U.S. cable network Animal Planet has joined Walking the Nile (working title), a previously announced special for UK pubcaster Channel 4, which will follow expedition leader, writer and photographer Levison Wood’s year-long attempt to walk the length of the Nile river.
October Films will produce the Animal Planet two-hour special airing in winter 2015, while C4′s four-part series produced by October and GroupM Entertainment will air in the fall.
Wood is filming the 4,250-mile expedition himself, which just began at the source of the Nile in Rwanda, while October Films will step in at key points to capture his journey for the special.
Walking the Nile will capture the environments, including rainforest, desert, savannah and swamps, that Wood will encounter, as well as the local guides he meets at points along the route.
“I’m passionate about Africa and want as many people as possible to be able to share my love of the continent, its people and its many varied landscapes,” said Wood. “I’m thrilled that Animal Planet will be joining Channel 4 to bring this series to viewers across the world.”
“As Levison departs, we’re delighted that Animal Planet is backing such an ambitious project,” said Adam Bullmore, executive producer of Walking the Nile.
“Walking the Nile will take Animal Planet’s viewers into the very heart of Levison’s adventure – encountering through his unprecedented challenge the amazing landscapes, unrivalled wildlife and inspiring humanity that is unique to modern Africa.”
The executive producers are Bullmore for October Films, Melanie Darlaston and Tony Moulsdale for GroupM Entertainment, and Keith Hoffman for Animal Planet. It was developed for Animal Planet by Andy Berg and Kurt Tondorf, and for Channel 4 by commissioning editor John Hay and multiplatform commissioning editor Mark Atkin.
In other Animal Planet news, the network will air Lil Bub’s Special Special, a one-off on internet phenom cat Lil Bub, on February 8.
Produced by Optimus, the special features rock star Andrew W.K. and comedian Amy Sedaris, as well as Lil Bub’s friends – a miniature horse, bunny and guinea pig – as they have a slumber party.
For Optimus, Craig Leffel, Lisa Masseur and Mike Bridavsky are executive producers, and Mark Pallman is director. For Animal Planet, Samantha Lee developed the special and Hilary Tholen is producer.