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TCA ’19: BBC America, Sundance TV, AMC reveal unscripted slates

BBC America, a joint venture between AMC Networks and BBC Studios, has greenlit the six-part blue chip natural history series, Eden its first original series from BBC Studios’ Natural History ...
July 25, 2019

BBC America, a joint venture between AMC Networks and BBC Studios, has greenlit the six-part blue chip natural history series, Eden its first original series from BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit as part of the Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Tour.

Announced as part of the network’s 2019 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Thursday (July 25), the tentatively titled wildlife series (pictured) will embed crews over the course of a year throughout six different wilderness locations across the globe. Cameras will follow along with the lives of the animals thriving in that environment while also revealing the inner workings of each exotic locale.

Each episode of Eden will travel to a new part of the world to explore one of these hidden away paradises – from tangled forest to bleached-bone desert, towering peaks to teeming reefs – “each with a secret that unravels to explain its extraordinary riches.”

Eden offers the audience ultimate escapism into the most pristine and stunning habitats left on planet earth,” said executive producer Mark Brownlow in a statement. “Packed with wildlife spectacle, drama and new behaviors, we will reveal the surprising secrets to our Eden’s remarkable riches.”

Mark Brownlow (Blue Planet II, Planet Earth) executive produces.

Eden joins BBCA’s upcoming slate of landmark event series including the David Attenborough-fronted Seven Worlds, One Planet, Frozen Planet II, Planet Earth III and more.

The network also unveiled today that Blue Planet Now,the four-part follow-up to Blue Planet II, will bow this fall. Presented by Chris Packham, Steve Backshall and Liz Bonnin, the series will provide an investigative look into the health of our oceans to determine how marine life is coping in the face of shifting climates and mounting pressure. Blue Planet Now is executive produced by Roger Webb with Vanessa Coates serving as series producer.

Blue Planet Now will also anchor the previously announced 24-hour programming block Wonderstruck.

Set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019, Wonderstruck will serve as the exclusive television home in America to the Planet Earth franchise, as well as myriad other series from BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit.

Wonderstruck will live on BBC America’s channel on Saturdays for 24 hours – beginning at 6 a.m. and running until 6 a.m. the following morning.

The micro-net, as BBC America has dubbed it, will also premiere a sneak preview of the the previously announced Seven Worlds, One Planet, which is scheduled to premiere in the U.S. in early 2020. Watch a trailer for the series below.

 

 

 

Elsewhere, SundanceTV and AMC will simulcast the five-part true crime series The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park, which re-examines the infamous 1986 killing of Jennifer Levin at the hands of Robert Chambers.

“In the mid to late 1980s, two epic crimes rocked New York and the broader country — the Central Park Five case and the murder of Jennifer Levin. These events have a few things in common: they both took place in Central Park and the prosecutor who tried both cases was Linda Fairstein. What’s more, together they shine a startling light on how race, gender and socioeconomics profoundly influenced the course of justice,” said AMC Networks Entertainment Group president Sarah Barnett, in a statement.

Preppy Murder, made with the participation of Fairstein, the Levin family and friends of Jennifer Levin and Robert Chambers, examines the circumstances that made Jennifer’s case play out the way it did — as a victim-blaming led narrative that fueled a tabloid media war. This story of sexism, elitism and an imperfect justice system both illuminates the past and has relevance to a vital conversation today.

The series is produced by Robert Friedman‘s Bungalow Media + Entertainment, helmed by Reversing Roe and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg.

The Preppy Murder will air over three consecutive nights, Nov. 13 to 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SundanceTV and AMC.

 

 

 

Also heading to AMC is Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America, a six-episode look at the history and cultural significance of hip hop music. Each episode focuses on one groundbreaking song pivotal to the evolution of American music and culture.

Songs featured in the series include Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Run-DMC’s “Rock Box,” Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First,” and more. Other featured artists include Andre 3000, Questlove, Fab 5 Freddy, Jam Master Jay, Pharrell Williams, John Legend and more.

Alex Gibney and Stacey Offman executive produce for Jigsaw Productions, alongside The Roots members Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter. It is also executive produced by Shawn Gee, Richard Perello and Shea Serrano, with Angie Day, Erik Parker and One9 serving as co-executive producers.

Hip Hop premieres Oct. 13 at 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT on AMC.

With files from Fred Blichert

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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