Animal Planet

It’s the cutest and cuddliest Animal Planet marathon of the year – and it’s just for moms! This Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 13 beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT – Animal Planet presents heart-melting specials sure to be hits with moms and babes alike.

First up is the Canadian premiere of MEET THE SLOTHS. This one-off special, filmed over the course of a year, captures the kookiness of sanctuary life through the stories of five main sloth characters including Toby, a newcomer to the sanctuary, who is looking for a mom of his own.

Then, TOO CUTE! KITTENS AND PUPPIES reveals why cuddly kittens and puppies are simply too loveable, too curious, and too cute to quit.

Highlights from this year’s MOTHER’S DAY MARATHON include:

 

MEET THE SLOTHS

Sunday, May 13 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT

In a sleepy corner of Costa Rica there is a very peculiar but extraordinary sanctuary. This is the only sanctuary in the world devoted to saving orphaned and injured sloths, and is home to over 160 of them, some of whom have become an internet sensation. It’s an upside-down world where the secrets of one of nature’s most enigmatic creatures are explored. It reveals a surprising soap opera of love, loss and lust, with more than a twist of humour, and shows that a sloth’s life is more than just slothful. For example, super cute and inseparable twins, Violet and Sebastian, are just three-months-old and struggling to survive. The pair developed a skin disorder and need to be shaved and put into special sloth pajamas – made from sports socks – to treat their condition.  

 

TOO CUTE! KITTENS AND PUPPIES

Sunday, May 13 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT

TOO CUTE! tells the remarkable coming-of-age stories of three adorable litters of puppies and kittens. From their unsteady first steps, the beginning of their lives will be an epic journey for these adventurous pets. In the first hour, see the world through the eyes of a kitten, and witness their fawning owners as they fall over themselves to accommodate their fiercely independent pets. Then, follow the birth and first months of three separate puppy litters. These adorable moments of a puppy’s life are shown the way they deserve to be seen – with amazing cinematography.

Just in time for all those new HD TVs under the tree, Bell Media announced today the high definition launch of three of its popular Factual channels: Animal Planet HD, Investigation Discovery HD and Discovery Science HD.

With these new 24-hour channels mirroring each channel’s SD schedule – now offered in captivating high definition and Dolby 5.1 audio – animals get a bigger bite, crimes are more captivating and science gets super-sized! 

Today, Animal Planet HD, Investigation Discovery HD and Discovery Science HD roll out on Bell Fibe TV on channels 1525, 1528 and 1523, respectively.  Viewers who subscribe to the standard definition (SD) versions of these channels on Bell Fibe TV will automatically receive the high definition (HD) versions at no additional cost.  A free preview of Animal Planet HD will be available to Bell Fibe TV customers until January 31, 2012.

Additionally, Animal Planet HD also launches today on Shaw on channel 251 (256 in Hamilton). Shaw will be offering their HD subscribers a free preview of Animal Planet HD until January 31, 2012 – and automatically provide the HD channel at no extra cost to viewers who already subscribe to Animal Planet (SD). 

“Today’s launch completes the Discovery portfolio’s HD offerings and joins Discovery Channel HD and Discovery World HD to offer the world’s best in factual high definition entertainment,” said Paul Lewis, President and General Manager, Discovery Channel. “Vibrant, fully immersive and captivating – this is how Discovery’s programming is meant to be seen and experienced.”

 

A taste of what’s to come in HD in early 2012:

 

Animal Planet HD is ready to roar – quite literally! – with a new series and specials in the works for 2012. First, explore the colourful and curious mating and survival strategies of the world’s most compelling creatures in LIFE (Jan. 8) as the critically-acclaimed BBC series with Sir David Attenborough makes its Animal Planet premiere. Then, as the 50th anniversary of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) approaches, get an in-depth look into an internationally renowned “icon” on MUTUAL OF OMAHA’S PANDAMANIA (Jan. 11). Also in January, meet the worst behaved pets in the world on BAD DOG! (Jan. 19); and then, go deep into the backwoods of wild Kentucky with legendary woodsman Ernie Brown Jr. as he takes on some of the most outlandish and outrageous nuisance residents these woods have to offer – including raccoons, skunks, snakes, venomous spiders and possums – on the Canadian premiere of CALL OF THE WILDMAN (Jan. 28).

