Over the last decade, several cable channels have radically shifted their images and programming to adapt to a rapidly changing media world. Once upon a time, TLC was The Learning Channel and A&E featured performing arts.
Now, the trend is away from the high-minded toward the broad appeal, typified by personality-driven reality shows.
Because of this, BBC America is airing “24 Hours on Earth,” the latest blue-chip natural history miniseries from the BBC. It premieres Tuesday, Mar. 11, airing as part of the network’s new BBC Earth programming block on Tuesday evenings.
That block also includes a new season of “Wild Things,” in which actor Dominic Monaghan travels the globe to the biggest, scariest and most exotic creatures.
Says BBC Worldwide America General Manager Perry Simon to Zap2it, “This fascinating BBC and BBC America two-part co-production travels second by second through a virtual day and celebrates the most extraordinary examples of how animals and plants exploit specific moments in the 24-hour cycle.”
The two-part series, produced by the acclaimed BBC Natural History Unit, travels through a virtual day, exploring how plants and animals adapt to make the most of daily changes in light, temperature and weather, sometimes in minute increments of time.
In past years, this show probably would have aired in the U.S. on Discovery Channel, which, until October, had a longstanding partnership with the BBC. Discovery still focuses on the outdoors, but now it’s through such reality shows as “Deadliest Catch,” “Gold Rush,” “Bering Sea Gold,” and “Naked and Afraid.”
Also, Discovery now has several international channels to supply with programming, and it didn’t have the overseas distribution rights on BBC programs. So, the BBC now will pipe its high-end nature programming to its U.S. corporate sibling.
Says Simon, “I want to say how personally excited I am to begin grading this extraordinary natural history programming over to BBC America. I really think this content can be transformative for our channel.”