Discovery Communications’ is committing to Russia, with an announcement in Moscow from Discovery Communications’ president and CEO David Zaslav. Plans were unveiled for new initiatives in Russia, which include TLC launching in January 2011 in Russia. The women-skewing channel will offer lifestyle, reality and inspirational entertainment, and for the first time, Russian production companies will be making local programming for TLC. Like Mother, Like Daughter is one of the new Russian productions, from Moscow-based prodco Mastiff, and follows mothers and daughters getting makeovers. It will premiere on TLC in early 2011 and will be hosted by a soon-to-be-announced Russian celebrity. Discovery will also be searching for Russian personalities to provide voices for Discovery franchises and specials, and have already signed up former world heavyweight champion boxer, Nikolai Valuev; natural historian and TV presenter Ivan Zatevakhin, will be voicing Extreme Fishing in early 2011; and comedy duo Garik Harlamov and Timur Batrutdinov, who will be voicing new series Dual Survival over the next few months. Russian conservationist Nikolay Drozdov will also be voicing Wildest Africa on Animal Planet in the new year.
In another part of the announcement, Discovery Channel will be introducing a new commercial-free science education block, ‘Crazy Break,’ in early 2011.
Discovery will be expanding its current Russian operation, the programming, advertising sales and affiliate relations team that looks after Discovery’s Russia portfolio, comprised of seven channels, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and the soon-to-launch TLC. The new Moscow team will oversee the drive to introduce more local productions and talent.