same name.

Channel specials include “Inside Planet Earth,” “Nature’s Greatest Events,” “Raging Planet,” “Colony,” “Iditarod” and “Koppel on Discovery.” Net has also picked up the TV premiere of the Al Gore doc “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“No one can match Discovery’s ability to invite our viewers into the action as it unfolds,” said Discovery Channel prexy/GM John Ford.

Animal Planet’s new fare includes “Dark Days in Monkey City,” “Dave Salmoni: A Year With Lions,” “Jockeys,” “Dogs! Cats!,” “Whale Wars” and “Stray to Hey.”

As for Planet Green, execs touted previously announced projects such as “Battleground Earth: Ludacris vs. Tommy Lee,” “Emeril Green” and “Supper Club with Tom Bergeron.”

Also in the mix: “Hollywood Green with Maria Menounos”; “The Green Life,” featuring Adrian Grenier; the Bill Nye-hosted “Stuff Happens”; “The Tom Green Project”; and a series of Tom Brokaw specials.

Planet Green will sneak preview its fare starting April 17 on VOD; channel launches on June 4 with more than 250 hours of original programming.

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