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TCA ’19: Discovery Inc. reveals slate for Investigation Discovery, TLC

As part of Discovery Inc.’s summer Television Critics Association press tour presentation held Thursday (July 25), the network group unveiled a raft of air dates for previously announced programs, documentaries ...
July 26, 2019

As part of Discovery Inc.’s summer Television Critics Association press tour presentation held Thursday (July 25), the network group unveiled a raft of air dates for previously announced programs, documentaries and returning series, as well as new projects including Investigation Discovery’s Ted Bundy: Mind of A Monster and the six-hour special event Taken at Birth for TLC.

INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY

The true crime and mystery network has unveiled its forthcoming programming slate with new series from Lincoln Square Productions and Arrow Media on the way.

Anchoring the network’s lineup is Truth About Murder with Sunny Hostin (pictured), a 6 x 60-minute investigative series set to examine America’s most gripping homicides. Hostin, who serves as host and executive producer, will travel the nation to interview detectives, prosecutors, coroners and victims’ families to piece together the evidence that ended in a brutal crime scene. The series will also follow Hostin to the trial, providing valuable closure for those left behind.

Truth About Murder with Sunny Hostin premieres Oct. 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The series is executive produced by Hostin, Hilary Estey McLoughlin and Terence Noonan for Lincoln Square Productions and Mike Sheridan and Joe Venafro for First Watch Productions.

Investigation Discovery’s Elizabeth Massie is senior executive producer, Sara Kozak is SVP of production, Winona Meringolo is SVP of development, Kevin Bennett is GM, and Henry S. Schleiff is group president of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, Destination America, and American Heroes Channel.

Elsewhere, Investigation Discovery has set an Aug. 18 air date for the first installment of Arrow Media’s Mind of a Monster franchise, which delves into the psyche of America’s most notorious serial killers.

The anthology begins with Ted Bundy: Mind of A Monster on Aug. 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The special will offer real footage and audio from Bundy himself, as well as interviews with those closest to him, to reveal new insight into his life and personality, as well as the reasoning behind his killing of countless young women throughout the 1970s.

Arrow’s Sam Starbuck is executive producer with John Owens listed as series producer and Tom Brisley as creative director. Eugenie Vink is executive producer for ID.

Finally, the network will continue in its mission to locate missing children and bring fugitives to justice in the sophomore season of In Pursuit with John Walsh. The series, previously produced by Zero Point Zero Productions, features Walsh as he leads viewers through unsolved violent crimes where time is of the essence. The series examines each story and interviews surviving family members and friends in an attempt to chase down new clues and evidence.

Season two slated to premiere in early 2020 and is now produced by Jupiter Entertainment.

For Jupiter, Harrison Land, Stephen Land, and Gregory Palmer are executive producers, with Lorna Thomas as senior executive producer for ID.

TLC

In the 1950s and ’60s, more than 200 newborn babies were illegally sold or given away by Dr. Thomas J. Hicks and his clinic in small-town Georgia. Those infants were collectively called the Hicks babies, and Taken at Birth features their reunions, untold stories and investigation of the truth.

The news of the Hicks babies broke in 1997 with an undercover operation that exposed the baby ring. The youngest of the known Hicks Babies, Jane Blasio, is the lead investigator who helped break the story, and in this special, she teams up with TLC’s Long Lost Family co-hosts Lisa Joyner and Chris Jacobs, to reunite birth families.

Each two-hour episode features emotional reunions, interwoven with the search for the answers to why Dr. Hicks sold babies, were mothers misled about their babies being alive, and were any of Hicks babies biological children of Dr. Hicks.

Good Caper Content, an ITV America company, produces.

“Sharing emotional family journeys is a part of TLC’s DNA and we are proud to tell the profound stories of loss, hope and reunion that make up Taken at Birth,” said TLC president and general manager Howard Lee in a statement. “This special event shows a different side of TLC, while embodying the heart, hope and human connection that speaks directly to our viewers.”

TRAVEL CHANNEL

The Discovery-owned adventure network will resurrect its Halloween event ‘Ghostober’ with blood-curdling premieres throughout each of October’s 31 days.

Most Terrifying Places will launch this year’s month-long event on Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The 6 x 60-minute series will journey to some of the scariest places across the globe to examine the history and lore of each haunt. The series will feature reenactments, first-hand accounts with locals and historians who explain the terrifying pasts of each location.

Then on Oct. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Travel will premiere The Holzer Files. The 10 x 60-minute will trace investigator Dave Schrader, psychic medium Cindy Kaza and equipment technician Shane Pittman as they re-open the case of America’s first ghost hunter, Dr. Hans Holzer, and his four-decade exploration into hauntings like the Amityville Horror.

The four-part miniseries Ghost Adventures: Serial Killer Spirits, meanwhile, will set out to explore sinister sites associated with infamous serial killers. Each hour-long episode will follow Zak Bagans and his Ghost Adventures team – Aaron Goodwin, Jay Wasley and Billy Tolley – as they attempt to document whether malicious energy has been left behind by such sadistic killers as H.H. Holmes, John Wayne Gacy Jr., Ted Bundy and Jake Bird. Ghost Adventures: Serial Killer Spirits transmits Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Finally, docu-drama Witches of Salem will chronologically unravel the descent of an affluent New England town into madness. The series will offer an in-depth account of the eight months of satanic panic that plunged into the village of Salem, Massachusetts in the late 1600s. Witches of Salem debuts Oct. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

FOOD NETWORK

Girl Meets Farm is set to return to the culinary network on Sept. 8 at 11 a.m. ET/PT, as part of an exclusive deal with Molly Yeh.

The deal includes new episodes of the daytime series, as well as multi-platform content across digital platforms.

Yeh is the Daytime Emmy- and James Beard Award-nominated host of Girl Meets Farm, as well as an acclaimed food blogger, best-selling cookbook author, and new mom.

The new season themes include new mom life, Oktoberfest, Halloween, Midwest potluck, Friendsgiving, and party bites, all out of her cozy Midwest farmhouse.

Girl Meets Farm has become Sunday’s highest-rated daytime show for Food Network.

With files from Daniele Alcinii and Kelly Anderson

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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