Ricky Gervais and his "Idiot Abroad" cohorts are developing a new show for Discovery Science — but aren't saying what it is yet. James Woods, meanwhile, will appear in a new Science show about scientific breakthroughs.
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The network's new slate, unveiled Thursday, also includes the "Whale Wars"-inspired "Rhino Wars," about battling rhino poachers, a show about military dogs, and a show about people planning for the coming zombie apocalypse.
In other Discovery announcements, the company's upscale men's network, Velocity, plans "Road to LeMans," which follows "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey as he leads an auto racing team cometing in the world’s oldest automotive endurance race.
Science showed a promo for the Gervais show at its upfront presentation to advertisers Thursday, but it didn't provide any hints about the nature of the show. It consisted of Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington sitting in chairs, revealing nothing. "An Idiot Abroad," which finds Pilkington getting into misadventures around the world, has aired for two seasons on Science.
James Woods appeared live at the upfront and asked the question he knew many in the audience were asking — "What am I doing here?"
Noting that he had worked with such greats as Martin Scorsese, he explained that he had also attended MIT, and still nurtured an interest in science. His new show for the network is called "This Changes Everything." It will examine fields including synthetic biology, predictive analytics, habitable planets, and nanotechnology. It will air in the first quarter of 2013.
The zombie show, "Surviving Zombies," is about three Missoula, Mont., men who operate a blade-making business, Zombie Tools, where they craft weapons that might one day save you from biters, walkers, or whatever the kids are calling them these days.
Here are descriptions of Science's upcoming shows, from the network:
ODD FOLKS HOME
Ever wonder about what the homes of clientele seen on ODDITIES must look like? Follow everyone’s favorite Obscura regular, Edgar, as he explores the humble abodes of some of the store’s most bizarre customers.
PUNKIN CHUNKIN 2012
Each year, 120 teams of backyard engineers converge in Bridgeville, Del., for the annual Punkin Chunkin World Championships. These competitors unleash their homebuilt air cannons, trebuchets, catapults, human-powered, centrifugal and torsion machines and take aim at the coveted title of world’s farthest chunk.
HOW DO THEY DO IT? SEASON 6
Do you ever wonder how they brew beer, recycle airplanes or rescue submarines? Or how about how people work in 600-degree heat, find and defuse bombs, or make Swiss cheese? This series shows you how all of that is done and more.
HOW ITS MADE: SEASON 11
Have you ever wondered how things are made? From adhesive bandages to contact lenses, find out how many of the things we use every day become what they are.
From the wild mountain town of Missoula, Mont., deep in an industrial complex of warehouses and garages, three buddies and sword-fighting aficionados are on a quest. They’re dedicated to surviving a future world dominated by the living dead… zombies. “Zorro,” Joey and Chris own and operate a blade-making business, Zombie Tools, crafting hard-core swords, machetes and throwing knives for ultimate flesh-slashing, living dead destruction. If you’re prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you’re prepared for anything.
HOUSE OF TORMENT
HOUSE OF TORMENTis a frighteningly fun ride through the country’s biggest, scariest and most innovative haunted house, located in the cool mecca of Austin, Texas. In this one-hour Halloween special, viewers will get an inside look at the ingenuity and creativity that drives the colorful cast of ghouls, not to mention carpenters, electricians, painters and artists who, every year, build a new and horrifying experience guaranteed to terrify thousands of visitors.
HORIZON: TRANSIT OF VENUS
At 23:50 Greenwich Mean Time on June 5, 2012, a rare astronomical event called the Transit of Venus will take place in our solar system. It will not occur again in our lifetimes, or in the lifetimes of our children or even our grandchildren. It won’t occur again for another 150 years. But this event is far more than just a historical curiosity. It has enabled us to answer some of the most profound questions we can ask about life on our planet and about the far reaches of outer space. Three expert female presenters bring a unique and fresh perspective to this incredible story.
HORIZON: NASA’S MISSION TO MARS
NASA’s Curiosity Rover is the biggest and most powerful ever launched. It is a mobile lab, packed with diverse scientific equipment, intended to answer the big question: Is Mars a suitable environment for life? HORIZON tells the story of this unique journey of scientific discovery, which could change the way we think about the iconic red planet. NASA’s previous research has already revealed that this frozen desert world of towering volcanoes and polar ice caps bears more resemblance to Earth than we’d ever thought possible.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Every episode of THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING will look at one idea or discovery that will critically alter life as we know it: Synthetic Biology, Predictive Analytics, Habitable Planets, Nano Technology. What’s happening in these game-changing fields? What does it mean for us? SCIENCE and critically acclaimed actor James Woods take viewers on a journey to reveal these world-changing breakthroughs and their implications for the future. Woods will ask the big questions, ignite debate and reveal a stunning image of the future.