From fibers and fingerprints to critical clues and cold cases, crime solving is even more captivating in HD!  Coming to Investigation Discovery HD in January, DEADLY WOMEN (Jan. 2) returns with more of history’s most alluring and deadly female killers. New Canadian series, INHERITING TROUBLE (Jan. 13) explores explosive family dynamics when inheritance, greed and grief are in play. Help is on the line when CALL 911 (Jan. 22) returns with more real 911 calls between the victims and dispatchers. Then, is it a ghost or just leaky pipes? The team from PARANORMAL HOME INSPECTORS (Jan. 28) are back to uncover more unexplained problems in Canadian homes.

From space to sex to science fiction, Discovery Science is bigger and bolder in HD this January! Rod Roddenberry celebrates the legacy of Star Trek as he explores the deep impact of his father’s singular vision for the future in TREK NATION (Jan. 2). Questions about sex, drugs, aliens and more are explored and answered on CURIOSITY (Jan. 7). Next, the METEORITE MEN (Jan. 9) return to hunt for more outer-space objects. Then, PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION (Jan. 16) profiles the great minds of science fiction who imagined the future, and for some, saw their fantasies become reality.

When it snows like cats and dogs out there this holiday season, snuggle up with some of Animal Planet’s favourite puppies, kittens – and even a sasquatch – for special Christmas and New Years presentations.

Beginning Christmas Eve, “Must-See AP” goes into overdrive with a full-slate of the year’s top-rated marathons and specials – including CATS 101, HERO DOGS OF 9-11, BREEDER OF THE PACK, FINDING BIGFOOT, PIT BOSS and DINOSAUR REVOLUTION. Animal Planet’s parade of holiday hits includes: 

From adorable Goldendoodle puppies on BREEDER OF THE PACK to the sasquatch search on FINDING BIGFOOT, Animal Planet wraps up 2011 with marathons galore, beginning Christmas Eve.

 

MUTUAL OF OMAHA / NATURAL WORLD MARATHON (6×60)

Saturday, December 24 at 6 p.m. ET – 12 a.m. ET (3 p.m. – 9 p.m. PT)

Grab the kids – and granny too! – for Animal Planet’s six-hour Christmas Eve marathon spectacular featuring two series that define the mesmerizing beauty of our planet’s most incredible creatures. First, go on an extraordinary adventure with MUTUAL OF OMAHA’S WILD KINGDOM, one of television’s longest running series. Investigate the lives of animals around the globe as they struggle to survive, unraveling the mysteries surrounding them. From the spectacular reefs of the Mozambique coast to the wild Indian monsoon season, witness the beauty of exotic animals in their natural habitat. Then, it’s NATURAL WORLD, the classic wildlife series which tells in-depth stories of incredible animals, featuring award-winning photography in some of the most extraordinary places in the world.

 

MRS. ASHBORO’S CAT

Sunday, December 25 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT

In one of her first major roles, Academy Award-nominee Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) stars as one-half of a father-daughter pair who get more than they bargained for when they buy an old house that was formerly inhabited by the nice old Mrs. Ashboro and her pet cat, Margaret. When strange things start happening in the house, all fingers point to the presence of Margaret, who died the same day as Mrs. Ashboro. But why has she come back to haunt them?

 

CATS 101

Sunday, December 25 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

Discover everything about your feline friend in CATS 101. This special Christmas Day treat highlights the frisky, feisty and contagiously cute behaviors that helped these cheeky creatures overtake dogs as the most popular pet in North America. Learn about the various breeds, their genetic history, famous felines and quirky cat facts.

 

HERO DOGS OF 9-11

Sunday, December 25 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

This one-hour documentary special tells the true stories of the working dogs that were part of the rescue and recovery operation in lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The special focuses on the unsung hero pups who answered the call, their enduring legacy, and what the future holds for the working dog today. 

 

BREEDER OF THE PACK Season 2 MARATHON (8×30)

Sunday, December 25 at 8 p.m. ET – 12 a.m. ET (5 p.m. – 9 p.m. PT)

On Christmas Day, catch up with Animal Planet’s BREEDER OF THE PACK. Follow the trials and tribulations of Canada’s most passionate breeders as they try to enhance and improve the breed of the dog they love. The eight-part marathon offers an intimate and in-depth understanding of what it takes to excel in this very demanding business – the hopes, triumphs, crises and conflicts. This season’s A-List pooches include Afghans, Border Collies, English Bulldogs, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, German Shepherds, Central Asian Shepherds, Bullmastifs and the most-buzzed about dog on the market – the Goldendoodle! 

