Discovery Channel U.S. and Discovery Networks International (DNI) are teaming to launch a US$500,000 Global Landmark Development Fund, designed to back “ground-breaking epic series and landmark events.”
The fund will aim to kick-start the creation of the next big breakthrough programs in science, adventure, history, engineering and natural history, and will invest in “the most impressive and daring ideas from the production community around the world,” according to the partners.
Production companies are being encourage to submit their innovative ideas to Discovery Channel’s exec VP of production and development for landmark series and specials Andrew Jackson; and to DNI’s creative director and head of production and development Julian Bellamy.
“Discovery Channel is as committed as ever to pushing the boundaries of traditional genres and breaking new grounds in the non-fiction space,” said Eileen O’Neill, group president of Discovery Channel and TLC Networks U.S.
“With a strong focus on our roots in natural history to new explorations of the unknown – like live events including Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda and Space Jump Live – we will continue to provide the unprecedented access to extraordinary people and places that sets us apart from our competition.”
DNI exec VP and chief content officer Luis Silberwasser added: “This is an exciting challenge for producers to bring us ideas as ambitious and innovative as Planet Earth and North America.
“By working on a global scale, we have a unique opportunity to enlist the world’s best production companies to make their most ambitious ideas a reality. Discovery programming is renowned worldwide for its excellence and this fund will ensure we continue to reinvent in the masterpieces of which we are so proud.”
The partners cited North America (pictured above), Discovery’s first independently-produced natural history landmark series; and the Grand Canyon special Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda, which aired live in nearly 180 countries worldwide, as examples of recent successes.
In related news, Discovery Channel U.S. is to premiere Alaskan Steel Men – a series looking at the world of metal welders in the northernmost U.S. State – on August 30 at 10 p.m. EST.
The show is produced by the Lizard Trading Company, with Liz Bronstein and Harry Lowell serving as the indie’s executive producers. John Moffet serves as exec producer for Discovery.