Tag Archives: Discovery

Discovery’s Make It to the Moon tells the Apollo 11 story in fascinating new way

I’ve been a fan of the U.S. space program since I was a kid. In 1981, I watched as the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off on April 12. I was transfixed. I don’t know when I first learned of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong and the moon landing, but it was likely before Columbia. Regardless, I thought I pretty much knew everything there was to know about Apollo 11—through books, movies and documentaries—until I watched Make It to the Moon.

Debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Discovery, this Canadian production unearthed a treasure trove of information. While 600 million people watched the first astronauts land on the moon on July 20, 1969, four teams contracted by NASA played crucial roles in the historical moment were unknown to most.

“What people know about the Apollo program is the mission control and astronaut story,” says Maria Knight, Make It to the Moon producer and director. “What people don’t realize is how many people were involved to get this off the ground. President Kennedy really did harness the entire technological power of the U.S. in order to pull this off.” Narrated by Golden Globe-nominated Canadian actor Stephan James, the two-part project truly is an international affair, jetting to Australia to interview former employees of the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station, most famous for receiving and relaying the television images of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.

An astronaut looks into the camera.Virtually every piece for the mission was built from scratch, with four organizations embracing the challenge: Honeysuckle Creek; the Grumman Aircraft Corporation designed and built the first-ever lunar lander; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created groundbreaking navigational software and shrunk a computer the size of a semi-trailer to one-cubic-foot so it could fit onboard the lunar module; and the International Latex Company, best known for its Playtex bras and girdles, stitched a new kind of space suit by hand.

After eOne did the legwork, contacting former workers at the four companies, Knight and her team sat down and interviewed them. Though it’s 50 years later, their eyes light up with excitement recalling the rush to complete the project and ensure the U.S. was the first country to conquer the moon.

“Most of these people got jobs in the Apollo program straight out of college and I think the average age of the program was mid-20s,” Knight says. “Can you imagine graduating from university and, in the case of Don Eyles, [ending up] writing the code for the lunar lander?

“Technology is so fast-moving for us right now and there is sort of a blasé feel about it,” Knight continues. “We want to show how extraordinary this accomplishment was and bring a bit of awe into what these people accomplished.”

Make It to the Moon airs Sunday, July 14, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Canada’s Worst Driver comes to an end

Canada’s Worst Driver has careened into the sunset. After 14 seasons and dozens of terrible drivers behind the wheel, Discovery’s longest-running reality series has come to an end.

Host Andrew Younghusband made the announcement on his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon.

“It is with equal parts pride and humility, sadness and joy that I am writing to inform you all that Canada’s Worst Driver is officially finished. Done. The great runaway hit has finally crashed and burned,” he wrote. “I had really hoped we would get to do a ‘Goodbye’ season to end the series with a tip of the hat to the faithful audience, but alas, we are simply done without any fanfare.

“Many, many, many thanks to the hundreds (yes hundreds!) of people who have worked on the show over the years,” he continued. “Your creativity and grit, both on set and behind the scenes, are what made CWD the longest-running reality series in Canadian TV history.”

Younghusband, who gamely faced Canadians oblivious to how bad their driving habits were, thanked the Bell Media specialty station and those who got behind the wheel throughout the series’ run. He finished by acknowledging Guy O’Sullivan, the President of Proper Television, Worst Driver‘s production company, who passed away in 2017.

“But the biggest thanks of all, of course, goes to our late, great leader Guy O’Sullivan,” Younghusband wrote. “He started a production company based on the single sale of season one of CWD back in 2005, and that company, Proper Television, still thrives today.”

Will you miss Canada’s Worst Driver? Let me know in the comments below.

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Discovery’s Disasters at Sea explores tales of tragedy on the water

Through series like Deadliest Catch and Wicked Tuna, I’ve learned the world’s oceans are definitely not the safest places to work. Heck, the Great Lakes aren’t either, as the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald details. And yet, they serve as an integral lifeline when it comes to getting products around the world.

Discovery’s latest in-house production—Disasters at Sea, on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT—documents nautical accidents and tragedies and tells the stories, including the safety measures implemented to ensure those things don’t happen again.

“We love looking into real jobs and the expertise and mastery behind them,” executive producer Kelly McKeown says. “With our knowledge of Mighty Ships and Mighty Cruise Ships, understanding the world at sea and the skillset you need for the world at sea—and the vessels are like characters themselves—we found that fascinating and we wanted to dig into that world.”

