Discovery rings in New Year with magic and cringe factors

The net's new offerings will include a popular magician filling late night Saturdays and a couple of nearly-newlyweds pushing the limits of pain - a great bet for the most unpopular day of the week, Mondays.

Discovery Channel is betting on magic and human guinea pigs in laying out its plans for bringing in the eyeballs in the New Year.

Criss Angel Mindfreak takes an innovative approach to the art of magic in Discovery’s Saturday night 10 and 10:30 pm ET/PT timeslot. Dubbed ‘the new Houdini,’ Angel is Discovery’s bet for bringing in audiences with mind-boggling tricks and celebrity appearances and participation. The crew goes behind the scenes to show how the illusionist researches and executes his demonstrations.

Guinea Pig, premiering Monday, Jan. 8 at 9 pm ET/11 pm PT, follows Ryan Stock (joined by his fiancée, Amber Lynn Walker), an extreme circus performer known for sword-swallowing, nasal drilling and fire eating. Guinea Pig, however, puts the don’t-try-this-at-home expert’s skills to the test in the name of science, enduring experiments with non-lethal weapons, animal bites or stings, wind and protective suits. Instead of using facts and figures to explain G-force, he screams through the clouds upside-down in a fighter jet.

The net will also ring in 2007 with new episodes of returning series, such as Dirty Jobs (Mondays at 10 pm ET/PT, Jan. 1), How It’s Made (Tuesdays at 8 pm ET/11 pm PT, Jan. 2), Biker Build-Off (Thursdays at 8 pm ET/10 pm PT, Jan. 4), and A Haunting (Fridays at 10 pm ET/12 midnight PT, Jan. 5).