Discovery is embarking on what it is calling its most ambitious original project to date, a five-year, 60-part series Curiosity: The Questions of Our Life. The series will air new installments once a month beginning in January 2011, in the plush 8 p.m. Sunday timeslot.
John Hendricks, who founded Discovery Communications in 1985 and currently serves as its chairman, is serving as the brains behind the series.
Each one hour episode will focus on a fundamental question about the world around us, such as "What is consciousness?" "How will nanotechnology change the future?" or "How many people can our planet support?" with a bevy of bonus material available online to encourage viewers to "deep dive" into the subject after watching the program.
Discovery is working on finalizing the questions to be asked, and will also be approaching a stable of non-fiction producers to help with individual episodes.
"It gives me a hunting license to get the best of the best [of non-fiction producers]" says Carole Tomko, the president of Discovery Studios, which is producing Curiosity.
While the network will likely leverage its vast programming library, it says most of the material for the new show will be original.
"We certainly have a bunch of great programming and content in [the library], but the majority of this will be fresh, brand new and created specifically for the program," Tomko says.
Discovery Education will launch a companion initiative comprised of standards-aligned K-12 educational content, which will be made available to educators.
"Satisfying curiosity has been at the heart of Discovery since the launch of the Discovery Channel in 1985, and this landmark series is the next investment in fulfilling the breadth and ambition of that very powerful mission," said John Hendricks, founder and chairman of Discovery Communications, announcing the series. "Curiosity also will be multi-platform and multi-generational by extending beyond the series to include deep-dive online content for adult lifelong learners who a desire a greater understanding of these fundamental questions, and through supplemental video for K-12 classrooms to engage students of all ages to pursue studies in science and mathematics. Science is more essential for our quality of life than ever before, and Curiosity represents Discovery's ongoing commitment to engage adults and children with compelling content that teaches and engages them about science."