History TV's blog

This November, History Television honours the brave Canadians who proudly served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace, with Days of Remembrance.

The special three-day lineup of non-stop, Canadian-produced exclusive programming, celebrates the efforts made by countless Canadians throughout unforgettable moments in history, taking viewers from the trenches of Passchendaele in World War I, to the towns of Italy and France in World War II, the hills of Korea during the Korean War, and the most recent engagements in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

Beginning Wednesday, November 9 through Friday, November 11, Days of Remembrance offers the highly-anticipated broadcast premieres of D-Day to Victory, and Breathing Fire: Secret Weapon of the Somme, and will also feature an array of programs and movies including Passchendaele, Dambusters Fly Again, Storming Juno, Greatest Tank Battles and a special presentation of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

“Through a robust schedule of new and eye-opening special presentations, History Television pays tribute to the countless lives lost, and showcases the triumphs and resilience of everyday people during tumultuous times in our history,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President of Content, Shaw Media. “This remarkable, all-Canadian content will enlighten and enthrall viewers with stories told from a uniquely-Canadian perspective, and in a way that only History Television can.”

Anchoring the schedule is the broadcast premiere of the six-part Canadian original series D-Day to Victory. This comprehensive program tells the epic story of the campaign that took the allies from the biggest amphibious assault in history to ultimate victory over Nazi Germany. Shot in HD, the series features the stories of the men who faced the most efficient fighting machines the world had ever seen. D-Day to Victory airs Wednesday, November 9 through Friday, November 11 with back-to-back episodes each night at 8pm and 9pm.

The broadcast premiere of Breathing Fire: Secret Weapon of the Somme follows a team of military archaeologists to northern France searching for secret tunnels and a giant flamethrower lost for almost a century. Built for use during the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest clash of the first World War, this 60-foot weapon of terror fired a blast of flaming oil over 100-yards long. This two-hour special documents the attempt to recover the machine, and with the help of the British Royal Engineers, build a working replica. Breathing Fire: Secret Weapon of the Somme premieres Wednesday, November 9 at 10pm.

History Television continues to salute and pay tribute to Canada’s history with the historical and patriotic stories featured in Greatest Tank Battles (Wednesday, November 9 at 6pm and 7pm) Dambusters Fly Again (Thursday November, 10 at 10pm), Vimy Ridge: Heaven to Hell (Friday November 11 at 7am), Passchendaele (starring Paul Gross; Friday, November 11 at 8:30am), and Storming Juno (Friday, November 11 at 10pm). A special presentation of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan will also be featured during the Days of Remembrance programming event, airing Tuesday, November 8 at 9pm.

The Days of Remembrance experience extends to the online world with a dedicated companion page at History.ca. Users can visit the site to find complete program details and tune-in information for all three days of programming, and other exclusive and in-depth content including the Global News blog feed streaming live from the History Television website on November 11. Leading up to, and during Days of Remembrance, viewers can learn more, interact and get exclusive sneak peeks at the incredible programming lineup with History Television on Facebook: Facebook.com/HistoryTVCanada, and Twitter: @HistoryTVCanada.

In addition to the robust lineup of content available on History.ca, viewers can interact with the companion site to D-Day to Victory, ddaytovictory.ca.  Visitors to the site can follow the Allies on a journey of remembrance, tracing their path to Berlin by way of an interactive map that depicts the key events that led to victory. Six major battle scenes are rendered in navigable 3D environments that portray the tremendous intensity of war, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the attacks that are featured in each episode of the series.

Accompanying each of these six experiences are poignant video interviews with veterans, featured alongside thoughts and memories shared by site visitors. Together, these testimonies contribute to a ‘living poppy’ visual that serves as a document of their collective and individual journeys.

Vintage warplanes, challenging conditions, and maverick pilots on dangerous missions – Ice Pilots NWT, the hit docu-series, is taking off for a bigger-than-ever third season.

Tune in for 13 new one-hour episodes featuring the wild adventures of renegade Arctic airline Buffalo Airways, and the determined crew that risks everything to haul passengers and cargo in the unforgiving North.

Ice Pilots NWT Season Three premieres on Wednesday, October 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History Television (please check local listings).

