[01/06/11 - 02:01 PM]
Fight or Flight? Mike Tyson Returns to His Roots and the Rooftops of New York City to Race Pigeons in Animal Planet's "Taking on Tyson"
The six-part series premieres Sunday, March 6 at 10:00/9:00c.

[via press release from Animal Planet]


-- Former Heavyweight Champ Shares His Life and His Love of Birds in Surprising New Series on March 6 --

(New York, New York, January 6, 2011) - Heavyweight boxing legend and Brooklyn native Mike Tyson always has loved breeding and raising pigeons. These birds have been an integral part of his life from his childhood. In fact, Mike threw his first punch when a neighborhood bully killed one of his beloved pigeons and threw it in his face. Of course, Mike would go on to be one of the most famous, and infamous, champions in boxing (and sports) history. And through it all, his pigeons and his rooftop pigeon coops remained his one constant and secret solace.

Now, in the new Animal Planet series TAKING ON TYSON debuting March 6, at 10 PM (ET/PT), Mike goes beyond just raising his feathered friends - he will race them for the very first time. With unprecedented access to the neighborhood haunts he grew up in and lifelong friends who surround him, this docudrama introduces audiences to the highly competitive, bizarrely fascinating subculture of pigeon racing. The stakes are high in a sport that has just as much machismo as boxing. But this time it's not about money; it's about bragging rights.

From the rooftops of Jersey City to the streets of Brooklyn, this six-part series profiles enigmatic Mike Tyson as the boxing legend reconnects with his roots and returns to his childhood neighborhood to face his next challenge. Tyson's pigeons have provided him with tranquility and escape throughout his tumultuous life. Now, along with a band of close friends who share his love for these avian athletes, he enters the realm of pigeon racing. TAKING ON TYSON is an enriching window into Mike Tyson's complex life, where the road to self-awareness, the path to inner peace and the vision into the future... is with these birds.

"The first thing I ever loved in my life was a pigeon. I don't know why...I feel ridiculous trying to explain it," says Tyson. "Pigeons are a part of my life. It's a constant with my sanity in a weird way; this is just what I do. If I'm lucky enough to die an old man, I'm going to have birds."

Supporting the novice racer are the members of Tyson's Corner: Mario Costa, his lifelong friend and promoter/manager; Vinnie Torre, his esteemed and respected pigeon trainer; and the Roman Brothers, his pigeon caretakers. His rivals include the younger yet more experienced racers Joe Green and Helder Rodrigues.

TAKING ON TYSON was created and produced by Touch Productions in association with Tyrannic Productions for Animal Planet. Malcolm Brinkworth is the executive producer for Touch Productions, Mike Tyson is the executive producer with Tyrannic Productions, and Jason Carey is the executive producer for Animal Planet. Charlie Foley is the vice president of development for Animal Planet.

Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, highquality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 97 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.

  [january 2011]  


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