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Discovery boss vows change: No more anaconda stunts, fake sharks


Under Discovery Channel’s new regime, fake shark movies and man-eating anaconda stunts are out.

In an apparent response to viewer dismay over ratings-grabbing stunts that went against Discovery’s science-and-nature brand, the cable channel’s new president, Rich Ross, said he will avoid such content under his leadership.

Appearing at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Pasadena on Thursday, Ross was first asked about bogus nature documentaries, like last year’s Shark Week movie Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives – a fictional film about a “serial killer of the seas” disguised as a legitimate documentary. The project was slammed by fans of the annual programming stunt and is part of a line of programs that includes Discovery sister channel Animal Planet’s notorious mermaid films.

“I don’t think it’s actually right for Discovery Channel,” said Ross, the former CEO of Shine America, when asked about the film. “And it’s [a type of programming] that I think in some ways has run its course. I don’t think you’ll be sitting with me here next year asking me a question about something I put onwhether a series or a specialwhere that’s the dilemma. They’ve done very well, many of them, but it’s not something that’s right for us … if something [has been previously ordered], it’s probably still coming. But I’m telling you where I am and how I feel moving forward.”  READ FULL STORY

Discovery Life Channel greenlights 'Those Girls,' a docu-series about transgender friends

The Discovery Life Channel, which was formerly known by not many people as Discovery Fit & Health, has greenlit Those Girls, a docu-series focusing on the lives and relationships of a group of transgender friends living in Kansas City, Mo.


See 'Survivor' contestant get 'Naked and 'Afraid'


Apparently deciding that one stint out in the wild was not enough, a former Survivor contestant has returned to rough it out in the elements, but he forgot one thing: his clothes. That’s right, a former Survivor player will be appearing on this Sunday’s episode of Naked & Afraid on Discovery at 10pm. Who’s the adventurous chap of which we speak? READ FULL STORY

Discovery cancels 'Sons of Guns' in wake of star's rape charge

Discovery has canceled Sons of Guns in the wake of its star Will Hayden being charged with the rape of a child, EW has confirmed.

Hayden was first arrested earlier this month for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl. After being released on bail, he was arrested again on Tuesday and charged with aggravated rape.


Are orcas killing great whites by turning them into 'Zombie Sharks'?

Loyal Shark Week viewers have, in years past, seen reef sharks turn upside down and go near catatonic. It’s a state known as “tonic immobility,” and while the sharks appear to enjoy it, it also renders them unable to defend themselves. In the new special Zombie Sharks (premiering Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery), professional diver Eli Martinez sets out to determine whether great whites can, like their reef brethren, also achieve tonic. If so, it could help support one theory about a recent spike in orca attacks on white sharks: killer whales may have learned how to induce the state. Since there’s nothing not interesting about the idea of zombie sharks, we talked with Martinez about the phenomenon and his show.


Shark Week: Inside 'Jaws Strikes Back'


In the Shark Week special Jaws Strikes Back (premiering Aug. 11, at 9 p.m. ET. on Discovery), marine biologist Greg Skomal takes the sharkcam, which allows him to track a great white at depths of 300 feet, to the remote Pacific island of Guadalupe. His team had two objectives: “We wanted to test the new tool, sharkcam—the drone if you will—in a place where we could really run it through the riggers of following sharks and where we had good visibility,” he says.

They also wanted to solve a mystery: “Whenever you have white sharks and seals together, usually you see white sharks attack and eat the seals. Certainly Discovery Channel has covered that extensively on Shark Week numerous times. But Guadalupe is a place where you just typically do not see that kind of behavior. We’re wondering: there’s seals there, there’s sharks there, what is going on? Where are these attacks occurring? Or maybe they’re not occurring at all….How do white sharks behave around Guadalupe Island after they leave the boats that are chumming them in? Are they going and attacking seals at night? Are they doing things at depths? Or are they just going away and ignoring them? Those were the questions we had.”


'Deadliest Catch' season finale: The Cornelia Marie returns! -- VIDEO

It was an emotional Deadliest Catch season finale last night, as two members of the Time Bandit crew prepared to move on: Mike Fourtner, the consummate deckhand and quote machine, got teary-eyed telling the camera he’s retiring because he wants to be known as a good husband and father rather than “Mike from the Time Bandit.” And the Hillstrand Brothers informed Josh Harris, eldest son of the late Capt. Phil Harris, that he won’t have a job on their deck next season because they wanted to give Josh a final push to make the leap fans have long been rooting for: It’s time for him to get his father’s old boat, the Cornelia Marie, back.