Each of the six hour-hour episodes tells the tale of a maritime disaster through re-enactments and expert testimony from investigators, witnesses, survivors and family members of those lost. McKeown says the stories selected were recent ones, giving the producers the opportunity to speak to those closest to each case and have their voices heard.

The statistics are sobering: three ships go down around the world every month. McKeown wanted to shine a light on the lesser-known incidents for Disasters at Sea and used documents from such organizations as the National Transportation and Safety Board, Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Coast Guard to ensure everything was factually correct. That includes appearances from experts like Christopher Hearn. The Director of the Centre for Marine Simulation at the Marine Institute at Memorial University in Newfoundland is just one of many who describe what happened to these ships and their crews and, perhaps more importantly, why.

“I help them understand what the content the investigations mean and how ships are operated and what goes on onboard,” Hearn says. “From an experiential point of view, I can help craft the story they’re trying to represent. It’s very important that the stories are done right and from a factual perspective.”

Episode 2, broadcast this Tuesday, delves into the loss of the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger, which sank on the Bering Sea on March 23, 2008.

“Sometimes it’s the littlest thing,” McKeown says of the Alaska Ranger situation. “It’s not one big thing that happens, it’s a chain of errors that occurs. It’s a domino of events that affects the final toll.”

Disasters at Sea airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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Discovery investigates the greatest marine mysteries with Disasters at Sea, premiering April 16

From a media release:

When tragedy strikes on the high seas causing ships to sink, the truth of what happened is often lost to the depths of the ocean. In Discovery’s latest original Canadian series, DISASTERS AT SEA, experienced and dedicated marine investigators track down new evidence to solve the mysteries behind some of the most devastating and unexpected real-life marine disasters in recent history. The six-episode, one-hour docudrama premieres in the network’s coveted timeslot, Tuesday, April 16 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, exclusively on Discovery, following the Season 15 premiere of the Emmy®-winning fan-favourite series DEADLIEST CATCH. The series joins the slate of spring premieres announced by the network this morning.

Each episode of DISASTERS AT SEA tells the unimaginable true story of a maritime disaster, combining harrowing re-enactments with expert analysis from marine investigators. Whether it’s survivor testimony about a sudden sound, GPS data about the ship’s speed, or the scatter pattern of wreckage at the bottom of the ocean, each piece of evidence helps investigators build a dramatic picture of the deadly chain of events.

Armed with the newly-discovered facts uncovered by investigators, archival footage is combined with evocative re-enactments, CGI, and special effects to immerse viewers in each story and dramatically convey the catastrophic events. Each episode delivers a suspenseful journey into one of the deadliest jobs on the planet, the working men and women who choose this dangerous life, and the marine investigators who work tirelessly to help make the high seas a safer place.

DISASTERS AT SEA was commissioned by Discovery, in conjunction with Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. and Seven Network in Australia. The series was produced by Discovery’s Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) in a purpose-built studio in Hamilton, Ontario and on-location throughout Canada and the U.S. The production is the biggest and most comprehensive partnership of its kind for EPI.

Through international rights manager Exploration Distribution Inc. (EDI), the series has been sold in more than 110 markets, including the U.K. and Germany. DISASTERS AT SEA is currently in production on a second season in Hamilton, Ontario, and will debut on Discovery next year.

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New seasons of Mighty Cruise Ships, Last Stop Garage, and Jade Fever crop up on Discovery this spring

From a media release:

Discovery sails into spring with the return of several of the network’s fan-favourite original Canadian series, including LAST STOP GARAGE (Season 2), MIGHTY CRUISE SHIPS (Season 3), and JADE FEVER (Season 5). Also on deck for March is a special presentation of the conservation documentary TIGERLAND, an official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Jam-packed with homegrown programming, the spring schedule kicks into gear when the Discovery original LAST STOP GARAGE returns for Season 2 Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT beginning March 21. With two new half-hour episodes airing weekly, Season 2 follows the rag-tag team of mechanics from CRB Automotive in North West River, Labrador, the sole auto repair shop in their remote town of 553 people. Each half-hour episode follows the staff of CRB as they use backwoods ingenuity and mechanical wizardry to fix and build just about anything for anyone.

