Animal Planet

A major new factual series which explores the mysteries of evolution will be launched at MIPCOM later today (Wednesday October 6).

Life Force is a result of a multi-million dollar co-production partnership between NHK, NHNZ, France Télévisions, Science Channel and Animal Planet.  It is the third major series in which NHK and NHNZ have worked together.

In six one hour episodes, the series delves into the science and magic of evolution and unravels the mysteries of how and why the animals in six extraordinary environments have evolved to be so strange and unique.

What sets Life Force apart is a carefully crafted blend of genres.

Exceptional wildlife photography by world-class NHK and NHNZ crews is combined with cinematic-style narratives and cutting edge science to give viewers what NHNZ is calling “evolutionary drama”.

Some of the footage for this series is rare and unusual.  Through innovative use of equipment like color night vision, extreme slo-mo and time-lapse the series captures the behavior of some very uncommon and strange animals. 

NHNZ executive producer Andrew Waterworth says it took over two years to film this series and both Japanese and New Zealand crews generated an “incredible amount of material” to catch on video some of “the world’s most astonishing animals and their behavior”.

NHK executive producer Shinichi Murata is confident that Life Force has all the ingredients to be the next big ratings hit. “The series is remarkable, not only in content that reflects a fusion of genres, but in that it represents a true collaboration of stories and styles,” he says.

Kenichiro Takiguchi – NHK Head of Programming:

“I am excited about this series.  As a public broadcaster, we need to fulfil our viewers’ expectations by providing them with programs on a grand scale. There is especially a demand for excellent natural history programs, so NHK is always looking for documentaries presented in a new style that will have a big impact on a global scale. Life Force is expected to be one of our strongest series to respond to our viewers’ needs.”

Neil Harraway – NHNZ Executive Vice President: Marketing and Development:

“NHNZ is thrilled to partner with NHK on such a significant series. It’s a winning combination that will set new standards in story-telling. Life Force is natural history for the new millennium.   It was an exciting opportunity to collaborate with NHK’s expert filmmakers and pioneers in HD equipment such as low-light cameras and high-speed cameras.”

Caroline Béhar -France Télévisions Commissioning Editor:

 “It has been particularly exciting for France Télévisions to participate in this series, which renews the wildlife genre. In each programme we discover extraordinary animals and extraordinary types of behaviour, thanks to the teams’ unparalleled filming techniques. But the series achieves far more: each program transports us back in time on an evolutionary journey. We discover not only how specific creatures on our planet came to be as they are, but the very processes of evolution itself.”

Debbie Meyers – Science Channel General Manager:

 “We are delighted to once again partner with NHK and NHNZ to create this series. Their work is top quality and they are wonderful creative partners.  We are calling the series ‘Mutant Planet’ because we  think our viewers will appreciate this beautiful series that shows exotic, strange, and amazing ways  that life mutates to survive and thrive.

Rick Holzman – Animal Planet’s Senior Vice President Programming and Scheduling:

“It our absolute pleasure to collaborate with the best natural history filmmaking partners to bring viewers the most compelling, visually stunning and innovative natural history projects in the world. This series expands our continued effort to deliver beautiful, high definition wildlife stories from the natural world in a new way.”

 

Richard (Ric) O’Barry – lead activist of the Oscar®-winning film The Cove – and his son, filmmaker Lincoln O’Barry, are two men driven by a single passion to expose the plight of dolphins worldwide.

Now, continuing the journey that began in the Academy Award-winning film, Animal Planet presents the powerful three-part miniseries, BLOOD DOLPHINS, premiering Wednesday, October 6 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

From former dolphin trainer of the hit-series Flipper, to dolphin activist operating on the edge, Ric O’Barry continues on his redemptive mission to save dolphins at the peril of man. Along with his son, Ric returns to Taiji, Japan, the site of The Cove, and travels to the Solomon Islands, the nerve centre of dolphin slaughter and trade, to confront cultural, political and economic forces that affect the world’s dolphins.

Each operation is an uncharted journey into the heart of enemy territory. In BLOOD DOLPHINS, Ric and Lincoln encounter serious opposition, but setbacks, disappointment and struggle are not foreign to them – these obstacles do not stop them from continuing their mission. With the stakes always high, the operations sometimes frustrating and often dangerous, and the outcomes both heartbreaking and hopeful, no single mission will achieve final victory. But for Ric and Lincoln O’Barry, saving dolphins is a battle well worth fighting…one they are determined to win, no matter how long it takes. 

