By Sahil Patel
On the eve of Discovery’s TV upfront presentation to advertisers (takes place in New York on Thursday, April 3), the company’s Animal Planet is announcing a new slate of original series — made for the web, though designed to amplify the network’s linear fare.
In 2014, Animal Planet plans to roll out original web shows tied to eight TV series and specials, including “Finding Bigfoot,” “River Monsters,” “Treehouse Masters,” “My Cat from Hell,” and “Pit Bulls & Parolees.”
In the case of “Finding Bigfoot” and “Treehouse Masters,” Animal Planet is actually bringing a couple of web series back. “Finding Bigfoot: Rejected Evidence” and “Treehouse Masters: Behind the Build” generated 1 million streams each since debuting earlier this year, Animal Planet says, and will return with a new batch of episodes this summer.
Other returning shows include:
“Tanked Aftershow” catches-up with “Tanked” stars Wayde King and Brett Raymer and their ATM team, as they share behind-the-scenes stories about their lives and the aquarium projects they undertake in each episode of the TV show. The 10-episode series will debut new episodes every Friday, always following a new episode of “Tanked” on Animal Planet.
“How Do You Like Meow” continues the story of cats and cat owners featured in each episode of “My Cat from Hell.” In the web show, host Jackson Galaxy revisits each family featured in “My Cat from Hell” a few months after their original appearance to find out if their cats have truly reformed. “How Do You Like Meow” returns on April 26 with “more than 12 episodes.” (Jackson Galaxy also starred in a web series called “Cat Mojo with Jackson Galaxy” for the Discovery Digital Networks-owned Animalist, which premiered last December.)
“How to Catch a River Monster,” which returns April 6, is now in its fifth season on the web. The show follows “River Monsters” star Jeremy Wade as he reveals how he captures the creatures featured in Animal Planet’s most-watched TV series.
“Animal Planet fans feel a deep connection with our series and their stars, and our lineup of original web programming is produced with the goal of giving fans even more of what they love,” said Miguel Monteverde, VP of digital media at Discovery Communications, in a statement. “Whether it’s providing an update on the cats featured in “My Cat from Hell” or getting a VIP tour of the treehouses from each episode of “Treehouse Masters,” our web originals pick up the stories where the TV shows leave off and offer fans a richer, more complete programming experience.”
With that in mind, Animal Planet has a few more web-only shows in the works, tied to “Pit Bulls & Parolees,” “Too Cute,” “Puppy Bowl XI,” another one for “Treehouse Masters,” and another for “Finding Bigfoot.”
All of these shows will be available on AnimalPlanet.com as well as via the network’s digital syndication partners. In 2013, Animal Planet says its original online slate claimed more than 17 million streams across this distribution network.