Then, the world’s most luxurious and cutting-edge cruise ships are highlighted when the Discovery original series MIGHTY CRUISE SHIPS sets sail for Season 3, airing Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT beginning March 31. The six-episode season takes viewers to the tropical refuges of the Caribbean and French Polynesia, the classic waterways of the Mediterranean, and the remote coastlines of Norway and the high Arctic, highlighting the best vessel on which to set course for each tantalizing destination. Every episode delivers a see-all, hear-all journey through every moment above and below deck, from the mechanics of modern sea-going to the human dramas of the seafarers and guest service staff. Produced by Discovery’s in-house production unit, Exploration Production Inc. (EPI), MIGHTY CRUISE SHIPS is distributed to 110 countries worldwide by EPI’s distribution arm, Exploration Distribution Inc. – the international distributor for all of EPI and Bell Media programs.

With demand for jade skyrcocketing in China, the Bunce family continues their hunt for Grade A jade in Season 5 of Discovery’s unscripted original series JADE FEVER, airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT beginning April 8. With two half-hour episodes airing back-to-back each week, the Bunces are in desperate need of success after failing to find Grade A jade in the previous mining season. With their life savings on the line, Claudia hopes her father Steve, a jade mining veteran, will be her lucky ticket, but fireworks ensue when three generations of her family attempt to work together. Adding to the complications, treacherous roads, freak spring snowstorms, and raging wildfires threaten to derail their mining season.

From Academy® Award-winning filmmakers Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels) and Fisher Stevens (The Cove), Discovery presents the feature-length documentary TIGERLAND on Saturday, March 30 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The film illustrates how shifting political realities in Russia and India created a lucrative poaching underworld that decimated the tiger population. Inspired by the documentary, Discovery Canada’s parent company Discovery Networks International (DNI) and World Wildlife Fund US have partnered to help preserve Russia’s Bikin National Park, which is featured in TIGERLAND, as part of its Project C.A.T. initiative. DNI has committed to fully funding the site through 2022, bringing the total amount of preserved land through Project C.A.T. to more than 5.6 million acres since its launch in 2016.

Subscribers can access live streaming of Discovery programming through the Discovery app, and catch up on full seasons of Discovery series on demand through the Discovery app and at Discovery.ca.

Below is a closer look at Discovery’s new and returning programming highlights for March and April. All programming is subject to change (all times ET; visit discovery.ca to confirm local broadcast times; programming subject to change).

Thursday, March 21
9 p.m. – LAST STOP GARAGE – “Medi-Sled” – *Season 2 Premiere*
The CRB crew reboots a ski club’s snowmobile and builds a custom rescue sled with a detachable stretcher for the trails.

9:30 p.m. – LAST STOP GARAGE – “Dog Sled Van”
Collin and Corey help the owners of an adventure trekking business transport their huskies and sled across the rough roads of Labrador.

Saturday, March 30
9 p.m. – TIGERLAND – *Special Premiere*
In the span of only a handful of generations, the tiger has been transformed from a venerated creature into a major source of revenue, and the population of wild tigers in Asia has dropped from more than 100,000 to less than 4,000 as a result. In the face of corruption and cultural apathy, Russian scientist Pavel Fomenko and the conservationist family of Kailash Sankhala of India lead inspirational tiger-preservation movements to keep the legendary animal from disappearing entirely.

Sunday, March 31
7 p.m. – MIGHTY CRUISE SHIPS – “Koningsdam” – *Season 3 Premiere*
Sail through the Norwegian fjords on Holland America’s Koningsdam, the newest, largest, and most technologically advanced ship in the Holland America fleet. Sailing the narrow Norwegian fjords presents numerous challenges for the bridge team, whether it’s snaking through the winding channels carved by the glaciers, searching for suitable anchor sites, or ferrying guests ashore with the ship’s tender boats. But it’s well worth the effort, leading to one of the steepest train rides in the world, waterfalls that cascade into verdant valleys, and hikes that climax with picnics on sheer cliff tops.

Monday, April 8
10 p.m. – JADE FEVER – “The Long and Grinding Road” – *Season 5 Premiere*
With no jade to show for last season, Claudia is desperate to start digging out the huge jade lens they found late last year. The crew set out on the first trek of the season to their mine, but deep mud and high waters turn the trip into a major disaster. For Claudia, it’s an ominous start to a critical season.

10:30 p.m. – JADE FEVER – “Nose for Jade”
With the road into their camp unpassable, Claudia puts mining on hold and sends Guy and Gary out to repair the torn-up road. Meanwhile, the newest member of the crew arrives – Claudia’s father, Steve. He placer mined the Two Mile claim 40 years ago and with everything on the line this year, Claudia’s desperately hoping he’s the lucky ticket she needs to turn this make-or-break season into a success.

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