 

FINDING BIGFOOT MARATHON (7×60, 1x 120)

Monday, December 26 at 3 p.m. ET – 12 a.m. ET (3 p.m. – 9 p.m. PT)

Boxing Day is all about Bigfoot on Animal Planet as the four-person team from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) – the leading scientific research organization exploring the Bigfoot/Sasquatch mystery – investigates supposed Sasquatch sightings by interviewing locals, examining evidence and infiltrating the woodlands and forests in places where Bigfoot has been reported. The team listens to harrowing tales of run-ins with Bigfoot before generating reconstructions of the encounters to judge their plausibility or dismiss them as hoaxes. Then, outfitted with the latest technology, including night-vision and infrared cameras, the team sets out on exhilarating and eerie investigations where any broken branch or peculiar noise could mean a Sasquatch is lurking nearby.

 

PIT BOSS MARATHON (8×60)

Saturday, December 31 at 6 p.m. ET – 2 a.m. ET (3 p.m. – 11 p.m. PT)

Welcome 2012 in style with Shorty Rossi – a little person with a tall order. He runs two operations – a Hollywood talent management company for little people and a pit bull rescue which he holds near and dear to his heart. Rossi has lofty ideas but is armed with a tough, no-nonsense attitude and an entertainment rolodex to help his cause – to rescue and rehabilitate pit bulls and place these “underdogs” in loving, nurturing homes. Joining forces with Rossi to help with his mission are his three employees and fellow little people who have the biggest hearts for dogs that are often larger than they are. Knowing full well what it’s like to be judged, the foursome takes on the gargantuan task of rescuing dogs in need and raising awareness about the most misunderstood dog of all – the pit bull.

 

DINSOSAUR REVOLUTION MARATHON (4×60)

Sunday, January 1 at 7 p.m. ET – 11 p.m. ET (4 p.m. – 8 p.m. PT)

From 2012 to the land before time…DINOSAUR REVOLUTION combines the talent of the world’s best dinosaur illustrators and animators with the latest paleontological research.   Presented with sparse narration and the latest cutting-edge animation and computer generated storytelling techniques, this four-hour New Years Day marathon features never-before-seen intimate behaviors to illustrate the extraordinary life of dinosaurs. A host of new behaviors are featured throughout, including exotic mating dances, the inner workings of T-Rex’s nuclear family and new creatures like a Jurassic flying squirrel and frogs so big they could eat dinosaurs.

Who cares about getting punk’d, when you can get dunked! This November, Animal Planet ups the ante big time with new and exciting Canadian premieres and specials that the whole family is sure to love.

First, go behind-the-scenes with two businessmen brothers-in-law as they run one of the world’s leading and most successful aquarium building companies on the hit series TANKED (Nov 7).

Next, meet Venom One, an elite group of specially-trained fire fighter/paramedics within the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue unit on SWAMP WARS (Nov 16).

Then, FINDING BIGFOOT ends its first season on a high with the wrap-up special FINDING BIGFOOT: BEHIND THE SEARCH (Nov 26).

And finally, skip the Grey Cup and catch two marquee special events when the PUPPY BOWL returns for more canine kicks!

Immediately following this special presentation, see how different animal species bond like never before with the new Canadian special WHEN ANIMALS ADOPT (Nov 27).

Programming highlights for Animal Planet in November include:

 

NEW SERIES

 

TANKED

Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT, beginning November 7

Get dunked when TANKED makes its much awaited Canadian premiere this fall! The six-part series delves into the high-decibel, family-owned business of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM), one of America’s leading and most successful builders of aquariums. Led by brothers-in-law (and business partners, best friends and rivals) Brett Raymer and Wayde King and housed in a state-of-the-art, cavernous facility located in the centre of Las Vegas, ATM has created thousands of enormous, conceptual aquariums for high-profile clients. Working with opinionated and outrageous family and staff, Raymer and King take on jaw-dropping aquarium builds in intricate and interesting locations, including inside restaurants, casinos, banks, hotels, churches, offices, mansions, museums and zoos. Their tanks are for celebrities and ordinary Joes, building habitats for the most unusual and larger-than-life creatures in the world.

 

SWAMP WARS

Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT, beginning November 16

When people think of Miami, they think of the ultimate vacation – lying on the beach, shopping sprees and enjoying the great outdoors. But, while Miami offers all of these things, South Florida is actually a giant swamp filled with snakes. Snakes are everywhere. Every single yard in Miami has snakes – not to mention, dangerous alligators, vicious Tegu lizards and Africanized bees. When it comes to the planet’s most venomous creatures, there is only one team who has the knowledge and fearlessness to battle them – Venom One. Venom One is an elite group of specially trained fire fighter/paramedics within Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. It’s the only emergency response team of its kind, and it currently holds the largest anti-venom bank in the world. In this docu-drama series, witness the intensity and urgency of the job as this courageous team takes down killer snakes, rushes against the clock to deliver anti-venoms and ultimately saves lives. 