“Dolphins are highly intelligent, self-aware, complex creatures that should swim free without the threat of slaughter or captivity,” says Ric O’Barry. “The most important thing I can do…that my son can do…is show the world through projects like BLOOD DOLPHINS just how threatened dolphins are so we can all do something about it.”

Threatened by annual hunts, dolphins are slaughtered by the thousands each and every year. They are also victimized by a highly lucrative – at times cutthroat – captive trade, where a “prime specimen” can rake in up to $200,000 for the dolphin entertainment industry. Either scenario is a sad fate for one of the most remarkable, intelligent and loved creatures on the planet. 

“My father is more aware than anyone else of how extraordinary dolphins are,” says Lincoln O’Barry. “Having worked almost 50 years with dolphins as the trainer for the television-star Flipper, he has spent the last four decades trying to redeem himself for the mistake he made by working with the captive dolphin industry.”

 

Episode highlights for BLOOD DOLPHINS include:

 

BLOOD DOLPHINS – “Return to Taiji”

Wednesday, October 6 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

For years, Taiji, Japan concealed a dark secret – an annual six-month long dolphin hunt, where approximately 20,000 dolphins are brutally slaughtered in a tiny, hidden inlet known as “The Cove.” In 2009, the Oscar®-winning film, The Cove, exposed Taiji’s hunt to the world for the first time. Now, Ric and Lincoln O’Barry use the power of international outrage to attempt to stop dolphin hunting. And though the mission appears to work – the annual hunt is delayed and a covert swim to The Cove itself shows no preparations to resume the slaughter – a single phone call brings them rushing back. 

 

BLOOD DOLPHINS – “The Solomon Islands, Part 1”

Wednesday, October 13 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

In recent years, the Solomon Islands – a tiny nation in the South Pacific – has emerged as a major crossroads in the blood trade in wild dolphins. Dolphin dealing is legal here and has sparked a gold rush among poverty stricken indigenous tribes who have hunted dolphins for centuries. For Ric and Lincoln O’Barry, a mission to The Solomon Islands brings intrigue and danger, as well as high hopes. 

 

BLOOD DOLPHINS – “The Solomon Islands, Part 2”

Wednesday, October 20 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

Ric and Lincoln O’Barry’s mission to the Solomon Islands continues and is fully launched on two fronts. First, they must confirm the true intentions of dolphin dealer-turned-advocate Chris Porter. Secondly, they make inroads with the indigenous people still involved in dolphin hunting. 

 

ANIMAL PLANET – Saturday 26 December, from 8.30pm

This Boxing Day Animal Planet will allow viewers to sample a taste of our upcoming programming for 2010, with the first episode of new series included in this special.

Programs include:

Chimp Eden
Untamed and Uncut
The Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod

Sunday 15 November see’s the return of a very special annual event, World Khaki Day, also known as Steve Irwin Day, where we commemorate the extraordinary life of the one and only Crocodile Hunter. Animal Planet will celebrate by running a marathon of Steve Irwin series and documentaries from 11.30am on Sunday 15th November leading into the premiere of his documentary Secrets Of The Crocodile.

Secrets Of The Crocodile reveals Steve’s heroic attempts to shed light on the mysterious reptiles and reveal their most guarded secrets. He enters their world to try to curb people’s negative perception of the crocodile so they can see them as he does, one of the world’s most interesting creatures. Secrets Of The Crocodile will premiere at

Khaki Day was designed to represent the things Steve was so passionate about, family, wildlife and fun and Animal Planet is proud to be part of this.

KHAKI DAY MARATHON, Sunday 15 November from 10.30am

The Marathon includes…
10.30am: Bindi The Jungle Girl
11.30am: The Crocodile Hunter
3.30pm: Steve Irwin’s Great Escapes
5.30pm: My Daddy The Croc Hunter
6.30pm: Ocean’s Deadliest
7.30pm: Crikey! What An Adventure 
8.30pm: Secrets of the Crocodile

Thursdays from 12 March at 9.30pm on ANIMAL PLANET

New Zealand Premiere!

