The third week of the Television Critics Assn. press tour continued Tuesday with presentations from Discovery, Inc. that featured talent across HGTV, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Food Network and Discovery Channel, while Acorn TV and Starz also brought some new spring series, including the former’s “Manhunt” and “Queens of Mystery” and the latter’s “Now Apocalypse,” “The Rook,” “The Spanish Princess” and the second seasons of “Vida” and “American Gods.”
Here, Variety breaks down five things learned at TCA Day 15.
African and Egyptian Adventures
Although Discovery Channel pulled “Border Live” from the network weeks back, the network is not shying away from live event television overall, announcing a two-hour live broadcast from Egypt, during which a sarcophagus will be opened in search of ancient artifacts. Entitled “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live,” the special will be hosted by Josh Gates, feature world-renowned Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass and secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, Mostafa Waziri, and is produced by Discovery Studios and Ping Pong Prods. in association with Big Dreams Ent. It will take place as a multiplatform program April 7 at 9 p.m. Additionally, Discovery announced a new six-part series entitled “Serengeti,” which explores life in the African plains. From producers Simon Fuller and John Downer, the show takes place over a year to showcase the combination of “Africa’s unimaginable beauty with its equally unforgiving brutality, highlighting daily challenges of life on the Serengeti.” From XIX Ent. and John Downer Prods., the series will debut later in 2019.
Introducing Hypermasculinity in ‘Vida’
The second season of Starz’ half-hour drama is expanded to 10 episodes, up from the first season’s six, and in that time, series creator and showrunner Tanya Saracho says they have time to “go deeper” with characters and relationships, as well as introduce new ones. One such new character is portrayed by Raul Castillo, who will represent “hypermasculinity” in the world. “He comes to measure [Emma],” Saracho said. “In a way it’s like the neighborhood is measuring her: ‘No, you have changed.'” But not to be outdone, Emma (Mishel Prada) will measure him right back. “The women on the show are secure in their power and that’s something he’s not used to,” Saracho said. Additionally, the theme of the second season is “reconnection for the sisters — a rekindling of their relationship,” Saracho said. “They’re getting to know each other not just as people but also as business partners” as they try to make their bar profitable for their future and the future of their neighborhood.
Investigation Discovery will premiere a new six-episode true-crime series entitled “Deadly Recall” on Mar. 5 at 10 p.m. The series follows Det. Pat Postiglione, who has a photographic memory and more than 25 years of experiences as a Nashville homicide detective, and will recount his most “daunting” cases in the series, with each crime scene recreated based on police records and Postiglione’s memories. “Deadly Recall” is produced by Joke Prods., with Joke Fincioen, Biagio Messina and Jeff Kuntz serving as executive producers for the company. For ID, Tim Baney is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Kevin Bennett is general manager and Henry Schleiff is group president of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America.
Travel Channel Adds Three
Travel Channel announced three new series: “Portals to Hell,” “Mission Declassified” and “America Unearthed” Tuesday. “Portals to Hell,” premieres April 19 at 9 p.m. and features Jack Osbourne (who also executive produces) and paranormal researcher/investigator Katrina Weidman as they explore the dark histories of notoriously haunted locations. “Mission Declassified” premieres on March 24 at 10 p.m. and features investigative reporter Christof Putzel exploring history’s most legendary and notorious mysteries by decoding recently declassified documents. “America Unearthed,” which used to be at A&E, follows forensic geologist Scott Wolter as he utilizes artifacts and “strange finds” to prove that some of the history taught in schools is wrong. The new season of “America Unearthed” premieres Feb. 18.
Will Packer Teams Up with ID
Producer Will Packer is heading to Investigation Discovery with a three-hour special entitled “The Atlanta Child Murders.” The story dives into a 23-month period beginning in 1979 when 29 African-American children were killed and the local police scrambled to find the perpetrator — only to never confirm the guilty party, all these decades later. “The Atlanta Child Murders” is produced by Jupiter Ent. and Will Packer Media. Harrison Land, Mike Sheridan and Allison Wallach are executive producers for Jupiter, with Packer and Kelly Smith for Will Packer Media. For ID, Pamela Deutsch is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Kevin Bennett is general manager and Henry Schleiff is group president of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America.