 

NEW SPECIALS

 

FINDING BIGFOOT: BEHIND THE SEARCH

Saturday, November 26 at 10 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT

This one-hour special features members of the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) team as they discuss their excursions to find the mythical creature. The team returns to a gathering in Oregon at Ike’s Pizza, called “Bigfoot and Beer” to talk personally to fans. The team talks about their excursions to find Bigfoot and reflect on them, answer questions from their fans, and play footage that was not aired on previous episodes. 

 

WHEN ANIMALS ADOPT

Sunday, November 27 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT

A tiger cub with no mother in sight. A baby hippo. An abandoned meercat pup. Without nurturing, these infants face certain death. Now, in this one-hour special presentation, discover stories of the most unlikely cross species relationships imaginable from a chimp bottle-feeding a tiger cub to a giant tortoise snuggling a baby hippo. WHEN ANIMALS ADOPT views these remarkable relationships first hand, and, through the caregivers, biologists and animal behaviourists who study them, explores what they suggest about the nature of animal emotions.

 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

 

PUPPY BOWL 

Sunday, November 27 at 6 p.m. ET/ 3 p.m. PT

In today’s “other Big Game,” Animal Planet has reinvented football with the cutest, fuzziest – and sometimes fiercest – players on the field. When we say “rookie” we aren’t kidding – some of these athletes are just nine weeks old! Join Animal Planet for tackles, fumbles, fouls – and even a half-time show! – at the PUPPY BOWL! From bulldogs to boxers and everything in between, these pups enjoy a spirited game in a spectacular stadium.

For decades, oil and fishing industries coexisted on Louisiana’s immaculate shoreline. But, on April 20, 2010, the explosion of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig changed everything – devastating the ecosystem, the culture and spirit of Gulf Coast businesses and residents, and shocking millions around the world.

BLACK TIDE: VOICES FROM THE GULF tracks the lives of Louisianans living in the aftermath of the largest offshore oil spill in American history.

Premiering Sunday, September 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Animal Planet teams up with Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger for a not-to-be-missed two-hour special exploring how 200 million gallons of oil forever changed a way of life and how the region is rebuilding and finding new ways to survive.

It’s not just about a livelihood for residents of the Gulf – the oil and fishing industries help define their identity.

Over the course of the year following the spill, Berlinger and his crew embedded themselves with people from all walks of life in the region, including commercial fisherman, an individual on the Deepwater Horizon rig, scientific experts, and representatives from BP and the U.S. government to gain intimate access to their stories, in particular BP’s clean-up operation. T

hrough these first-hand accounts, BLACK TIDE: VOICES FROM THE GULF paints a picture of the short-term and potential long-term effects on the people and animals that call the rich Gulf waters home.

For a region that provides 30% of America’s seafood and oil supply, having these industries grind to a halt compounds an already dire economic situation. The ripple effect of the moratorium on drilling and people’s reluctance to eat Gulf seafood over safety concerns permeates all facets of life on the Gulf coast. Through this lens, BLACK TIDE: VOICES FROM THE GULF delves into the disaster’s impact on local businesses, the environment and on the health of residents and wildlife.

If you thought the JERSEY SHORE gang was trouble – then you definitely won’t want to mess with THE PACK.

Premiering on May 17 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT and continuing Tuesdays on Animal Planet, this five-part series reveals the inner workings of one of the most fascinating pack-living predators in the Indian forests: Asiatic wild dogs, or dholes.

Until a few decades ago, they were branded as bloody killers and vermin by humans and were mercilessly slaughtered to near extinction.

In the spirit of cult hit MEERCAT MANOR, THE PACK explores the world of a stunningly beautiful but endangered species through the eyes of one extraordinary pack leader. So take a seat, Snooki, and make way for Kennai!    

THE PACK is the story of a dominant dhole pack and the fate of a rebel female named Kennai as she rises from loner to queen – eventually forming her own pack. Kennai, whose mother was killed by a tiger when she was young, decides to leave her natal pack, all alone, in search of her future.

