Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. is commissioning five hours of wildlife titles from the North American affiliate of South African-based prodco Earth Touch, and the deal includes two new specials and a three-part series.
Smithsonian and Earth Touch will coproduce specials Death Beach (pictured) and Venom Island and the three-part series Speed Kills. All of the films will be produced out of Earth Touch’s South Africa production base.
Speed Kills takes the high speed Phantom camera and puts the lens on the animal kingdom. The three-part series captures the movement of animals in super slow motion, and uses CGI to look at the physiological make-up of the animals to show how these bursts of speed are possible.
Death Beach, meanwhile, looks at a beach off of the Wild Coast of South Africa that has seen five horrific shark attacks. The special calls in forensic shark scientist Geremy Cliff to try and solve this mysterious problem.
Lastly, Venom Island explores one of the most dangerous places on earth, the Lower Sunda Islands of Indonesia, which are home to the largest collection of venomous creatures on the planet.
Chris Fletcher, director of programming and sales at Earth Touch, will be the executive producer on the programs.
The commissions are part of Smithsonian Channel’s move to increase natural history on the network, which includes the launch earlier this year of the primetime ‘Wild Wednesdays’ block.
“Our wildlife programming is performing very well,” said David Royle, Smithsonian Channel’s EVP of programming and production. “Quality natural history has been heading towards extinction on many networks, but there is still a sizeable and loyal audience who are quickly discovering that we offer an informative and entertaining alternative.”