What if animals could testify to a crime? Thanks to dogged detective work and modern forensic science, they can! Animal Witness showcases the amazing stories of animals helping investigators and forensic scientists solve high-stakes criminal cases. Each case unfolds through the unique perspective of the animal involved, whether it’s a cat, dog, bird, deer or tiger. Keen-eyed detectives and scientists on the cutting edge of veterinary forensics will provide a voice for these powerful but all too often silent witnesses. The animals are ready to talk. Are we ready to listen?

Thursdays from 12 March at 9.30pm on ANIMAL PLANET

New Zealand Premiere!

What if animals could testify to a crime? Thanks to dogged detective work and modern forensic science, they can! Animal Witness showcases the amazing stories of animals helping investigators and forensic scientists solve high-stakes criminal cases. Each case unfolds through the unique perspective of the animal involved, whether it’s a cat, dog, bird, deer or tiger. Keen-eyed detectives and scientists on the cutting edge of veterinary forensics will provide a voice for these powerful but all too often silent witnesses. The animals are ready to talk. Are we ready to listen?

 

Sunday 8 March at 11.30am – 4.30pm on ANIMAL PLANET

Celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March!

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. Animal Planet will dive into mother nature as our female hosts, Natalie Portman, Lyndal Davies, Tanya Streeter, Saba Douglas-Hamilton and Charlotte Uhlenbroek show you the feminine perspective on wildlife and its conservation through an array of gripping programs. Programs include:

Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe|11.30am

Every year without fail, Jane Goodall returns to the chimpanzee research station she made famous in Gombe. This year a revolution has broken out as Frodo, the brutal and bullying leader, has been violently overthrown. Jane searches for the vanquished Frodo and describes the groundbreaking research, thoughts, beliefs and emotions she has invested in both wild chimpanzees and protecting primates worldwide.

Saving A Species: Gorillas on the BrinK|12.30pm

Actress Natalie Portman journeys deep into Rwanda’s rainforest in search of the rare mountain gorilla. World renowned animal expert Jack Hanna guides Natalie on her trek to learn more about this amazing endangered species.

Saba & The Rhino’s Secret| 1.30pm

Famously bad tempered, myopic and solitary, the black rhino has a dauntingly aggressive reputation. Misunderstood and impossible to study, the private life of rhinos has remained an enigma until now thanks to Saba Douglas-Hamilton who walks amongst the rhinos.

Diving with Whales| 2.30pm

World free-diving champion, Tanya Streeter, returns to her Caribbean home to spend two weeks on a quest for the experience of a lifetime: diving with humpback whales.

Lemurs of Madagascar| 3.00pm

Join Charlotte Uhlenbroek as she travels to immerse herself in the lives of a troop of ringtails, as they struggle through the dry season. With food scarce and tensions between rival troops high, dominant female Benzy and the rest of her troop must battle to raise their kids.

Moon Bears: Journey to Freedom| 3.30pm

In a remote province of China, 500 Asiatic black bears are being rescued from Sichuan’s torturous bear bile farms, their home for up to 20 years. Come on the dramatic journey of three special bears, from the moment they are cut free from their coffin-like cages, through to their final release into a protected wildlife sanctuary.

Kingdom of Elephants| 4.30pm

This Animal Planet special, filmed entirely on location in Southeast Asia explores the complex bond between elephants and the people of Thailand. It is an intimate tale of the Kingdom’s epic history – a history of war, love, friendship and strife, told from the perspective of a young female mahout in training.

Sunday 8 March at 11.30am – 4.30pm on ANIMAL PLANET

Celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March!

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. Animal Planet will dive into mother nature as our female hosts, Natalie Portman, Lyndal Davies, Tanya Streeter, Saba Douglas-Hamilton and Charlotte Uhlenbroek show you the feminine perspective on wildlife and its conservation through an array of gripping programs. Programs include:

Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe|11.30am

Every year without fail, Jane Goodall returns to the chimpanzee research station she made famous in Gombe. This year a revolution has broken out as Frodo, the brutal and bullying leader, has been violently overthrown. Jane searches for the vanquished Frodo and describes the groundbreaking research, thoughts, beliefs and emotions she has invested in both wild chimpanzees and protecting primates worldwide.

Saving A Species: Gorillas on the BrinK|12.30pm

Actress Natalie Portman journeys deep into Rwanda’s rainforest in search of the rare mountain gorilla. World renowned animal expert Jack Hanna guides Natalie on her trek to learn more about this amazing endangered species.

