“Big Cat Diary” fans, your (very long) suffering is over. Animal Planet has ordered a follow-up to the 1999 series, TheWrap has learned exclusively, and it’s tentatively (and appropriately) titled “Big Cat Legacy.”
Original pioneers Jonathan Scott (no, not that Jonathan Scott, who interestingly enough is now also under Discovery, Inc.’s umbrella), Angela Scott and Jackson ole Looseyia will be back embedded among the Marsh Pride — as well as other lions, leopards and cheetahs in Kenya — when “Big Cat Legacy” premieres in October. This time around, they’ve got 4K resolution and other cool new production technologies and techniques that weren’t available for “Diary’s” decade.
“Big Cat Legacy” will document the present-day prides and families of the big cats of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya — the fights, the cuddling, and the adorable cubs growing up into adulthood. Some of these lions, cheetahs and leopards have been documented for decades — including on the classic “Big Cat Diary,” which aired on Animal Planet until 2009.
The official announcement of “Big Cat Legacy” is expected to take place Thursday afternoon at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, which is housed inside the Beverly Hilton.
“This is a gripping and important series by some of our best natural history storytellers,” Susanna Dinnage, global president of Animal Planet, told TheWrap. “I am thrilled to share the wonder of the lives of Africa’s charismatic and magnificent big cats with our audiences around the world. We welcome Jonathan, Angela and Jackson back to Animal Planet with open arms.”
“We wanted to reveal the joys and hardships of what it means to be a big cat in all its vital rawness and honesty, and to explore the vital role the Masai people play in their story,” said Jonathan Scott. “It is our duty to ensure that the roar of the mighty lion continues to echo across the African savannah, inspiring the next generation of conservationists long after we have disappeared from this world. Animal Planet is the perfect home for ‘Big Cat Legacy;’ they are as passionate about big cats as we are and they reach a global audience. Having our great friend Jackson ole Looseyia with us on this journey was pivotal to the success of this venture, and we all knew that for this to be a success we needed to ensure the highest production values as well as the integrity of our stories; Abraham and his team at Untitled Film Works brought an energy and creativity that made it a privilege to work with them. By revealing the wonder and fascination of the lives of Africa’s charismatic/magnificent big cats, we can help to ensure their future.”
“The depth of knowledge that our wonderful presenters possess meant that we were able to record some remarkable big cat behavior, from the rarely observed bonding between mother leopard and cubs to dramatic male impala hunting sequences,” added Joffe. “What makes this series so special is that these individual big cats have a known history going back decades. Their documented legacy brings to the screen a deeper level of connection only made possible by a lifetime spent in the field by Jonathan, Angela and Jackson.”
“Big Cat Legacy” is produced for Animal Planet by Untitled Film Works, and is directed by Abraham Joffe ACS.