Tag Archives: Discovery

Thunderbird celebrates Highway Thru Hell’s 100th episode milestone

From a media release:

Discovery’s Canadian original series Highway Thru Hell returns for Season 8 and moves to a new day and time, premiering Monday, October 7th 2019 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The international hit series, which is Discovery’s top-rated series for audiences of all ages, will also return for an 18-episode ninth season, its largest ever. Season 9 goes into production this fall.

Produced by Thunderbird Entertainment’s Factual Division, in partnership with Discovery Canada, Highway Thru Hell follows the lives of the men and women who fight to keep traffic moving on BC’s mountain highways through vicious winter storms. The program’s broad appeal has made it a Canadian staple, and an international hit.  It is watched in 200 territories, in more than 12 languages.

Highway Thru Hell is a top-rated series on Discovery. It airs globally in more than 12 languages, including Discovery (Canada), The Weather Channel (United States), ABC (Australia), National Geographic (Norway, UK and Ireland), RMC Découverte (France) and IRIB Mostanad (Iran). It also streams worldwide on Netflix.

Season 8 of Highway Thru Hell consists of 17 all-new episodes, documenting the trials of Jamie Davis and his fellow hardworking and heroic heavy recovery operators, as they fight to keep the roads open through British Columbia’s Coquihalla and Cascade mountains. Following the season premiere on October 7 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery, Thunderbird invites viewers to join a Facebook Live event to celebrate along with its production partners.

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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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