On her journey, she faces loss and hardship. But she also manages to evade innumerable crises, including challenges by tigers, bigger packs and natural calamities.  Episode highlights include:

 

THE PACK: “Episode 1”

Tuesday, May 17 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT

Kennai’s epic story begins when she is a young pup, orphaned after losing her mother to a tiger. Ever the adventurer, Kennai decides to leave her natal pack – alone – in search a future, gambling on survival in the dangerous forests of India.

 

THE PACK: “Episode 2”

Tuesday, May 24 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT

Kennai and her tiny wild pack are working to expand their territory in the Indian forest. But these audacious forays into new territory are also extremely dangerous. And while the pack challenges the leopard population without issue… tigers are a different matter.

 

THE PACK: “Episode 3”

Tuesday, May 31 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT

Two new males – brothers Maccha and Bidda – join the pack. Kennai and Maccha begin courting… but he’s also trying to seduce Chukki, Kennai’s daughter. Poor Kennai gave her all to this new male, but now she is in danger of losing her hold over the pack.

 

THE PACK: “Episode 4”

Tuesday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT

Kennai, now five years old, is ready to raise her third litter. Chukki, her daughter, is also pregnant. But when a forest fire heads in the direction of the den, the pups – and the pack – are in jeopardy.

 

THE PACK: “Episode 5”

Tuesday, June 14 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT

Meet Kennai and Chukki’s new litters. The pups are now out of the den and roaming the forests with the adults. But sharing your home with tigers can be tricky… can Kennai escape her mother’s fate and become queen of the forest?

Dive into May as Animal Planet heads to sea. Get re-introduced to Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew on the WHALE WARS MAY-PALOOZA.

Also, set sail with former Royal Marine Monty Halls, when GREAT OCEAN ADVENTURES returns for a second season, once again featuring encounters with some of the most iconic creatures in the ocean.

Also, in May, don’t miss the Canadian premiere of THE PACK and the Animal Planet premiere of ANIMAL MAGNETISM; and finally, grab the popcorn and settle in for “Family Feature Saturdays” as Animal Planet presents animal-themed movies, including Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real (May 7), Dr. Doolittle (May 14), Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (May 21) and The Man From Snowy River (May 28).

May’s programming highlights on Animal Planet include the WHALE WARS MAY-PALOOZA with Seasons 1 and 2 re-airing weekdays at 5 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. PT

 

Programming highlights for Animal Planet in May include:

MARATHONS

 

WHALE WARS MAY-PALOOZA

Airing Mon. – Fri. at 5 p.m. ET/2p.m. PT, beginning May 16

Start over with Sea Shepherd! In advance of the Season 4 premiere of the ever-captivating WHALE WARS (June 5), Animal Planet begins a May marathon of Season 1 and 2 episodes set to air Monday through Friday. Highlighting both the controversial whaling trade and the tactics that Sea Shepherd and its staff use to thwart, WHALE WARS is compelling documentary filmmaking at its best. Each weekday, embark on a powerful and adrenaline-fueled adventure as Canadian Captain Paul Watson and his crew harass Japanese whalers off the coast of Antarctica. *Note: Season 3 re-broadcasts of WHALE WARS continue on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

 

RETURNING SERIES

GREAT OCEAN ADVENTURES – Season 2

Wed., May 4 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Back for a second season of exploration and excitement, Monty Halls encounters mythical animals in the world’s oceans. Each dynamic episode answers a riddle, explores a legend, or discovers a truth behind animals that have bewitched and bewildered humans for generations. The trail in every program starts with a tantalizing clue that leads Halls to the most extreme and remote locations on the planet, culminating in a heart stopping close encounter with a legendary giant. 

 

NEW SERIES

ANIMAL MAGNETISM

Mondays at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, beginning May 2

This heartwarming twenty-six part Canadian series links humankind with nature in a profound and irrefutable way, and reveals how animals are helping people and why people have always opened their hearts and homes to animals. Each episode features three unique, entertaining and unforgettable stories of the bond between people and animals.

 

THE PACK

Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/ 9 p.m. PT, beginning May 17

Asiatic wild dogs are one of the most fascinating pack-living predators in the Indian forests. Until a few decades ago, humans branded them as bloody killers and vermin and they were mercilessly slaughtered to near extinction. This five-part series tells the story of Kennai, a bold female wild dog and her gripping tale of survival.

 

FAMILY FEATURE SATURDAYS

Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real

Sat., May 7 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real envisions how dragons may have evolved into a number of different species through the ages and around the globe – if they had been real. Working with production crews from around the world and collaborating with top scientists, artists and animators, this Animal Planet special brings dragons to life in a completely new way.

