Discovery Channel is unleashing a slew of series and event programs for its 2014-15 slate, highlighted by daredevil Nik Wallenda’s latet stunt — a tightrope walk across the iconic Chicago skyline — and the launch of a weekly program block for gear heads, “Motor Mondays.”
At its upfront presentation Thursday at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the cabler will also tout its historical scripted drama “The West” from Robert Redford’s Sundance Prods. that covers the “blood-soaked” period between the end of the Civil War through the early 20th century. Characters will include Jesse James, Crazy Horse, Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill.
“Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda” is set to air as a live event in the fall. Last year, Wallenda’s “Skywire Live” walk (pictured) across the Little Colorado River in the Grand Canyon brought in 13 million viewers.
Also planned for this year is “Everest Jump Live,” featuring Joby Ogwyn in a wing suit.
“Survival Live” is another live-event initiative that will offer round-the-clock streaming access to a group of eight survivalists dropped off in the middle of nowhere with no provisions for 42 days. Viewers will be able to track their moments via Web streaming, and viewers will be able to track biometric data on each contestant and decide whether to give any of them extra assistance.
Funny or Die is producing an unscripted series about famed Detroit bodybuilding coach Mike Barwis, “American Muscle.”
The “Motor Mondays” program block might as well be renamed “Guy Friendly.” Discovery said the goal was to create a regular , 52-week haven for automotive programming on the cabler’s sked. Programs to air under the new banner include “Fast ‘n Loud,” “Chrome Underground,” “#BikerLive” and “Lords of the Car Hoards.”
Discovery is coming off a strong year ratings-wise.