TCA: Discovery readies “Cajun Navy,” “Murder In Mansfield”

A three-part series from Jupiter Entertainment, a feature-length documentary from Lightbox Entertainment and myriad home renovation series are among the programs to stem from Discovery’s summer/fall 2018 Television Critics Association ...
July 27, 2018

A three-part series from Jupiter Entertainment, a feature-length documentary from Lightbox Entertainment and myriad home renovation series are among the programs to stem from Discovery’s summer/fall 2018 Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Read a breakdown of each channel below:

Investigation Discovery

Investigation Discovery is prepping a roster of documentaries for true crime fans, including Jupiter Entertainment’s three-part special that delves into the 1990 murder of Gregg Smart.

Pamela Smart: An American Murder Mystery will look at the case of the murder of Gregg Smart who is found by his wife Pamela, a 22-year-old teacher, in their New Hampshire condo. Police shift their attention to Pamela after scouring the area for clues. What unfolds from their investigation is a web of lies and deceit as they uncover that Pamela has been having an affair with a high school student.

The series is produced by Jupiter’s Allison Wallach, Tim McConville, Patrick Reardon and Dylan Howard as executive producers. For ID, Pamela Deutsch is executive producer, Sara Kozak is SVP of production, Kevin Bennett is GM and Henry S. Schleiff is group president of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Travel Channel and Destination America.

Pamela Smart: An American Murder Mystery premieres Aug. 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Elsewhere, Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple‘s A Murder In Mansfield will host its television debut exclusively on the true crime network.

The film, which world premiered at DOC NYC, chronicles Collier Landry’s journey for answers and peace in the aftermath of  the death of his mother, Noreen Landry, nearly 30 years earlier at the hands of his father. With only circumstantial evidence connecting his father to the crime, Collier’s testimony proved critical to convicting him. Collier now returns to Ohio seeking to retrace his past and confront his imprisoned father, who remains in denial of his guilt.

The film is produced for ID by Cabin Creek Films and is directed a produced by Barbara Kopple. For Cabin Creek, Kopple and David Cassidy are executive producers. Ray Nowosielski is the producer. Collier Landry and John Morrissey are also executive producers. For ID, Diana Sperrazza is executive producer.

A Murder in Mansfield will premiere on Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

As realscreen previously mentioned, Investigation Discovery is heading to New Iberia, Louisiana, a city built on sugar cane production, to examine the murder of a young man who died in police custody. The two-hour documentary, Sugar Town from Stephen David Entertainment, profiles the racial tensions and corruption in the Louisiana town as the White family searches for answers in their son’s suspicious death while in custody.

Sugar Town premieres Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Discovery Channel

The flagship channel of parent company Discovery has greenlit a feature-length documentary from Lightbox Entertainment that spotlights the everyday civilians who risk their lives to help others survive devastating storms.

Award-winning filmmaker James Newton directs Cajun Navy (pictured), which follows a group of men and women who tackle deadly storms and floodwaters to help save their community and its people from ruin. The documentary will follow various groups operating in the area under the Cajun Navy banner, who formed as a grass-roots rescue effort in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Cajun Navy is executive produced by Lightbox’s Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Suzanne Lavery. Laura Warner is producer. Jon Bardin and Andrew O’Connell are executive producers for Discovery.


With nine new series slated to premiere in the next six months, HGTV continues to cultivate a cadre of home repair programs with emerging stars and celebrated names.

New series in the lifestyle channel’s pipeline include Rustic Rehab, which debuts Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT and follows real estate and home reno experts David and Chenoa Rivera as they overhaul outdated cabins, vacation rentals and bungalows into charming retreats; My Windfall Dream Home (Nov. 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT), featuring designer David Bromstad as he helps clients with surprise cash pay-outs find their new dream homes; and House Hunters: Home for the Holidays (Nov. 27, at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT), which profiles heartwarming stories of families searching for a new place to celebrate Christmas.

Premiering in fourth quarter 2018 will be Best House on the Block, which spotlights husband and wife team Lauren and David Liess as they look to create beautiful tailored spaces for the families in the Washington, DC area; Big City Charm, which follows Mark and Liz Perez as they refurbish dilapidated homes in Chicago; and Mom and Me, tracing Karrie Trowbridge and her 21-year-old son Tristan as they craft stylish homes in Bend, Oregon inspired by the Pacific Northwest.

HGTV will also air three new series in first quarter 2019, including Almost Home (premieres January), featuring Dave and Jenny Marrs as they renovate classic homes in Bentonville, Arkansas; Windy City Rehab (January), in which designer Alison Victoria snaps up Chicago’s oldest homes and turns them into dream properties; and Montana Home (Q1 2019), which chronicles real estate veterans Jackie Wickens and Trecie Wheat Hughes helping families find homes with picturesque mountain vistas in Montana.

Animal Planet

Animal champion Amanda Giese and her family will help seemingly hopeless animals in Animal Planet’s previously announced series Amanda To The Rescue from Indigo Films.

The series will premiere Oct. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will feature Giese, along with her children and partner Gary, as they care for animals with major medial or special needs in her home state of Washington.

Throughout the season, Giese will launch a country-wide rescue effort to save dozens of at-risk animals from being euthanized. She’ll journey to California shelters that are overrun with displaced and injured animals from deadly wildfires. Giese will also fly to Puerto Rico and to Hawaii to help out animals that have been affected by natural disasters.

Animal To The Rescue is produced by Indigo Films where David M. Frank and Christopher Voos serve as executive producers. For Animal Planet, Keith Hoffman is executive producer and Sarah Russell is producer.

About The Author