Narrated by internationally acclaimed television and film star Patrick Stewart, this 90-minute  special shows viewers dragons from the inside out.

 

Dr. Doolittle

Sat., May 14 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Loosely based on the children’s story of the same name, this 1998 Eddie Murphy laugher returns to Animal Planet. The movie stars Oscar-nominee Murphy (Dreamgirls) as John Dolittle, who as a child could talk to animals. Young John grows out of this stage, however, and even goes through an animal-hating phase before he knocks his head in a car accident and regains his inner ear for animals.

 

Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog

Sat., May 21 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Angus (Jesse Bradford, THE WEST WING) adopts a yellow Labrador Retriever and names him Yellow. Several days later, while travelling along the coast of British Columbia with Angus’ father, the boy and dog become stranded when turbulent waters capsize their boat. Angus, schooled by his father in wilderness survival skills, and assisted by the super-smart Yellow dog, tries to attract rescuers and save both himself and his prized pooch.

 

The Man From Snowy River

Sat.,  May 28 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Inspired by the epic poem of the same name, this film was a major step forward for the regenerated Australian film industry of the early 1980s. This Australian western spotlights Tom Burlinson (AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT) as Jim Craig, a headstrong young man who goes to work for a powerful cattle baron. Craig falls in love with his boss’ daughter, and becomes enmeshed in a bitter land feud. Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas (Spartacus) has the dual role of hard-hearted landowner Harrison and grizzled, one-legged old prospector Spur.

From great Grizzlies to fancy felines, Animal Planet explores the big, the small, the wild and the domestic in March.

Among this month’s highlights, see how one brave biologist gains the trust of the most dangerous bears on the planet in ALONE AMONG GRIZZLIES.

Then, get ready for a cavalcade of cats on MUST LOVE CATS – a globe-trotting adventure that packs wild, wonderful and heartwarming encounters into a journey to the centre of the feline universe.

Also in March, don’t miss the Canadian premieres of PET-O-RAMA and ALASKA DOGS. And finally, grab the popcorn and settle in for “Family Feature Saturdays” as Animal Planet presents animal-themed movies, including Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (March 5), Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story (March 12), Napoleon (March 19) and In The Company of Whales (March 26).

 

Programming highlights for Animal Planet in March include:

 

NEW SPECIALS

 

ALONE AMONG GRIZZLIES

Wed., March 16 at 10 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT

British cameraman Richard Terry teams up with Swiss biologist David Bittner in the remote Alaskan wilderness to gain unprecedented insight into Bittner’s unique experiences with grizzly bears. ALONE AMONG GRIZZLIES follows the brave biologist to one of nature’s most epic events, the Alaskan salmon run, where he gets within touching distance of some of the biggest and most dangerous bears on Earth – and gains their trust. Packed with adventure, stunning wildlife footage and moments of genuine jeopardy, this one-hour special follows the two adventurers as they attempt to survive off the land alongside the mighty coastal brown bears of Kodiak Island.

 

NEW SERIES

 

MUST LOVE CATS

Tuesdays at 7 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT, starting March 29

MUST LOVE CATS is a celebration of fascinating felines and the people who love them. From cats that saved their owners’ lives to swanky cat-only hotels, the series spans the realm of all things “cat.” It offers a potpourri of amazing feline stories, jam-packed with interesting factoids and trivia. This six-part series is hosted by musician John Fulton, who combines his love for ditties with kitties. He is on a mission to prove to himself and the world that America is, in fact, a Cat-nation.

 

PET-O-RAMA

Tues., March 8 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

The first-ever amateur pet talent and beauty contest takes place right in their owners’ home living rooms. In this one-hour special, pets face off against each other via webcams, and celebrity judges.  

 

ALASKA DOGS

Tues., March 22 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

Dogs are crucial to life in Alaska, and the working dogs of this Arctic state are uniquely adapted to the harsh environment. From avalanche rescue dogs, to sled-pulling Malamutes, this one-hour special profiles Alaska’s remarkable dogs and their devoted owners.

 

FAMILY FEATURE SATURDAYS

 

Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

Sat., March 5 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Based on the famous nature documentary series, The Crocodile Hunter, this feature film stars Steve Irwin and his wife Terri Irwin. The Irwins play themselves filming an episode of The Crocodile Hunter while trying to protect a crocodile from poachers. What the Irwins don’t know is that the crocodile is involved with a missing top-secret U.S. satellite beacon, and the poachers are actually American special agents sent to retrieve it. In the Outback and through the bush, the Crocodile Hunter is out to save the croc and relocate him.