“Fans can’t seem to get enough of Ice Pilots NWT,” says creator and series producer, David Gullason. “The response to the last two seasons has been overwhelming. We’re excited to return this fall to follow Joe, Mikey, their pilots and crew for more adventures in their amazing World War II planes.  Buffalo Airways is the most extraordinary airline in the world and it’s a privilege to tell this iconic Canadian story.”

As Season Three of Ice Pilots NWT unfolds, young pilots Gord and Sean face a terrifying loss of oil pressure inflight in the high Arctic, Adam travels to a military station at the top of the world and Devan struggles with the sudden failure of the C-46’s hydraulic controls while on approach. Also this season, the vintage C-46 faces extinction due to a growing scarcity of parts, new senior manager Duane Hicks stirs up a storm by pushing to modernize Buffalo, Joe butts heads with his sons, crusty mechanic Chuck Adams reaches the end of his rope, and a new golden boy shakes up the rampie roster.


New social media game component to Ice Pilots NWT

This season, viewers will also have a chance to win an amazing Grand Prize.  Omni Film is launching the social media game Ice Pilots NWT: Air Hunt and the mini-game Arctic Cargo Collectors’ Challenge at www.icepilots.com. Players earn points by collecting cargo hidden throughout the Ice Pilots NWT online world. Weekly prizes will be awarded to players with the highest points and after the season finale, the player with the most total points will claim the Grand Prize.

“With weekly rewards and the grand prize of a behind-the-scenes visit to Buffalo Airways, we’ve really ramped up our online and social media initiatives for the third season,” says Omni partner and Executive Producer, Gabriela Schonbach. “Fans of Ice Pilots NWT can connect with the series and with Buffalo Airways in new, exciting ways, making the experience of the show much more comprehensive and hands-on. We’re confident viewers will enjoy this new level of interactivity.”

Ice Pilots NWT is produced by Omni Film Productions Ltd. in association with Shaw Media and with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund, the Rogers Cable Network Fund, the Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program. The series is created and produced by David Gullason, and executive produced by Gabriela Schonbach, Michael Chechik, and David Gullason.

Muse Entertainment’s historical drama The Kennedys, starring Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Katie Holmes and Tom Wilkinson, has garnered a Best Miniseries nomination as well as an Outstanding Actor nomination for Tom Wilkinson, for his portrayal of Joseph Kennedys Sr., from the 51st Monte-Carlo Television Festival. The Golden Nymph Awards Ceremony will be held in Monaco on June 10, 2011.

This honor comes upon the heels of The Kennedys tremendous ratings success during its first week of broadcast in the US, UK and Canada. The Kennedys beat its competition in each market during its premiere broadcasts.

In the United States, where it opened on Sunday, April 3 on independent cable network ReelzChannel, The Kennedys reached over 7.6 million viewers during the premiere week, with remarkable consistency of viewers tuning in to each episode during the tightly scheduled world premiere that played out in its entirety, in old-school, miniseries fashion over 9 nights. 

On its April 10 opening on Canada’s History Television, the two-hour premiere event was the second highest series premiere of all time in the cable channel’s history with 889,000 viewers (2+). 

In the UK, the premier showing of The Kennedys on the HISTORY Channel on Thursday, April 7, “had over ten times the normal audience we got in this slot last year!” says Adam MacDonald, VP Programming, HISTORY.

The 8-hour drama is a production of Muse Entertainment in association with Asylum Entertainment.

Muse Distribution International’s miniseries, The Kennedys, was a huge ratings success and beat its competition during its premiere broadcasts in three territories.

“After all the noise about The Kennedys, the audience has now spoken and give a resounding thumbs up. Our network partners have done a fantastic job of promoting The Kennedys and the results speak for themselves,” says Michael Prupas, an executive producer of the miniseries and Muse Distribution’s president and CEO.

In the United States, where it opened on Sunday, April 3 on independent cable network ReelzChannel, it broke records by bringing in a record of 1.9 million viewers, a tenfold increase over the average viewership in the time period. In all, The Kennedys reached over 7.6 million viewers during the premiere week, with remarkable consistency of viewers tuning in to each episode during the tightly scheduled world premiere that played out in its entirety, in old-school, miniseries fashion over 9 nights.  DVR numbers are not yet available.

