Discovery Canada commissions three for fall

A trio of commissions are rounding out Discovery Channel Canada's fall lineup, as Prank Science, Natural Born Dealers (pictured) and Game Changers prepare to hit the airwaves.
June 23, 2011

A trio of commissions are rounding out Discovery Channel Canada’s fall lineup, as Prank Science, Natural Born Dealers (pictured) and Game Changers prepare to hit the airwaves.

VP of programming Ken MacDonald says that he was looking to fill some holes in the schedule, but was also looking for diversity and these three series offered the scientific “twist” that Discovery seeks.

The first to premiere on Discovery is Natural Born Dealers (6 x 60 minutes, pictured) on Sept.  12, a series from Toronto’s Proper Television that follows the father-and-son team of Jerry Pasternak and son Jeremiah along with their assistant Nadeen Lightbody as they cross North America to find unusual items, such as the vehicle that inspired the original Batmobile or a 12 x 20 foot stained-glass rendition of a lobster (in Maine, of course).

“They go for stuff that’s real ‘Wow,’ as opposed to just quirky or off the wall,” MacDonald tells realscreen‘s sister publiction, Playback Daily. “It’s a proven genre and Auction Kings does well on Discovery, but we wanted a real twist. For me, it’s the kind of things they’re looking for. You get the characters and that story arc of the father and son, old versus new, is there. These antiques they’re looking for will have resonance with the audience.”

Hidden camera series Prank Science (13 x 30 minutes) is another from Proper, which MacDonald says combines entertainment with a proven format.

“Everything is based on a remarkable little nugget of science,” MacDonald says. “The fun is in the practical joke, but the takeaway is in the science.  We strive for those ‘Oh, I didn’t know that’ moments and that’s what we got from this show.”

The series is hosted by Brendan Callaghan and Morgan Waters and will air on September 19.

Rounding out the commissions is the previously announced Game Changers (8 x 30 minutes) from Toronto-based Tricon Films & Television, which looks at inventors on the cusp of making it big, ranging from a young man creating the world’s first electric-powered transformer to a NASA-approved space glove. Hosted by Andrew Anthony (Qubit, Matchmaker, Ad Persuasion), the series premieres on October 4.

MacDonald noted that stories about “backyard inventor” types appeal to Discovery’s audience – the subject is a popular one on Daily Planet – and for this particular series, Discovery wanted inventors who either have, or are in the process of, finding a patent and investor for their project.

“The stories are inspiring and interesting and the fact that they invent these incredible things with often meager resources, in some cases, they’re light years ahead of scientists and researchers. That’s a story with appeal.”

In the meantime, MacDonald says he’s always open to pitches, looking for strong characters, interesting storylines and an answer to the question, “What’s the twist?”

From Playback Daily.

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