Upfronts 2009: Discovery Highlights Upcoming Slate Including Oprah Network Programming Strategy

New TLC biography of Flight 1549 Capt. Sullenberger also announced
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While the full network launch schedule of the Oprah Winfrey Network won’t be announced until later this year, OWN CEO Christina Norman says the network’s programming will be built around three big ideas having to do with “living your best life.”

Those three categories are Best Life All-Stars (featuring a show from de-clutter expert Peter Walsh and another with relationship expert Dr. Laura Berman); Best Life Experience (a show called Excellent Adventures in which a celebrity and their best friend embark on an adventure they have always wanted to take together and investigative news program Inside: Lisa Ling Investigates (wt) fall under this banner); and Best Life Inspiration, featuring Master Class (wt), a series about people hand-picked by Oprah sharing their passions, stories, and life lessons. The network is slated to launch in early 2010 in the U.S. on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.

Elsewhere at Discovery, TLC announced it has secured the rights to Brace for Impact, a biographical documentary about Captain Chelsey Sullenberger, the pilot who famously landed his U.S. Airways plane in the Hudson River in January. The special studies the circumstances of the day and also serves to show the safety record of the commercial aviation industry as a whole.

TLC is hoping to build on the success of hit show Jon & Kate Plus 8 with Table For 12, a documentary series featuring Eric and Betty Hayes, a couple with ten children, including 4-year-old sextuplets. The show follows Eric, a police officer, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom, and their relationship with their children including 4-year-old Rebecca, who has cerebral palsy. TLC is also launching The Little Couple about a pair of newlyweds who are both under four feet tall.

The Discovery Channel is planning a special “Alaska Week” focusing on the state’s huge expanses and wilderness and will explain why much of the land has not yet been explored. During the week, the channel will feature special Alaska editions of some of its most-recognized shows.

The special Stephen Hawking’s Universe is also premiering on Discovery. The channel is also planning another installment of it’s popular “Shark Week.”

“Discovery Channel is laser focused on creating the most exciting content you can find on any platform,” said president and GM John Ford. “We ensure our leadership position by continuing to provide innovative and captivating stories that keep our audiences coming back for more.”

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