[01/07/04 - 12:00 AM]
TCA Winter Press Tour: Tlc, Animal Planet, Travel Channel
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association began its winter press tour this week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters.

Here's a breakdown of the highlights of Discovery Networks' presentation (via press release):


-- New Six-Part Series Begins March 2004 --

If a successful company is built from the ground up, what happens when the "top dog" has to return to his or her humble beginnings? In NOW WHO�S BOSS?, a fresh new series from TLC, corporate leaders are catapulted back to the frontlines of their industries�gaining a newfound knowledge and respect for all of their employees who make the companies run�while enduring grueling on-the-job training that is both humorous and inspiring.

Executives are tasked with unexpected duties�an airline head becomes a flight attendant, serving peanuts and cocktails in the aisles; a cosmetics chief attempts to apply makeup to customers at a beauty counter; a high-profile hotel mogul attends to housekeeping duties at a lush resort; a theme park executive scales a 130-foot ride during the dead of night for routine repairs; two former lawyers-turned-restaurateurs flip pizzas during the busy lunch rush; and a luxury resort president performs and dances in a nightly all-staff cabaret revue.

Slated to premiere on Monday, March 8, 2004, at 10:00 PM (ET/PT), NOW WHO�S BOSS? features some of America�s most dynamic, innovative and successful executives, including:

� Jonathan Tisch, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Loews Hotels
� Dan Brestle, Group President, The Est�e Lauder Companies (at Stila Cosmetics)
� John D. Selvaggio, President, Song Air Service (a subsidiary of Delta Airlines)
� Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield, Co-Founders, Co-CEOs & Co-Chairmen of the Board, California Pizza Kitchen
� Skip Sherman, Senior Vice President of Entertainment, Universal Orlando
� John Vanderslice, President & Chief Executive Officer, Club Med Americas

Nearly every employed person in the United States wonders if their boss knows the daily demands of their work. Now, when executives take on new duties in NOW WHO�S BOSS?, these seasoned executives are reminded how their companies really work, what the frustrations and workload are like, and what their employees think of them.

NOW WHO�S BOSS? is a series of hour-long episodes that offers a provocative and entertaining look at the workplace�as the boss descends from the boardroom to the mailroom, from behind the mahogany desk to behind the wooden mop, from reading financial reports to punching in timecards. Preconceived notions dissipate as high-level managers find themselves out of their natural confines and comfort zones�struggling for credibility and respect from the people who they manage. As they overcome the challenges of their new "duties as assigned," the series follows them as they toil their way to a transformation of executive proportions! The experience was so transforming that Loews Hotels� Jonathan Tisch has even implemented a real-life version of NOW WHO�S BOSS? at his company so his own executives experience the front lines.

"Participating in NOW WHO�S BOSS? was a true hands-on learning experience," noted Jonathan Tisch. "While I knew that Loews Hotels staff had some of the most professional and dedicated employees in the industry, my respect for them has grown tremendously."

"My experience working in the trenches helped me to remember that every decision management makes affects people�s lives," commented Dan Brestle who worked at Est�e Lauder�s Stila Cosmetics during the filming of NOW WHO�S BOSS?

"Word got out that we were working in restaurants, and employees were elated," said Rick Rosenfield of California Pizza Kitchen, who, along with Larry Flax, toiled in one of their locations.

NOW WHO�S BOSS? is produced by New York Times Television for TLC. The executive producer for TLC is Michael Klein. For New York Times Television, Matthew Gould is executive producer.


-- New Workplace Series Helps Put Real Job Seekers in Real Jobs --

In today�s fluctuating employment market, prospective employees are vying for the job that will balance their lives, help them achieve inner peace, make them the best at their game � or maybe, just make them loads of money. But whatever your dream job is, putting an end to the stressful classifieds search and the nerve-racking interview is everyone�s idea of a dream job search. TLC�s newest series, HELP WANTED, takes contestants vying for their ideal job and ups the ante. These participants go head-to-head with one another, enduring stress tests, physical trials and interrogations to get the job. HELP WANTED premieres on Monday, April 19 at 10 PM ET/PT.

