SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL(TM) CAPTURES A FIERCE PRIDE TAKEOVER IN
"BIG CAT COUNTRY"
WILDLIFE FILMMAKERS NATHAN PILCHER AND SAM DAVIES TAKE VIEWERS TO ZAMBIA REVEALING EXTRAORDINARY DETAILS OF PRIDES FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL
NEW SERIES PREMIERES FEBRUARY 12 AT 8 PM ET/PT
NEW YORK - January 16, 2020 - In Zambia's Luangwa Valley, two neighboring prides have held their land for generations - the Hollywood pride, consisting of six female lions and the once-powerful MK pride, made up of 17 lions. Both prides now face a gang of young males aggressively looking to takeover new territory. Smithsonian Channel's BIG CAT COUNTRY exposes every triumph and tragedy as the two prides struggle to withstand the young males' invasion and maintain control of their land. Can they survive the greatest challenge of their lives? Find out when the captivating six-part series premieres Wednesday, February 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.
Working in one of the most remote and brutal wildernesses in Africa, wildlife filmmakers Nathan Pilcher and Sam Davies are in the middle of the action, offering insight and emotion as they bring viewers unprecedented footage of the ultimate lion soap opera.
Each episode brings viewers spectacular imagery and follows the lions day and night as the drama unfolds. With the use of military-grade thermal imagery, their cameras capture remarkable night-time behavior, including predation and the dramatic plight of a lost cub. But some of the most surprising action plays out in broad daylight, as Nathan and Sam witness the astonishing feminine tricks employed by the MK lionesses to manipulate the young male invaders through distraction mating, showing false signs of being sexually receptive for several days to minimize the aggression of the invading males.
In the premiere episode, THE INVASION BEGINS, the long rainy season ends and the lions gather along the Luangwa River. A powerful family, known as the MK pride, dominate the land south of the river headed up by two aging brothers - the Punks. To the north lives the Hollywood pride, existing peacefully with the MK pride until the arrival of the young gang of males, known as the Nomads, who are looking for a pride takeover. With no males for breeding, the Hollywood pride is on the verge of collapse and by the end of the first week of the Nomad's invasion, Ava, the Hollywood leader and best hunter, is brutally attacked and injured.
Subsequent episodes of BIG CAT COUNTRY are:
STRENGTH IN SISTERHOOD
Premieres Wednesday, February 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
After a gang of four nomadic lions attack Ava, she becomes weak and unable to hunt - forcing the Hollywood pride to move farther north away from the Nomads. The Nomads reach closer to MK territory, where Nathan discovers two additional cubs that are being kept away from the pride for safety. Meanwhile, Sam follows the MK pride matriarch, Surabi, as she leads a hunt and comes up against a hyena clan who are not prepared to back down from a fight.
PUNKS ON THE RUN
Premieres Wednesday, February 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
As the season wears on and the heat rises in the African bush, tension in the Valley also increases and the MKs and Hollywoods work harder to keep their territory. The Nomads enter the heart of the MK's territory and come extremely close to the five new MK cubs. The aging Punks flee from the Nomads as they are too weak to fight and can no longer protect the little cubs. As the Nomads invade MK territory, the Hollywoods have time to recover and Ava is back to hunting - stealing a kill from one of their deadly rivals: a leopard.
THE PUNKS STRIKE BACK
Premieres Wednesday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
The dry season is more than halfway through and the scorching heat has lowered the level of the river, increasing competition from other predators. The Hollywoods have been pushed far north of their territory into dangerous hunting grounds, going up against the strongest bite force in Africa - the Nile Crocodiles. The dominant male in the Nomad gang, Thor, grows overconfident and attacks the Punks all alone, but the experienced males take advantage of his mistake and fight back together.
HOLLYWOODS HELD HOSTAGE
Premieres Wednesday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
The two Punks have finally defeated the Nomads and reclaimed their land. Now, the teenagers have a chance to prove themselves and the MK cubs grow bolder. The bruised Nomads retreat out of MK territory and recover from their failed takeover, while the Hollywood pride flees north to escape the Nomads. Will the Nomads head south to challenge the Punks again or travel north in pursuit of the Hollywoods?
THE NEXT DYNASTY
Premieres Wednesday, March 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Still relishing their victory over the Nomads, the MK pride continues to roam the territory freely. Things quickly take a turn for the worse when a buffalo gores Surabi, leaving her severely injured, little cub Spotty spends several days in the bush without his mother or any protection and starvation looms large in the Valley. With the six Hollywood females in exile and driven to the edge of their territory by the Nomads, they must decide to either accept the Nomads or push them north before the dry season ends.
BIG CAT COUNTRY was originally commissioned by Love Nature, a joint venture between Smithsonian Networks and Blue Ant Media. Kate Beetham and Martha Holmes are the executive producer for Plimsoll Productions. Tria Thalman and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.
Smithsonian Channel(TM), a ViacomCBS Inc. network, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing factual entertainment, available in HD and 4K Ultra HD across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel, winner of Emmy(R) and Peabody awards for its programming, is the home of popular genres such as air and space, travel, history, science, nature and pop culture. Among the network's offerings are hit series including Aerial America, America in Color, America's Hidden Stories, Apollo's Moon Shot, The Pacific War in Color and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, Black Hole Hunters and Princess Diana's Wicked Stepmother. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Channel Plus(TM), a subscription video streaming service delivering over a thousand hours of the Channel's stunning and diverse library of documentaries and series in HD and 4K Ultra HD. Smithsonian Channel is also available internationally in Canada, Singapore, Latin America, the UK and Ireland. To learn more, go to smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.