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New Discovery Special Examines Pluto’s 2006 Demotion From Planet Status (Exclusive)

Special titled ”#TeamPluto“ premieres Feb. 18

Discovery has ordered a mini-documentary special on the dwarf planet Pluto that will take a closer look at the controversy surrounding the former planet and why it was demoted to dwarf status in 2006, TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Called “#TeamPluto,” the special premieres Feb. 18 on the 90th anniversary of the day Pluto was first discovered in 1930.

The special will follow YouTube star and TV host Nick Uhas and his team of astronomers, scientists and historians on their quest to understand what happened to Pluto.

The special will answer questions regarding what led to its abrupt reclassification in 2006, why it was stripped of its planetary standing, and whether it could ever be reinstated to its former glory. It will also do a deep-dive into the scientific and social importance of the dwarf planet, as well as its strange history over the last 90 years that humans have been aware of its existence.

“Pluto’s upcoming 90th anniversary is the perfect time to dig in and tell the true story of this often misunderstood planet,” said Scott Lewers, executive vice president of multi-platform programming at Discovery Factual and head of content Science. “At its core, Discovery’s mission is to further and better our understanding of science, exploration, and the human condition through storytelling, and in this special program, Pluto will receive our full attention.”

As part of Discovery’s partnership with Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, viewers will also get access to the place where Tombaugh first discovered Pluto all those years ago.

“We are honored to partner with Discovery on this special program that celebrates Pluto and its discovery at Lowell Observatory 90 years ago,” said Danielle Adams, Lowell Observatory’s deputy director for marketing & communications. “From the search for Planet X that was initiated by Percival Lowell to current research from the New Horizons spacecraft that flew by Pluto in 2015, viewers will get an inside look at the processes that lead to scientific discovery.”

Viewers can also vote in an official poll on Discovery’s Facebook page as to whether or not they think Pluto is a planet.

“#TeamPluto” is produced for Discovery Channel by Discovery Studios. Sandy Jarrell and Suzanne Rauscher are executive producers. Brian Leff is showrunner and co-executive producer. Scott Lewers, Kristen Variola, and Christina Bavetta executive produce for Discovery Channel while Joe Mazzeo serves as coordinating producer.

“#TeamPluto” premieres February 18th at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery and Discovery Go. The mini-documentary will premiere on Science Channel and Science Go on Feb. 22.