Watch the clip below, and tear up as producers cut from son to father to son as Josh quotes Phil: “My dad always said, ‘There’s three types of people in the world: There’s people that watch stuff happen, there’s people that make things happen, or you can wonder what the hell happened.'” As Josh says, “I’m gonna make something’ happen. I won’t fail because I know I have to do it. That’s just all there is to it. It’s a huge, huge moment, a huge move for me. Puttin’ it all on blue. Cornelia Marie blue.” READ FULL STORY

'Deadliest Catch' season finale preview: There will be blood -- VIDEO


Deadliest Catch‘s ninth season comes to an end Tuesday (Discovery, 9 p.m. ET) with a two-hour episode that pits brother versus brother, man versus mother nature, and viewers’ will to watch every moment versus the urge to look away when a greenhorn* suffers a serious hand injury that prompts a “This program contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing” warning.

Also, Jake Anderson is probably going to make you tear up (again). Watch an exclusive preview below. READ FULL STORY

Shark Week promo: There's a reason it's not called Seal Week -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO


Discovery doesn’t kick off its 26th annual Shark Week until Aug. 4, but we have your first look at the promo now. We think you can tell from the picture where this is headed… READ FULL STORY

Discovery's 'North America': How you film brawling bison -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP


On Sunday, Discovery wraps its North America series with two final installments: North America: Revealed, the making-of hour, at 9 p.m. ET, followed by North America: Top 10, a countdown of viewers’ top destinations on the continent as voted on Facebook. As fans of these kind of Discovery series know, the behind-the-scenes installment is always the most fascinating because you’re watching both the animal behavior or natural phenomenon and what the crews went through to capture it. In the case of North America, that involved visiting eight countries and nearly 30 U.S. states for more than 2,800 days in the field, going head-to-head with Hurricane Irene, and, as you’ll see in our exclusive clip below, using an ATV to film — and flee — brawling bison. READ FULL STORY

Discovery's 'North America': Don't piss off a woodpecker -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

Last Sunday, Discovery’s latest seven-part series North America debuted to 3.4 million viewers, making it the night’s second-highest rated cable show behind Game of Thrones). If it’s battles you want to see, narrator Tom Selleck talks you through a few in the next hour, “Learn Young or Die” (May 26, 9 p.m. ET), including one between an OCD woodpecker and a hungry squirrel. Watch it below. READ FULL STORY

'MythBusters' takes on 'Deadliest Catch' chaos -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

This week’s episode of MythBusters (Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET) keeps it in the Discovery family with a “Deadliest Catch Crabtastic Special.” Captains Johnathan and Junior join in the fun as Jamie and Adam test the deadliest Catch myth of all — that getting your foot caught in the rope at the rail guarantees you’re going overboard. Tory and Kari, meanwhile, test whether a pattern of power naps lets you function twice as well as no sleep at all. (They make that look pretty dangerous, too.) And the team determines whether a crab pot really is indestructible. (Cue the explosion!) Watch an exclusive tease below. READ FULL STORY

'Deadliest Catch' season preview: Exec producer says winter is coming again, but no medevac

Tonight, Deadliest Catch returns for its ninth season on Discovery, and there is top-notch drama even before the fleet leaves Dutch Harbor. Here, courtesy of exec producer David Pritikin, is a tease of what’s to come.

• Elliott Neese is now his own boss: Fired from the Ramblin’ Rose in the offseason, the show’s youngest and most polarizing captain has gone more than $1 million in debt to buy his own boat, the F/V Saga. Most shocking perhaps: Seeing the pride in his father’s misty eyes may, at least for a moment, have you thinking you’ve misjudged Elliott. “People love him or they love to hate him. I think this is truly his redemption year,” Pritikin says. “You find yourself kinda getting what his angst is all about this season. Seeing him with his father, who’s working on deck, is a great story for Elliott.” But, Pritikin warns, “He goes through the season not without his problems. His boat is aptly named for him this season — the Saga.”  READ FULL STORY


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