“The Kennedys was as riveting as promised, delivering and holding viewers from start to finish,” said ReelzChannel CEO Stan E. Hubbard.  “Following our world premiere week, we will provide viewers with more chances in April to see every episode. In the coming months, we will announce future airings of this amazingly successful television movie event, with the full confidence that The Kennedys will remain a viewer favorite.”

On its April 10 opening on Canada’s History Television, the two-hour premiere event was the second highest series premiere of all time in the cable channel’s history with 889,000 viewers (2+). 

The Kennedys also triumphed over its competition, including the second episode of The Borgias. The Kennedys more than tripled the Bravo series. History Television will continue to broadcast The Kennedys every Sunday at 9 pm ET/PT.

In the UK, the premier showing of The Kennedys on Thursday, April 7, was 279,000, “Which is over ten times the normal audience we got in this slot last year!” says History’s Adam MacDonald, VP Programming. “So far this week its audience is coming in at about 400,000 viewers which is massive for us – and we still have more time shifted viewing to come in which will be added to this figure.”

History Television’s unstoppable line-up of stellar entertainment continues to dominate the ratings, with the premiere of The Kennedys sweeping away audiences and delivering exceptional viewership for the channel.

The most anticipated television event of the year earned the top spot of the day for a non-sports specialty, garnering outstanding audience numbers with 889,000 (2+) and 335,000 in the key adults 25-54 demo, further asserting History Television’s AMA powerhouse status and unrelenting audience growth. 

During the two-hour premiere event, 2.3 million Canadians (2+) sampled part of the premiere, peaking at an astonishing 1.1 million viewers at 9:55 pm ET/PT. 

The Kennedys also triumphed over its competition, including the second episode of The Borgias. The premiere more than tripled the Bravo series’ 2+ numbers and quadrupled its adults 25-54 audience. 

The channel’s first foray into dramatic entertainment is clearly a resounding success, becoming the second highest-rated series premiere of all-time on History Television (2+), behind Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads, which earned over 1 million viewers on January 12, 2011. The series also becomes the highest-rated movie or special presentation on the channel. 

The successful Canadian launch comes hot on the heels of the April 3, 2011 U.S. premiere on ReelzChannel, which exceeded 1.9 million total viewers (2+), breaking records for the cable service.

History Television’s spring schedule features an outstanding line-up of new and returning series that offer big characters and stories that bring a high level of entertainment to the subject of history. The new schedule, which launched on Monday, March 28, features the Canadian broadcast premieres of Top Gear US (Wednesdays at 10 pm ET/PT) and the world broadcast premiere of Canadian Pickers (April 12 at 10pm ET/PT). The schedule also welcomes new seasons of Outlaw Bikers (Thursdays at 9 pm ET/PT) and Urban Legends (Fridays at 8 pm ET/PT).

Viewers can continue to watch the drama and intrigue in The Kennedys, Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT.

Sundays at 9pm ET/PT beginning April 10

The Kennedys tells the intimate story of the illustrious Kennedy family and brings to life this prolific piece of American history. Featuring an outstanding cast, this revealing drama spotlights one of America’s most legendary families as they have never been seen before. The Kennedys begins on November 8, 1960 – Election Day – as the American people must choose between the charismatic Senator John F. Kennedy and his more experienced opponent, Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Through flashbacks to the 1930’s and the 1940’s, The Kennedys explores the achievements, regrets, loyalties and betrayals that surrounded John, Bobby and Joe Sr., as well as the women who unconditionally supported them. The Kennedys delves deep into the events that shaped the iconic family, from the tragic death of Joe Jr. and Jack’s first run for congress, to Bobby’s’ undying loyalty to Jack’s political career and the significant introduction of Jack and Jacqueline Bouvier. Exposing triumphs and tragedies, The Kennedys concludes with the tragic assassinations of both Jack and Bobby, leaving behind a family – and a nation – in grief, left only with the dreams and spirit of Camelot.

Top Gear finally brings its high-adrenaline entertainment to America. Based on the hugely popular British version, this series tracks the colourful history of the automobile and celebrates the art of driving.

Hosted by comedian and car buff Adam Ferrara, champion rally and drift racer Tanner Foust and racing analyst Rutledge Wood, Top Gear features super-cars, extreme stunts and challenges, car reviews and celebrity interviews, as well as the eccentric adventures of its hosts.

Throughout the ten one-hour episodes, Top Gear explores the history of America, one lap at a time.