 

Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story

Sat., March 12 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Simon Jackson is a charismatic teen who is passionate about the environment and spends much of his time alone in the British Columbian wilderness. Attacked during one such trip, Jackson is rescued by a rare white Kermode Bear known as the “Spirit Bear.” When he discovers that these bears are endangered and their habitat is targeted for clear-cutting, Jackson turns into a passionate and vocal teenaged political activist.

 

Napoleon

Sat., March 19 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Life as a house pet isn’t much fun for young Muffin, a puppy who dreams of being a “wild dog.” So when he gets his chance to escape his suburban backyard in a helium balloon-powered basket, the pup hops on board, changes his name to Napoleon and sets off on the adventure of a lifetime. Napoleon is a wonderful treat the whole family will love!

 

In the Company of Whales

Sat., March 26 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Experience breathtaking close-up encounters with the largest mammal that ever lived – the Blue Whale. Follow Humpbacks, Orcas, Right Whales and dolphins for a stunning new perspective on these mysterious marine mammoths. Narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men), the film resonates in an exploding panorama of colour and excitement.

Loved; abused; misunderstood. Animal Planet delves into the world of pets and their – sometimes unlawful – owners this January with a host of hard-hitting new programs.

Kicking off the month is the latest special in the undercover series, AP INVESTIGATES: GANG DOGS, and Season 2 of the heartwarming docu-drama PITBULLS & PAROLEES returns to transform pit bull stereotypes and repair their tarnished reputations.

Then, from the producers of the hit series INTERVENTION, comes the all-new program, CONFESSIONS: ANIMAL HOARDING; and for an intimate look at the lives of some of America’s most extreme animal owners, catch DANGEROUSLY DEVOTED.

Finally, launching this month on Animal Planet comes “Family Feature Saturdays” at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT beginning with Dr. Dolittle on January 8, Man From Snowy River on January 15, and Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog on January 22.

 

Programming highlights for Animal Planet in January include:

 

NEW SPECIALS

 

AP INVESTIGATES: GANG DOGS

Sunday, January 2 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

Though dogs have been known for centuries as man’s best friend, gang-members treat them like petty thugs. In this one-hour special watch as gangs across America corrupt young pups, turning them into lean, mean killing-machines to guard their drug stashes, protect them from rival gangs and intimidate the public. Gang dogs are forced to pay for their own survival by gambling their lives in street-alley dogfights or through the horrific practice of “trunking.”

 

DANGEROUSLY DEVOTED

Friday, January 28 at 10 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT

This one-hour special provides a gripping and intimate look at the lives of some of America’s most radical animal owners. Facing life crises because of their extreme affection for their pets, DANGEROUSLY DEVOTED features a woman facing eviction who has over 200 dogs and a man who left his family for a cargo van full of reptiles and other animals.

 

NEW SERIES

 

CONFESSIONS: ANIMAL HOARDING

Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT beginning Jan. 7

Animal hoarding is defined as the compulsive need to possess and control animals – and often includes acquiring a high and unmanageable number of them. This all-new 10-part series takes an unflinching, honest look at animal hoarding, the people and pets affected, and the challenges of confronting this psychological condition.

 

RETURNING SERIES

 

NATURAL WORLD

Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT beginning Jan. 5

This classic BBC wildlife series tells in-depth stories of incredible animals, featuring award-winning photography in some of the most extraordinary places in the world. Eight new one-hour episodes featuring “The Dolphins of Shark Bay,” “Million Dollar Otter,” “Radio Gibbon” and “Chimp-Cam” return to Animal Planet beginning this January.

 

PITBULLS AND PAROLEES

Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT beginning Jan. 6

In the middle of nowhere, 200 pit bulls meet six convicted felons on a life-saving journey for a last chance at redemption in Season 2 of this fiery 12-part series. At the centre of it all is one extraordinary woman – Tia Maria Torres – who devotes her days and nights to giving the underdogs of the canine and human worlds a second chance.

 

FAMILY FEATURE SATURDAYS

 

Dr. Dolilttle

Saturday, January 8 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

A workaholic doctor estranged from his family – played by Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop, The Nutty Professor and Shrek) – rediscovers his ability to communicate with animals, which turns his life upside down and ultimately enables him to mend his ways before he loses everything that’s dear to him.

 

Man From Snowy River

Saturday, January 15 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

This coming-of-age story centres on a mountain boy orphaned when his father is killed by a falling tree in a horse stampede and sent to a cattle ranch to earn his keep.

