Discovery International and Animal Planet Team Up for ‘Predators Up Close’ Series, Special (Exclusive)

Former Navy SEAL and scientists will live in a transparent pod among lions, hyenas, polar bears and sharks

Last Updated: March 31, 2015 @ 7:40 AM

Lions, hyenas, polars bears and sharks: Oh my!

Discovery Networks International and Animal Planet US are joining forces for a new wildlife adventure and natural history series “Predators Up Close,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

“Predators Up Close” teams former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert with various experts to go to remote locations to study the exotic animals. The project takes the team from the plains of Zambia and the frozen ice flows of Norway, to the treacherous waters off the coast of South Africa. Using a specially-built, safety-tested transparent pod (pictured above and below), Lambert and his comrades spend up to 24 hours living among the predators. Their state-of-the-art laboratory contains an array of scientific equipment to record and measure their behavior, senses and skills, as well as Lambert’s reaction to being the hunted rather than the hunter.

Dr. Martha Holmes and Plimsoll Productions began shooting the four-episode, 60-minute series last fall, and will wrap up this summer. An additional one-hour “making of” special will air this fall, along with the full series.

“This series is fascinating on many different levels and, together with Plimsoll Productions, we are looking to tell a natural history story that gives more depth, teeth and adrenaline than ever before,” said Helen Hawken, vice president of development and production.

“Joel has spent a lifetime learning about and perfecting the art of ambush, stalking prey and eluding capture, so he’s exactly the right talent for the task,” added Sarah Davies, who commissioned the series and is now a production executive at sister network Discovery Family US. “He’s been fascinated to see the parallels and differences between military tactics and those employed by nature’s most successful hunters. At the same time, he is part of the experiment as we study his physical and psychological reactions to each rare encounter.” 

Grant Mansfield joins Holmes as the executive producers for Plimsoll. “Predators Up Close” was commissioned for Discovery Networks International and Animal Planet U.S. by Sarah Davies (now with Discovery Family), with Hawken as executive producer and Rob Holloway as producer for Discovery Networks International and Krishna San Nicholas as producer for Animal Planet U.S.

Here’s what this crazy concept will look like:

Predators Up Close