Episode 1: Cobra Attack

In the series premiere, there’s a battle between two snakes as Rutledge and Tanner give the soon-to-be replaced Dodge Viper SRT a fitting send off by pitting it against a Cobra attack helicopter through the streets of Griffin, Georgia. The hosts also settle which Lamborghini is the best in a 180 mile an hour desert drag race, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin takes on the Top Gear test track.

On the heels of a record breaking fall season, History Television’s momentum continues this winter with an incredible line-up of hot new series and highly-anticipated season premieres.

Beginning January 4, 2011, the new schedule features the broadcast premieres of Canadian original series Rodeo: Life on the Circuit and Museum Secrets, as well as new seasons of homegrown smash-hits Ice Pilots NWT and Greatest Tank Battles.

Viewers can also look forward to the Canadian premiere of the Ice Road Truckers spin-off, IRT: DEADLIEST ROADS and the second season of the international phenomenon, American Pickers.


New Winter Series:


Rodeo: Life on the Circuit (8 x 60mins) World Broadcast Premiere

Tuesdays at 8pm ET/PT beginning January 4

The tough, gritty world of Rodeo has played an important role in the lives of Canadians since the mid-1800’s and beginning this winter, the proud descendants of the original Rodeo families will take History Television viewers on the ride of their lives. Rodeo: Life on the Circuit is an eight-part Canadian original series that chronicles the lives of 14 brave professional cowboys and cowgirls as they compete in one of the most dangerous spectacles in the world. Featuring unprecedented access to the inner sanctum of the Professional Rodeo circuit, this new series delves deep into the historic roots of bull riding and explores the important role it plays in the lives of many Canadians and Canadian heritage. Rodeo: Life on the Circuit follows the characters, relationships and rivalry of life on the road and is an overall celebration of the beauty and culture of Western Canada. It’s the only sport in the world where a person can make a million dollars in eight seconds and win or lose, everything that they have worked for comes down to a matter of heart-pounding seconds.


IRT: DEADLIEST ROADS (10 x 60mins) Canadian Premiere

Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT beginning January 5

IRT: DEADLIEST ROADS takes some of the toughest truckers from the massively-popular series, Ice Road Truckers, and challenges them to haul their way through a new kind of hell on earth: the ancient highways of the Himalayas. This new spin-off series tests everything that the ice truckers have learned in more than 40 combined years of driving and forces them to adapt to white-knuckle road and driving conditions. From the ever-present danger of avalanches and trying to navigate through the crowded streets of Delhi, to wild weather conditions and driving a massive truck on the other side of the road, the challenges and risks are higher than ever before. 


Swamp People (10 x 60mins) Canadian Premiere

Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning January 5

Deep in the heart of Louisiana lies the largest swamp in the United States – a vast area that spans a million miles of inhospitable marshes and wetlands, where nature rules and humans struggle to tame it. Today, the people who inhabit this harsh yet majestic environment are known as the Cajuns, a group renowned throughout the world for their flavourful cuisine, distinctive music and vibrant culture. Resilient, self-reliant and fiercely independent, the Cajuns of the Atchafalaya Swamp still carry on many of their ancestors’ trades and traditions. Swamp People follows these people through a time of year that is crucial to their survival: the 30-day alligator hunting season. At its core, this is a story of proud and skillful people fighting to maintain an ancient way of life in a rapidly modernizing world, despite the many perils and trials that stand in their way.


Ancient Aliens (10 x 60mins) Canadian Premiere

Thursdays at 8pm ET/PT beginning January 6

According to ancient alien theorists, extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations and forever changing the course of human history. But how did this concept develop and is there any evidence to support it? Ancient Aliens launches an all-new expedition to seek out and evaluate the evidence, with a concentration on the latest discoveries from the last 30 years, including unusual DNA findings on man’s evolution and newly-decoded artifacts. It is a balanced investigation into a theory some believe cannot be true, but many agree cannot be ignored.