Are We Alone? Monthlong stunt
SCIENCE, in partnership with SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), asks the question, are we alone in the universe? Through a collection of themed specials, we explore this question with some of the brightest minds in this field today. How likely is it that there is other life out there, and what are the implications if there is?
HOW THE EARTH WORKS
Hosts Liz Bonin and Martin Pepper set out on explorations of some of the most provocative questions facing earth science today. They’ll get down and dirty to find out how geologic events in Hawaii could wipe out LA. Could another volcanic eruption in Iceland shut down our airways? Could the continued growth of Mt. Everest start World War III? In their search for answers, they’ll reveal how the Earth works.
This dissection spectacular takes anatomy to the micro-level. Our team strips back the exoskeleton to reveal how insects work—and discover the hidden blueprint behind their global domination. With more than a million named species surviving the rigors of over 400 million years of evolution, insects are the supreme innovators of the animal world. We reveal what makes bugs tick, and demonstrate how science is now using the extraordinary findings from the insect testing ground to inspire technology that is transforming our world.
ODDITIES: SEASON 4
For more than a decade, the East Village’s iconic Obscura Antiques & Oddities shop has been New York City’s foremost destination for one-of-a-kind, bizarre—and often shocking—artifacts. Now the subject of SCIENCE’s hit series ODDITIES, the Big Apple’s epicenter of the eccentric brings even weirder, more bizarre sales to screen from the East Coast’s Mecca of the Macabre.
STRIP THE CITY
STRIP THE CITYuses stunning CGI animation and expedition-driven actuality to strip major cities naked of their steel, concrete, air, ocean and bedrock—layer by layer, act by act—to explore their hidden infrastructure and solve key mysteries surrounding their origins, geology, archaeology, industry, weather and engineering. Each episode will home in on six iconic features of each city. Each icon, ranging from man-made skyscrapers and metro systems to natural dunes and lakes, will take us a layer deeper into the city.
No longer limited to conventional laboratories, science is taking to the streets, backyards and parks as amateur and professional scientists around the world are conducting extraordinary experiments and posting their exploits on YouTube. Scientists are now trying to improve on experiments they see posted online, and competing with other backyard scientists to go bigger, bolder and better. THE EXPERIMENTERS will delve into this fascinating world, finding and celebrating amazing online clips and explaining the wonderful science behind them.
Dig below the surface of the world we know and love and you’ll find it is often a weird place, with gruesome discoveries, freaky experiments and shocking stories. In this series, viewers are not only shown the weirdest stuff but will be given the lowdown on exactly why it’s weird. Using a combination of real footage, reconstruction and eyewitness reports, this series will examine some of the world’s strangest things and uncover the real stories behind them.
STORY OF THE CONTINENTS
Across the Earth, there are traces of a mysterious, long-lost world. In this four-part series featuring some of the world’s foremost experts in palaeogeography, botany and zoology, viewers follow a trail of clues through a land that no longer exists—the long-lost supercontinent of Pangaea. Our trail follows the clues from north to south across Pangaea, but also across all seven of today’s continents, piecing together 250 million years of planetary history.
WHAT IS THAT?
The addictive show that leaves viewers guessing just what they’re watching. Each half-hour episode includes five stand-alone segments that use specialty cameras and innovative filming techniques to capture incredible and curiosity-piquing images.
Sometimes they come at night, sometimes by day. They eat, they kill and they lay waste to the land. They are not from here. They’re not even human. Sounds like the plot of an old horror film? In many ways, it is. In a science and wildlife collection, we will look at these fascinating animals in order to understand the causes behind the transformation of these creatures, how they modify their behavior and social organization, leading to their domination of newly colonized territories and endangering native species.
LARGE DANGEROUS ROCKET SHIPS 2012
Argonia, Kan., hosts the 2012 Large Dangerous Rocket Competition, drawing competitors and fans from around the country. Mythbuster Kari Byron (TBD) takes viewers up close as competitors compete in the Odd Rocket and Fastest to 10,000 Feet competitions. What began in 1981 as a small gathering among like-minded friends has grown into a major event for rocket enthusiasts of all ages. This fast-paced, explosive, one-hour special will show you rockets like you’ve never seen them before.