HELP WANTED is an exciting competition that pits five individuals against each other for just one job opening. Occupations such as lifeguard, stunt person, hibachi chef and team mascot are on the line as these job applicants try and survive a series of challenges to avoid elimination and secure their dream job. It�s the most intense, life-altering experience that most of these competitors will ever face.

Host Gina Nigido (Fear Factor) guides HELP WANTED job seekers from start to finish, kicking off the show with the Minimum Requirements Challenge, a test of job skills that�s anything but basic. From a three-story jump through the twisted steel remains of an abandoned factory to turning an onion into the Hibachi restaurant crowd pleaser and work of art, our applicants never know what is coming next. With each test they are eliminated, one-by-one, until just three contestants remain to go head-to-head with their potential future boss in an intimidating Job Interview.

Finally, with just two candidates left, they must endure the grueling Stress Test, an extreme challenge that will push our toughest applicants to their absolute breaking point. And if they survive that, they must face the boss for the final decision � and only one lucky applicant will hear those magic words "YOU�RE HIRED."

Online users can learn more about HELP WANTED and chat with other fans about the series by clicking on TLC at discovery.com. True Entertainment produces HELP WANTED for TLC. The executive producer for TLC is Paul DonVito. For True Entertainment, Steven Weinstock is executive producer.


-- Season Two Promises More of the Fast-paced, High-stakes and High-anxiety Action That Made Season One the Most Popular Series in Network History --

The Travel Channel today announced that the launch of season two of the WORLD POKER TOUR (WPT) premieres Wednesday, March 3, 2004. The WORLD POKER TOUR airs Wednesday nights from 9-11 PM (ET/PT), and will consist of 15 poker events filmed in casinos and card rooms around the world. The series, the most popular on the Travel Channel, continues to revolutionize televised poker. Through expert analysis, multiple camera angles, and the patented WPT Cam � which shows close-ups of the players� hole cards � the WORLD POKER TOUR has created a whole new element of high-stakes, high-anxiety excitement.

"The WORLD POKER TOUR is all aces with viewers, and we are excited about the launch of season two," said the Travel Channel�s executive vice president and general manager, Rick Rodriguez. "The WORLD POKER TOUR has reached appointment viewing status, and has quickly become a cultural phenomenon. With the launch of season two the Travel Channel will firmly entrench the WPT brand as the best of televised poker. Moreover, the continued success of the WPT provides a wonderful opportunity for the network to promote and market the multitude of programming available on our air."

"In just one season, the WORLD POKER TOUR transformed poker into a mainstream televised sports sensation. Season two takes the action, the emotion and the cold hard cash to a whole new level," said executive producer and founder of the World Poker Tour, Steven Lipscomb. "With over $30 million in total prize money and millions at stake in each episode, television audiences will continue to be drawn to the only sport on television that puts them in a seat at the table � making million dollar decisions on every hand."

The WORLD POKER TOUR continues to be a ratings winner for the network � with the WORLD POKER TOUR LADIES NIGHT special scoring the highest rating ever for the WPT series, and becoming the second highest rated individual program in the network�s history.

In addition to the high-stakes action on the tables, every week the WORLD POKER TOUR series takes viewers to some of the most famous casinos and card rooms in the world including: Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV; The Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA; Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ; UltimateBet in Aruba; Bay 101 in Colma, CA; Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT; Horseshoe Casino/Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, MS; Aviation Club de France in Paris, France; Commerce Casino in Commerce, CA; Poker Stars aboard a Caribbean cruise; and the Reno Hilton in Reno, NV.