Museum Secrets (6 x 60mins) World Broadcast Premiere

Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning January 6

In this new Canadian original series, viewers are invited into the deepest and darkest corners of the world’s greatest museums – the Vatican, the Louvre, Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, London’s Natural History Museum and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – to uncover surprising stories and revealing secrets. Museum Secrets takes viewers beyond the public galleries and into hidden places that visitors are rarely allowed to see, from a vast storeroom where millions of creatures float in formaldehyde, to a noisy workshop where curators in hard-hats piece bones together into skeletons of colossal dinosaurs. In addition, fans of the show will find web exclusive secrets, video, and short, interactive experiences of hands-on history that delve deeper into the stories they see in each episode. The website launches prior to the series premiere at http://www.museumsecrets.tv 


Returning Fan-Favourites: 


American Pickers, Season 2 (12 x 60mins) Canadian Premiere

Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning January 4

Mike and Frank are back for the second season of the international hit series, American Pickers. As their junkyard journeys continue, the pickers rummage through ramshackle school buses, a burned storage building, forgotten barns, salvage yards, and rust heaps in search of what they call “good junk.” They come across a variety of valuable and wacky items including a 1950 Studebaker, carnival memorabilia and Victorian-era erotica. With nerves of steel, they try to strike deals with people who are often reluctant to part with their possessions.


Ice Pilots NWT, Season 2 (13 x 60mins) World Broadcast Premiere

Wednesdays at 8pm ET/PT beginning January 5

The critically-acclaimed powerhouse series, Ice Pilots NWT, returns for its hotly-anticipated second season on History Television. In the new season, Buffalo Joe tests a new batch of rampies desperate to become Buffalo pilots, Mikey travels to Venezuela in search of prized planes to add to Buffalo’s fleet and hockey fever spreads through Buffalo Airways as the DC-3 flies the iconic Stanley Cup on a tour of the North. Complementing the series, www.icepilots.com offers fans a robust collection of exclusive and content, including exclusive mobile videos and quizzes and online tours of the cockpits from the Buffalo fleet.


Greatest Tank Battles, Season 2 (10 x 60mins) World Broadcast Premiere

Mondays at 8pm ET/PT beginning January 17

Back for its second season, Greatest Tank Battles brings to life the most gripping and monumental tank battles ever fought, through stunning CGI animation and eyewitness accounts. Filmed on battlefields across the world, this action-packed Canadian original series puts viewers in the heat of the battles, witnessing historic combats through the eyes of the very men who manned the tanks and fought to the finish. 


Full episodes of Ice Pilots NWT, Greatest Tank Battles and Rodeo: Life on the Circuit will be available on history.ca the day after broadcast. 

The Pawn Stars return for a thrilling third season, featuring bigger deals, better items and brutal negotiations…

In a brand new third season, the Pawn Stars return to HISTORY™ to use their sharp-eyed skills to carefully assess the value of objects ranging from the totally obscure to the truly historic.

The Gold & Silver Pawn shop is a family affair and with three generations of men from the Harrison family welcoming customers and fans of the show alike into the Las Vegas store. The Harrisons live and breathe the pawning business and season three promises to feature the rarest, the weirdest and the best of the items they’ll ever see. And, if the first two seasons are anything to go by we’ll see some tough bargaining as well as family dramas and feuds with each Harrison having his own idea about what sells!

The Pawn Stars attract customers from all over the world and they travel across America just to get a taste of the family in action. The Harrisons are presented daily with mysterious pieces of history, ranging from Winchester rifles and rare movie memorabilia to secret sundials and pinball machines.

Will there be a big bang of a deal, or will the negotiations be too much to handle? As always, tensions run high between the family and we can’t wait to see whether Grandfather ‘Old Man’ Richard and son Rick finally let Grandson, Corey take the lead or will he miss out on those vital deals?

Join the Pawn Stars only on HISTORY™ this November as they make and break each crucial sale that comes their way.

Mondays at 9pm on History.

Mysterious Ruins tells the story of an expedition to a mysterious mountaintop ruin on Canada’s Atlantic coast that could be an archaeological time bomb.

Could it be an ancient Chinese settlement from before the arrival of Cabot and Columbus?

Based on the best-selling novel The Island of Seven Cities, Mysterious Ruins sees author Paul Chiasson leading the quest after years of research, while an expert reveals the secrets of Ming Dynasty settlements deep inside China.

For the first time since the publication of Chiasson’s explosive and controversial theory, Mysterious Ruins: Cape Breton will reveal all sides of the debate over what could be one of the greatest archaeological finds of modern time.

Mysterious Ruins: Cape Breton airs Saturday, December 11 at 7pm ET/PT only on History Television.