U.S. network Smithsonian Channel and South African prodco Earth Touch are coproducing four wildlife series and specials, including Game of Prides, Speed Kills 2 (pictured) and Great White Code Red.
One-off special Game of Prides looks at a clash between two prides of lions in the savannah region of Botswana, while Black Mamba – Kiss of Death sees snake expert Simon Keyes traveling to the east coast of South Africa to reveal the secret lives of Africa’s most deadly reptile.
The 3 x 50-minute series Speed Kills 2 uses high-speed camera technology to capture the lightning fast movements of wildlife in a lagoon, jungle and desert.
The fourth copro is the 50-minute special Great White Code Red, an investigation of Great White sharks off the South African coast during hunting.
“Earth Touch’s programs are enthused with drama and visual imagery,” said David Royle, EVP of programming and production at Smithsonian Channel, in a statement. “They tell great stories that are compelling and informative – and they get shots that are simply mind-boggling.”
The deals are the latest between the companies, which have been working together since 2010, and constitute a total of 20 hours of blue chip wildlife programming.
According to Earth Touch’s director of sales and programming Chris Fletcher, Royle and Smithsonian took a chance on a virtually unknown company. “Smithsonian’s gamble on us has enabled us to grow as quickly as we can,” Fletcher told realscreen in Cannes, “for that we’re eternally grateful.”
The firm’s growth has including expanding beyond its blue chip wildlife to acquiring third-party programming, including Cheetahs of the Deep; diversifying into series; and coproducing with European broadcasters. For acquisitions, Fletcher says the company is acquiring on an as-and-when basis, and looking to offer financing as well as production services.
“We’re being selective about it,” he says. “We’re looking to complement what we do, not compete. We’re looking for things we don’t have.”