The WORLD POKER TOUR series is produced for the Travel Channel by World Poker Tour, LLC. Steven Lipscomb is the show�s creator and serves as executive producer. Joe Swift is the executive producer for the Travel Channel. World Poker Tour, LLC is a joint venture between Lipscomb and Lakes Entertainment, Inc. (traded on the NASDAQ as "LACO").


-- Follow Miami Dade Police Department Animal Services Unit for a Week of All New Premieres when Animal Planet�s Heroes Strand Takes Viewers to Miami on January 5-9 From 10-11 PM (ET/PT) --

The county of Miami Dade, Florida can be measured as more than 2,000 square miles from South Beach to the Everglade swamps and is filled with millions of creatures from Chihuahuas to alligators, but there is only one team dedicated to animal emergencies and they are the men and women of MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE. For the MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE team at the Miami Dade Police Department Animal Services Unit, their city is literally an urban jungle. Join the team as they deal with nearly 2,500 calls a month: a loose alligator causes a nine-mile backup on the freeway, a python is found in a public restroom and a cult that sacrifices animals is discovered. These cases along with many forms of animal abuse are explored in MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE premiering on Monday, January 5 from 10-11 PM (ET/PT). Four more premiere episodes will air from January 6-9 at 10 PM (ET/PT).

MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE follows a team of police officers dedicated to the Animal Services Unit (ASU) as they police the 2.2 million people of the extremely diverse Dade County area. Based minutes from downtown Miami and on-call 24 hours a day, the ASU responds to a broad range of animal situations, from the most dangerous and serious cases, to more light-hearted ones.

The exhilarating week of MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE episodes include the following adventures:

Gator Love Bite � World Premiere, Monday, January 5 at 10 PM (ET/PT)
A common animal welfare concern in Miami Dade County is cruelty and neglect. Officer Gary Boyett is sent to investigate a case of animal cruelty when citizens witness a dog being bundled into a car trunk and abandoned at the roadside by her owner. Then wildlife expert Bob Freer is called out to the Monkey Jungle visitor attraction to remove an unwanted resident�an eight-foot gator who has outgrown his waterhole.

Labrador Life Savers � World Premiere, Tuesday, January 6 at 10 PM (ET/PT)
All too often, Miami Dade County dog owners simply abandon their pets when the responsibility for their upkeep becomes a burden. Animal Control Officer Gary Boyett discovers two neglected and abandoned Labradors and finds that they are both pregnant. Meanwhile, Animal Control Officer David Vega is called out to the scene of an illegal cockfight, and Cruelty Investigator Diedra Jorgensen, responds to reports of a man allegedly beating a kitten, causing blindness and brain damage. Finally, Gary Boyett is on the case of a suspected animal hoarder who has accumulated over 80 cats and dogs in her tiny house.

Gator Sabotage � World Premiere, Wednesday, January 7 at 10 PM (ET/PT)
Animal Cruelty Investigator Sergio Tortoriello is appalled when he finds a neglected Doberman with no food or water at a home in an affluent area of Miami Dade County. Out of desperation the emaciated dog has been eating the seeds of a palm tree and drinking the rancid water in the disused swimming pool. There is no sign of the owner, but Officer Tortoriello is determined to bring him to justice for this terrible act of cruelty. Meanwhile, Officer Kathy Labrada has the unusual problem of a stray goat in the business district of South Miami. What makes this all the more mysterious is that the goat has a package tied round its neck, which gives clues to a possible voodoo ritual. The goat could be a future sacrificial offering.

Freeway Gator � World Premiere, Thursday, January 8 at 10 PM (ET/PT)
Miami, Florida is gator country and they have a habit of letting the residents know it. When the Monday morning rush-hour traffic grinds to a halt, Officers Charlie Daye and Lydia Marquez are dispatched to deal with a nuisance gator that has created a nine-mile back-up on one of Miami's busiest freeways. Across town, Animal Control Officer, Deanna Graff, shows nerves of steel as she is confronted by an aggressive German Shepherd dog that has no intention of being caught. Meanwhile, Cruelty Investigator Diedra Jorgensen raids a local ranch where some emaciated horses and neglected pigs are being kept in shocking conditions.

