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[01/13/05 - 12:00 AM]
Discovery Channel Celebrates 20th Anniversary Year with Specials That Honor Our History and Embrace Our Future

[via press release from Discovery]

Discovery Channel Celebrates 20th Anniversary Year with Specials that Honor our History and Embrace our Future

- A Dozen Specials, to be Telecast Throughout 2005, Search for the Greatest American, Visit the Titanic Expedition with James Cameron and Take Off for a Virtual Mission to an Alien Planet -

SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 13 -- For 2005, the Discovery Channel reveals an ambitious slate of specials that will showcase the network's signature themes and topics of history, nature, technology, adventure, investigation and exploration to mark its 20th anniversary. Program highlights include an expedition into the shipwrecked Titanic with Oscar-winning director James Cameron, outerspace missions to an alien planet and into the heart of a comet, specials on Khans and cavemen, a MONSTER HOUSE special edition and -- with the nation's input -- a search to name the greatest American of all time.

From far-away lands to the bottom of the ocean and into outer space, these specials continue the Discovery Channel's commitment to creating programming only Discovery can. While some programs revisit timeless Discovery themes, others embrace the spirit of Discovery in bold new ways, using scripted drama, cutting-edge technology and engaging personalities to help viewers explore their world.

According to Jane Root, executive vice president and general manager of the Discovery Channel, "These 20th anniversary specials seek to honor our commitment to the idea of discovery and the power of storytelling represented in our programs about nature, history, science, exploration and innovation. These are all part of our quest to teach, inspire, entertain, captivate and connect people around the world.

In that spirit, the roster of Discovery Channel's 20th anniversary specials includes the following:

* A two-hour special edition MONSTER DISCOVERY HOUSE on Monday, January 31, 8-10 PM (ET/PT), taps 10 all-star builders for a marathon seven-day session and three times the typical Monster build for a makeover of epic proportions. A Southern California fraternity house embraces a Discovery- influenced atmosphere with a Renaissance-inspired living room, a Gear Head kitchen complete with a chopped-off Porsche 911 for cabinetry, a Spanish galleon lounge, an enormous T-Rex fossil-enclosed barbecue pit and a Greek theater stage.

* CARRIER: ARSENAL OF THE SEA, a one-hour documentary on Sunday, February 13, 9-10 PM (ET/PT), tracks the eight-week voyage of the newly christened warship, the USS Reagan, as it sails from its building point in Norfolk, Va., to its home port of San Diego. Delving into the high tech weaponry and fighter planes aboard the enormous nuclear-powered vessel, the special follows its 20,000-mile route as a fresh crew gains its sea legs and faces a perilous passage through the Straits of Magellan.

* GENGHIS KHAN: RISE OF THE CONQUEROR premieres Sunday, March 20, 9-10 PM (ET/PT) and traces the life and times of the brilliant 13th century military strategist who rose from being the outcast son of a minor warlord to building the largest empire ever, stretching across two continents. Genghis employed military tactics that were still being used in the 20th century.

* Stunning footage of undersea exploration and cutting-edge enactments of another time bring new revelations about Genghis Khan's grandson and the military catastrophe that prompted the demise of his reign in KHUBLA KHAN: FALL OF THE MONGOL HORDES on Sunday, March 20, 10-11 PM (ET/PT). Khubla's quest to keep pace with his grandfather Genghis' rule became a torturous exercise as he launched a sea campaign to take over Japan, an obsession that decimated a gargantuan fleet of 4,400 ships and cost more than 100,000 lives.

* The one-hour special SUBMARINE: HIDDEN HUNTER, on Sunday, April 17, 9-10 PM (ET/PT), heads deep into top-secret territory with an engrossing profile of the new Virginia Class vessel, which represents a quantum leap forward in submarine design. Downloading the details, intricacies and specialties of the sub's high-tech design and impressive systems, the special gives the ultimate view of its role in leading the Navy into a bold new phase of undersea warfare.

* LIVING WITH WOLVES, on Sunday, May 15, 9-10 PM (ET/PT), offers a compelling behind-the-scenes account of wildlife filmmakers husband and wife Jim and Jamie Dutcher, in this prequel to Discovery's Emmy award-winning documentary WOLVES AT OUR DOOR. This two-hour program delves into the filming, memorable moments, struggles and logistical problems the couple faced as they spent six years living with a pack of captive wolves in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.

* With input from the U.S. population, Discovery sets out on a bold mission: to determine who is the GREATEST AMERICAN of all time in this four- part weekly series starting in May. After nominating the top 100, viewers will get to learn more about each candidate and vote on who should be named the Greatest American. A celebrity host and famous advocates will make a case for their favorite choices and will try to rally viewers to vote for their nominee.

* The two-hour ALIEN PLANET, on Sunday, June 26, 9-11 PM (ET/PT), takes viewers on a virtual trip to a planet whose every detail has been conceived by top scientists. This planet, Darwin IV, is located 6.5 light years from Earth with two suns and 60 percent of Earth's gravity. From the viewpoint of two futuristic probes, viewers can explore the bizarre plants and animals that might live in such an environment. Scientists theorize that Darwin IV and its many life forms will match future discoveries.

* On Discovery Channel's actual birthday, June 17th, the network will be airing a 20th Anniversary special filled with all of our landmark moments and milestones over the years.

* Perfectly timed to coincide with NASA's first-ever mission to a comet, COMET IMPACT!, on Sunday, July 10, 9-11 PM (ET/PT), follows one of the most ambitious space expeditions ever, to drill into a passing comet. The two-hour special shows how comets were born in the early days of the solar system, uses animated blueprints to illustrate the fascinating breakthroughs during the design of the spacecraft, features cutting-edge technology and late-breaking discoveries, and takes audiences on a riveting CGI ride aboard a comet streaming toward the sun.

* This July, in the enthralling TITANIC (wt), Academy award-winning director James Cameron leads his team of underwater experts on a series of historic dives to film and document the innermost spaces of the world's most famous shipwreck, located 375 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Using two $20 million research subs, four mini-robots, a seafloor-to-satellite data system and a suite of the most advanced cameras and lights, Cameron's team will capture unparalleled images of the Titanic.

* The two-hour special FIRST AMERICANS, in December, embraces and expounds upon the radical new theory that cavemen from Europe discovered North America. A recent discovery -- the oldest man-made object ever found in North America - - is rewriting history. Carbon dating indicates the artifact was buried 17,000 years ago...at a time when archaeologists previously believed America wasn't even inhabited. Using that find as launching point, new ideas suggest that in the throes of the Ice Age, when clans of humans were trapped in a shrinking land, Europeans brought their technology to North America 6,000 years before anyone else. This special looks at how this may have happened.

Additional programming initiatives will be announced as the anniversary year continues.

Discovery Channel is the United States' largest cable television network, serving 89.6 million households across the nation with the finest in informative entertainment. Discovery Networks, U.S., a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery HD Theater, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, Discovery Home Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, Discovery en Espanol and FitTV. The unit also distributes BBC America.

SOURCE Discovery Channel
Web Site: http://www.discovery.com





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