Discovery Communications of Silver Spring, U.S., has budgeted US$65 million to create HD Atlas, a 30-part, 60-hour high-definition special touted as ‘the definitive visual record’ of the world’s ‘greatest’ destinations and countries.
Scheduled to run over five years on the one-year-old channel Discovery HD Theater, the series will open with a two-hour pilot episode that focuses on India. Discovery’s senior VP of production Steve Burns says production on Atlas HD India (w/t) is set to begin this summer, with transmission taking place by fourth quarter 2004.
The question of who Discovery plans to seek out for independent production partners is as yet unanswered. ‘We are still in the early stages of trying to refine an editorial treatment,’ says Burns. Program financing arrangements are likewise undecided. ‘We’ve not locked into whether these will be copros or fully funded commissions,’ he notes.
One consideration that has been nailed down, albeit tentatively, is presentation style. Says Burns, ‘The storytelling you get with a presenter is something that is very attractive to us.’
Clint Stinchcomb, senior VP and GM of Discovery HD Theater, notes no country or region has been ruled out. Each episode will delve into many aspects of the subject location’s natural and human history, ‘but will also look at what life is like today – commerce, schools, sports, festivals, the political life of the country,’ he explains.