Fall skeds released for MTV, Discovery, Comedy, OLN

The CTV-owned specialty nets announced new specials, shows and series for the fall 2007-08 season.

CTV followed its main upfront presentation in Toronto this week by announcing new fare for several of its specialty channels. Here’s a look at what’s coming up.

Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel’s fall sked includes 15 new specials and series (nine are Canadian productions), along with 15 returning shows. Among the new specials is the most ambitious project in the net’s history – a month-long, multi-platform, high-budget exploration of the red planet in the much-hyped Race to Mars (pictured), a four-hour expedition series, and Mars Rising, a six-hour companion documentary series (click here for MiC‘s March 6 coverage of the Mars programming). The Mars programming also includes Phoenix Odyssey, a one-hour special chronicling the against-the-odds construction and launch of the newest Mars lander, set to air in late summer, and Mars Week on Daily Planet, a week themed around Earth’s nearest planetary neighbour, which includes exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from Race to Mars.

New series and specials include: Against All Odds (working title), a six-part series that explores how the human body can defy physical laws and survive the most dangerous events using science and physiology; The Real Superhumans, a one-hour special about real people with extraordinary powers, including a woman who can ‘taste’ music and a master painter born without eyes; and Real Vampires, a two-hour special that follows archaeologist Timothy Taylor and anthropologist Kathryn Denning on a global search to discover the origins of the vampire myth.

Then there’s Man Vs. Wild, a two-part special that follows adventurer Bear Grylls to popular destinations where tourists often find themselves lost or in danger; Pacific Wreck Abyss, a special presentation about the exploration of the Truk Lagoon, a watery graveyard for 5,000 men who died in shipwrecks and sunken fighter planes; Crash Test, a six-part series that takes viewers through the process of crash-testing planes, trains, cars, trucks, buildings and bridges; Ten Ways to Save the Planet, a series slated for 2008 that aims to find innovative solutions to Earth’s most serious environmental threats – from wrapping glaciers in thermal blankets to painting towns white to reflect the sun; Antarctica: The Inner Landscape, a feature-length doc by Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) about the southern pole’s geology and evolution; and Out in the Cold, a series about a handful of individuals who live in the Arctic.

Also coming are Jetstream, an eight-part series about an elite jet-fighter training school in Cold Lake, Alberta, set to air in winter 2008; In the Shadow of the Moon, a look at the early days of the space race to the moon, which won the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance and screened at the 2007 Hot Docs festival in Toronto, set to air in winter 2008; and The Science of Interrogation, which delves into the lives of human lie detectors who use finely tuned skills and new technology to extract the truth from crime suspects. Returning shows include Canada’s Worst Driver 3 (fall), Daily Planet, MegaWorld (special), Deadliest Catch (fall), Dirty Jobs (fall), MythBusters, Future Weapons, How It’s Made, What’s That About? (winter), Guinea Pig, Mayday (winter), MegaBuilders (2008), Mean Machines (season three, 2008), A Haunting (fall), and American Chopper. The Discovery Broadband Big Live Events programming plans for the fall include: Canadian in Space, a live shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams on board; Spot the Space Station, an event that will include a live chat with astronauts; and Track Mars Live, which will document Mars’ closest pass by Earth in recent years this fall.

MTV Canada

MTV Canada will introduce nine new series, and the net’s fall sked will see the return of 14 shows – with some hitting the air and others launching exclusively on broadband and mobile. New series include: Crank Yankers (exclusively on broadband), a show in which puppets dramatize prank calls with the voices of Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes and Dave Chappelle; Date My Playlist (on broadband and mobile), an eight-episode Canadian-produced dating series launched by MTV with candy-maker Maynards, in which contestants choose dates based on their MTV.ca playlists; Human Giant (exclusively on broadband), a short film comedy series that stays true to the user-generated video style; Kentucky Kid, about the life of pro motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden; Made (Canadian version, supplemented with Life After Made follow-up episodes), a followup to the two summer shows that made a hip-hop dancer and a pop singer of two Canadians; Me & Mr. Jones, a half-hour documentary series following hip-hop stars Nas and Kelis on the road; Show Choir, a half-hour series about a four-part harmony choir that competes against other schools but always seems to come in second until they modernize with new costumes and choreography; The Stew (broadband and mobile), a channel backed by Coors Light that showcases coverage of Coors Light events and random clips of male-dominated adrenaline and jokester-driven video; and The X Effect, a show comprised of surprise reunions, bringing exes together again along with their current significant others, at a romantic resort. MTV Canada’s returning shows include: The Andy Milonakis Show (exclusively on broadband), Cribs, Diary, e2, Engaged and Underage, The Hills (including The Hills After Show), Next, The Real World: Sydney, Scarred, MTV Screen, Super Sweet 16, Pimp My Ride and MTV Live.

The Comedy Network

The Comedy Network will debut four new series, including: The Jon Dore Show, a 13-episode half-hour original series hosted by comedian Dore; American Body Shop, a 10-episode series about a twice-divorced body shop owner and the grease monkeys who work for him; Live at Gotham, a smorgasbord of new stand-up comedy served from the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City; and Man Stroke Woman, a six-ep sketch comedy show about relationships, friendship, work and everyday life produced by Ash Atalla (The Office, UK Edition). New acquired specials include: Axis of Evil, which puts Mid-Eastern stand-up comics Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader and Maz Jobrani to work bridging the cultural gap; Kathy Griffin: Everyone Can Suck It, a stand-up special; and Legends: Rodney Dangerfield.

The net’s returning series and specials are Corner Gas, Comedy Inc., Comedy Now!, Celebrity Deathmatch, The Sarah Silverman Program, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, South Park (uncensored), The Simpsons, Mind of Mencia, Suburban Shootout, The Simple Life Goes to Camp, Cream of Comedy and Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off.


OLN announced six new series and two new specials, including: Chasers, a 13-part series that follows the lives of tow truck drivers around the globe; Odyssey Drive Around the World, a 12-part series about seven strangers driving around the world for nearly two years; Bull Run: Cops, Cars and Superstars, a 31-part series which follows a hundred beefed-up cars in an eight-day rolling party across the US with celeb appearances by Dennis Rodman, Ashley Hames, Paris Hilton and Canada’s Hayden Christensen; Word Travels, a 13-part series about two top travel writers who battle it out for the best story on the road; Excellent Adventures, a six-part series featuring a celeb who grabs a friend (Minnie Driver, for example) and takes off for the expedition of their dreams; and Departures, about best buds Scott and Justin who visit exotic destinations. A Map for Saturday is a new special following Emmy Award-winning producer Brook Silva-Braga as he leaves his cushy job with American TV Network HBO to backpack around the world. The special Forgotten Island will take viewers on a journey to the island of Socotra, often referred to as the Island of the Phoenix.

Returning shows include Survivorman, The Amazing Race, Pilot Guides, Ed’s Up, Angry Planet, Mantracker, The Rig: Oil Sands, Crash Addicts and Road Hockey Rumble. Special event programming includes the 2007 Professional Bull Riding World Finals, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Tour De France, Dakar Rally and the 2007 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.