Three Not So Little Pigs � World Premiere, Friday, January 9 at 10 PM (ET/PT)
The Animal Services Unit is called to a warehouse where a suspected animal hoarder has accumulated nearly 50 animals. The animals include dogs, cats, roosters, a rabbit and even three huge pot-bellied pigs. Sergeant Charlie Daye and Gary Boyett are among the officers who have to clear out the warehouse and rescue all of the neglected animals, and at 500 pounds each, the pot-bellied pigs prove quite a challenge. Tracking down the absent owner of the animals doesn�t prove easy either. Meanwhile, Officer Kathy Labrada is racing to rescue a runaway dog caught in heavy rush-hour traffic on one of Miami�s busiest roads. Kathy deals with at least 15 dogs killed on the roads every week. Can she get to this one in time?

In the Fall of 2003, Animal Planet unveiled an exciting new programming strand entitled HEROES featuring our most popular humane law series. MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE now joins the strip, which airs every weeknight from 10-11 PM (ET/PT) with new episodes air of ANIMAL PRECINCT, ANIMAL COPS DETROIT, ANIMAL COPS HOUSTON and the premiere series MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE. These series follow investigators for nonprofit organizations such as the Michigan Humane Society, The Houston SPCA, the ASPCA in New York and the Miami Dade Police Department Animal Services Unit as they battle against ignorance and neglect.

MIAMI ANIMAL POLICE is produced for Animal Planet by Lion Television. For Lion Television, Ben Gale and Chris Kelly are executive producers. For Animal Planet, executive producer is Jamie Roberts.




LONG BEACH, CA � Dog lovers and their canine companions are gearing up for intense competition, tail-wagging showmanship and the most prize money of any dog show in the world during the AKC/EUKANUBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, premiering Saturday, January 31, from 8-11 PM (ET/PT) on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.

Viewers find out what it takes to win one of the most prestigious dog shows in America through Animal Planet�s exclusive ROAD TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP premiering at 7 PM (ET) only on Animal Planet. The special celebrates today's top canine champions by chronicling the path dogs must take to earn "Best in Show." From newborn puppy to top dog, Animal Planet delves into every facet of the dog show world, meeting the nation's most reputable breeders, respected handlers and admired judges.

The AKC/EUKANUBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP prize money totals $225,000, with the "Best in Show" champion winning $50,000 and a 2004 Suzuki XL-7 SUV. This year�s event marks the first time a national dog show is inviting top-ranked international dogs to compete, making this year�s third annual AKC/EUKANUBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP winner a true, global champion.

The AKC/EUKANUBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP premieres as an unprecedented simulcast on both Animal Planet and Discovery Channel, effectively doubling the program�s potential audience. Last year�s championship was Animal Planet�s 6th-highest rated program ever, prompting the expansion of the telecast to include Discovery Channel.

Hosted by Ron Reagan Jr., dog show veteran Lee Arnold, and renowned dog show judge Edd Biven, the program highlights the incredible relationship between people and their dogs. Throughout the broadcast, feature reporter Leanza Cornett (Miss America 1993) checks in with special profiles of owners, handlers and dogs, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what it takes to compete. Viewers will enjoy health and training tips from the experts, and learn about the rules and regulations, passions and preferences of the dog show world, including its star breeders and handlers.

"Animal Planet and Discovery Channel are the ideal settings for this competition because of our personal approach to dog shows," said Michael Cascio, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Animal Planet. "Viewers need to experience the action both inside and outside the ring to fully appreciate the competition."

The AKC/EUKANUBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP is a production of Painless Productions for Animal Planet. For Painless Productions, Joe Carolei and Jim Casey are executive producers. For Animal Planet, Margo Kent is executive producer.

  [january 2004]  


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