 

Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog

Saturday, January 22 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT

Washed ashore in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest after a storm at sea separates him from his father, 11-year-old Angus Mccormick has only his wiles and a trusted canine friend with which to survive.

Whether you’re spoiling your pet with the best critter-friendly toys, snuggling up with your loved ones to enjoy the wonders of the animal kingdom or second-guessing a potential purchase of an exotic animal, you’ll love the holiday feast of specials and marathons Animal Planet is serving up this season!

Beginning Christmas Eve, Animal Planet presents two back-to-back special premieres of YOUR PET WANTS THIS and YOUR PET WANTS THIS TOO! beginning at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. Then, on Christmas Day, warm up to the fire and gather your family for a heartwarming marathon of ECHO AND THE ELEPHANTS OF AMBOSELI starting at 9 a.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, followed by a Season 8 marathon of the landmark series BIG CAT DIARY at 3:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

Then, skip the stores this Boxing Day and stay home for Animal Planet’s gripping 14-hour WHALE WARS marathon at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT. And finally, ring in 2011 with an eye-opening three hour special of FATAL ATTRACTIONS beginning at 10 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT.

 

ANIMAL PLANET’S HOLIDAY PROGRAMMING AND MARATHON SCHEDULE:

 

YOUR PET WANTS THIS (1X60) *CDN Premiere*

Friday, December 24 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT

Americans spend billions of dollars on their pets every year, and while the pet business is booming, innovation is the name of the game. From an airline catering exclusively to pets and GPS tracking units for your dog, to robotic litter boxes for your cat, YOUR PET WANTS THIS showcases the latest and greatest in products for your favourite pet.

 

YOUR PET WANTS THIS TOO! (1X60) *CDN Premiere*

Friday, December 24 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

From dog powered scooters and talking water bowls, to toilet-training tools for your cat, YOUR PET WANTS THIS TOO! introduces the proud inventors, ecstatic critters and happy owners of some of the coolest gadgets and gizmos available for pets of all shapes and sizes.

 

ECHO AND THE ELEPHANTS OF AMBOSELI MARATHON (13X30)

Saturday, December 25 at 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET (10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. PT)

Alongside 1,500 other wild African elephants, Echo – the oldest female and head of her family – guides four generations of her relatives through a cruel famine. Observing her are American scientist Cynthia Moss and her team from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. As Echo nears the end of her life and prepares to pass on the reigns of her African kingdom, Moss and team watch nearby as she leads her family out of harm’s way, steers clear of battling tuskers, prevents clashes with neighbours over water, crops or grazing and avoids natural calamities like deadly mudtraps.

 

BIG CAT DIARY Season 8 MARATHON (5X30)

Saturday, December 25 at 3:30 – 6 p.m. ET (4:30 – 7 p.m. PT)

Capturing everyday intimate moments of three groups of big cats in Kenya’s Masai Mara –cheetahs, leopards and lions – BIG CAT DIARY blends tender moments and thrilling action to make this landmark series so addictive. Watch as Bella the leopard is being courted by the area’s males, while Honey the cheetah makes some life-threatening decisions and lioness Tamu has to protect her family from a herd of buffalo.

 

WHALE WARS Season 3 MARATHON (14X60)

Sunday, December 26 at 10 a.m. ET – Monday, December 27 at 12 a.m. ET

(Sunday, December 26 at 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. PT)

The Sea Shepherds return for Season 3 of WHALE WARS with more ships, more crew and more fervour as the Antarctic whaling battle continues to escalate. Highlighting both the controversial whaling trade and the tactics that the Sea Shepherd Society and its staff and volunteers use to attempt to cripple it, this series documents the group’s three-month journey to the South Ocean Whale Sanctuary at the far end of the globe.

 

FATAL ATTRACTIONS MARATHON (3X60)

Friday, December 31 at 10 p.m. ET – Saturday, January 1 at 1 a.m. ET

(Friday, December 31 at 11 p.m. ET – Saturday, January 1 at 2 a.m. ET)

Just how close can you really get to wild animals? Each episode of FATAL ATTRACTIONS goes inside the homes of wild pet owners who insist that sharing their lives with deadly big cats, chimpanzees and venomous reptiles is worth the risk. Watch as exotic pet ownership cases are carefully re-enacted, scrutinized and questioned, and as owners unhesitatingly share their experiences and offer explanations as to why their love for these deadly animals is worth jeopardizing something horrible – even death.