Saba & The Rhino’s Secret| 1.30pm

Famously bad tempered, myopic and solitary, the black rhino has a dauntingly aggressive reputation. Misunderstood and impossible to study, the private life of rhinos has remained an enigma until now thanks to Saba Douglas-Hamilton who walks amongst the rhinos.

Diving with Whales| 2.30pm

World free-diving champion, Tanya Streeter, returns to her Caribbean home to spend two weeks on a quest for the experience of a lifetime: diving with humpback whales.

Lemurs of Madagascar| 3.00pm

Join Charlotte Uhlenbroek as she travels to immerse herself in the lives of a troop of ringtails, as they struggle through the dry season. With food scarce and tensions between rival troops high, dominant female Benzy and the rest of her troop must battle to raise their kids.

Moon Bears: Journey to Freedom| 3.30pm

In a remote province of China, 500 Asiatic black bears are being rescued from Sichuan’s torturous bear bile farms, their home for up to 20 years. Come on the dramatic journey of three special bears, from the moment they are cut free from their coffin-like cages, through to their final release into a protected wildlife sanctuary.

Kingdom of Elephants| 4.30pm

This Animal Planet special, filmed entirely on location in Southeast Asia explores the complex bond between elephants and the people of Thailand. It is an intimate tale of the Kingdom’s epic history – a history of war, love, friendship and strife, told from the perspective of a young female mahout in training.

Sunday 8 March at 11.30am – 4.30pm on ANIMAL PLANET

Celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March!

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. Animal Planet will dive into mother nature as our female hosts, Natalie Portman, Lyndal Davies, Tanya Streeter, Saba Douglas-Hamilton and Charlotte Uhlenbroek show you the feminine perspective on wildlife and its conservation through an array of gripping programs. Programs include:

Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe|11.30am

Every year without fail, Jane Goodall returns to the chimpanzee research station she made famous in Gombe. This year a revolution has broken out as Frodo, the brutal and bullying leader, has been violently overthrown. Jane searches for the vanquished Frodo and describes the groundbreaking research, thoughts, beliefs and emotions she has invested in both wild chimpanzees and protecting primates worldwide.

Saving A Species: Gorillas on the BrinK|12.30pm

Actress Natalie Portman journeys deep into Rwanda’s rainforest in search of the rare mountain gorilla. World renowned animal expert Jack Hanna guides Natalie on her trek to learn more about this amazing endangered species.

Saba & The Rhino’s Secret| 1.30pm

Famously bad tempered, myopic and solitary, the black rhino has a dauntingly aggressive reputation. Misunderstood and impossible to study, the private life of rhinos has remained an enigma until now thanks to Saba Douglas-Hamilton who walks amongst the rhinos.

Diving with Whales| 2.30pm

World free-diving champion, Tanya Streeter, returns to her Caribbean home to spend two weeks on a quest for the experience of a lifetime: diving with humpback whales.

Lemurs of Madagascar| 3.00pm

Join Charlotte Uhlenbroek as she travels to immerse herself in the lives of a troop of ringtails, as they struggle through the dry season. With food scarce and tensions between rival troops high, dominant female Benzy and the rest of her troop must battle to raise their kids.

Moon Bears: Journey to Freedom| 3.30pm

In a remote province of China, 500 Asiatic black bears are being rescued from Sichuan’s torturous bear bile farms, their home for up to 20 years. Come on the dramatic journey of three special bears, from the moment they are cut free from their coffin-like cages, through to their final release into a protected wildlife sanctuary.

Kingdom of Elephants| 4.30pm

This Animal Planet special, filmed entirely on location in Southeast Asia explores the complex bond between elephants and the people of Thailand. It is an intimate tale of the Kingdom’s epic history – a history of war, love, friendship and strife, told from the perspective of a young female mahout in training.

ANIMAL PLANET – Sunday 28 December, 9.30pm

Dave Salmoni believes humans and lions can learn to live with each other, freely, safely and in the same territory. Now he’s going to risk his life to prove it. Follow Dave over three months as he spends time walking, unarmed, and ever deeper into a dangerous territory inhabited by a pride of wild lions. Dave is no ordinary zoologist as he’s also a big cat trainer and applies an extraordinary set of skills into opening communication with the pride of lions, as he enters Into the Lion’s Den.