TV Upfront

Discovery Introduces Scripted Miniseries 'Klondike,' I.D. Adds 'Elder Skelter'

'Klondike' Joins Revival of Miniseries Genre

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Discovery Channel is entering the scripted fray with its first miniseries, the network announced at its upfront presentation to media buyers and advertisers Thursday evening.

"Klondike," about six strangers and their fight for survival and wealth in a small town, is based on Charlotte Gray's book, "Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike."

Discovery joins other cable networks, like FX, that are moving into miniseries. FX said at its upfront last week that it will make its first foray into miniseries and limited series with "Fargo," based on the 1996 Coen brothers movie, next spring.

Miniseries have been making a gradual revival on cable networks since last year, when History's three-night "Hatfields & McCoys" set ratings records. More recently, History's "The Bible" delivering 11.7 million viewers for its finale on Easter Sunday.

More channels that built ratings on unscripted series and nonfiction have also been moving into scripted fare. Bravo, for example, used its upfront presentation this week to tout a slate of programming that includes four scipted shows in development.

Discovery's pitch was part of parent company Discovery Communications' broader show on Thursday. Other highlights included:

Discovery Channel: "Wallenda Live," a live special where Nik Wallenda will tightrope walk the Grand Canyon without a harness. Mr. Wallenda showed off his skills Thursday evening, tightrope-walking above the audience.

Animal Planet: The network introduced Animal Planet Live, a 24/7 digital experience that gives users access to animal cams with feeds of penguins, puppies, kittens and birds.

TLC: New series include, "Breaking Amish: Brave New World," "Alaskan Women Looking for Love" and "Family S.O.S. with Jo Frost." TLC's breakout reality star Honey Boo Boo made an appearance at the Thursday event.

Investigation Discovery: Jerry Springer will host a new show, "Tabloid," while Charisma Carpenter will host "Surviving Evil." Other new series include "Southern Fried Homicide" and "Elder Skelter," about crimes committed by senior citizens. In total the network unveiled 15 new series and will bring back 22 others.

Science: Actor William Hurt will star in that network's first scripted dramatic feature, "73 Seconds: The Challenger Investigation." Morgan Freeman was also on hand to promote his returning series "Through the Wormhole."

Destination America: The network, which was introduced only last summer, will host "Meat Week" kicking off Memorial Day.

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