Press Release

                                 

Dr. M. Sanjayan (Credit: Ami Vitale)

EARTH A New Wild To Premiere on Wednesday February 4, 2015 on PBS

New Five-Part Series Hosted by Dr. M. Sanjayan, Leading Conservation Scientist 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA; Updated July 23, 2014 (previously issued on 1-20-14) --PBS announced today EARTH A New Wild will debut Wednesday, February 4, 2015. This landmark series reveals the extraordinary way humans are intimately connected to the wild animals and wild places of this planet. EARTH A New Wild reveals nature as never before seen with one simple act: by turning the cameras around to put humans into the picture.

Produced by National Geographic Television in association with Passion Pictures and hosted by Dr. M. Sanjayan, the series takes viewers to the frontiers of where man and wildlife meet.  Viewers will discover how humans are inextricably woven into every aspect of the planet’s natural systems and how saving and restoring wild nature is key to preserving – and enriching – our future existence.

With 45 shoots in 29 different countries using advanced filming techniques, the series provides all the spectacle of the best nature documentaries but goes a step further to capture encounters between wild animals and the people who live and work with them. These up-close looks at a range of species, from giant pandas to humpback whales, African lions and Arctic reindeer, uncover how people and wildlife –even top predators – can thrive alongside each other and be mutually beneficial.

Each of the five episodes — Home, Plains, Forests, Ocean and Water — visits a different, critical habitat in which humans are engaging with nature in new ways.  People in these “frontier” places are discovering new and surprising roles wild nature plays in our lives and the critical role people can play in restoring our natural world.

“The pristine views of epic nature shows always leave something out of the picture: us,” said Sanjayan. “I traveled the world to film some of the wildest places.  What I found were amazing stories that reveal a new paradigm about us and the planet we live on – that when we save wild nature we really are saving ourselves.”

Following are descriptions of the five episodes featured in EARTH A New Wild:

  • Home –Travel to the frontier of the wild to take a fresh look at humankind’s relationship to the great wild animals of our world.  Viewers will discover how captive-born pandas are learning to be wild and witness release of the first captive-born female giant panda into the wilds of China. From there, audiences will literally fly with vultures in the Himalayas, travel with Jane Goodall to Tanzania where she first began her work and where chimps and humans are now sharing the land, and finally, learn a shocking lesson from a community of people who live under the constant threat of man-eating tigers. “Home” reveals the threat human beings pose to our world’s extraordinary animals and their habitats, yet it also relays powerful, dramatic human stories that teach us that wildlife and human life can thrive side by side.   Here, on the frontiers, viewers will encounter a new kind of wild – one our very survival depends upon. 
  • Plains – The plains and grasslands of world are home to the greatest number of mammals on Earth and our breadbasket. They are also among the most endangered places on Earth.  Traveling to the great plains of the world – from Africa to the artic tundra, Sanjayan discovers that people and wild predator play an active and beneficial role to the revitalization of these habitats. Wildlife highlights include the first HD footage of rutting Saiga antelope on the steppes of Russia and the return of an ancient tradition in the artic: the castration of reindeer males not by mechanical means but by biting. Here on the plains, human-animal conflict is at its highest but so is the promise that humans, by mimicking or working with top predators, can restore these grasslands to their former glory. 
  • Forests – A journey deep into the great forests of planet Earth reveals a new way of looking at wild places and the people and animals that live there.  In the Amazon, Sanjayan travels deep into an uncharted area known as the intangible zone, home to previously “uncontacted” tribes. From there, he travels to British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest where he captures rarely filmed wolf behavior.  Then it is on to Portugal’s cork forests and finally, Sumatra, where frightening elephant battles are exploding. Viewers will discover that today, Earth’s great forests home to a surprising number of people and very likely supported vastly larger human populations in the past. What do these human forest dwellers know about how people can sustain the great forests – forests that, in turn, sustain the world? 
  • Water – To unravel the dramatic connections between fresh water and the health of the planet, Sanjayan travels to some of Earth’s greatest bodies of fresh water.   Highlights include: the never-before-seen-on-television gathering of people, elephants and lions at the Singing Wells of Northern Kenya and Sanjayan’s epic kayak journey down the Colorado River from its source to where it dies out before reaching the sea. From there, viewers will discover why a depletion in fish stock in Lake Malawi is giving rise to HIV infections; meet the man who stopped the Sahara desert with an ancient use of nature; and witness one of the greatest ecological disasters on the planet:  the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan.
  • Oceans – Reporting from one of the most remote coral atolls on Earth  (Palmyra Atoll), the Bahamas, and from New York Harbor, Sanjayan draws deep on his own ocean experiences to reveal a vibrant community of scientists, engineers and fisherman who are discovering new ways help maintain the remarkable productivity of oceans. He is aware of the vast threat facing our oceans, but standing in the water playing mid-wife to a large lemon shark is just one of the moments that give him hope that we can turn around our influence on this, the wildest habitat on Earth. “Oceans” concludes in the New York Harbor, inviting viewers to reimagine what oceans can provide us in our ever-increasing numbers.

“PBS viewers love programs that explore our planet in new and intriguing ways, and EARTH A New Wild takes this idea to an exciting new level,” says PBS chief programming executive and general manager Beth Hoppe. “This series is an amazing view of us and our natural surroundings as never seen before.”

In collaboration with PBS, The Nature Conservancy will be an engagement and outreach partner for the series, extending the reach and impact of EARTH A New Wild. The Conservancy will create a digital companion site to the series, which will offer web content with online community and interactivity integrated throughout. The goal of the site is to build and engage an audience around the series content with additional content and online features during the episodes’ live dates, which will continue after the run of the series.

Executive producer is David Allen of Passion Pictures. Funding for EARTH A New Wild is provided by a generous grant from the Anne Ray Charitable Trust.

About National Geographic Television
National Geographic Television is the production arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest scientific and educational organizations. For 50 years, NGT has been producing groundbreaking documentary films, pushing filmmaking technology to its limits, bringing great stories to television audiences worldwide. NGT is the winner of 147 Emmy Awards and nearly 1,000 other industry accolades, including recognition from the Peabody Awards, duPont-Columbia Awards and top honors from natural history film festivals around the world. Brooke Runnette is president of NGT.

About Passion Planet
Led by multiple award-winning producer David Allen, Passion Planet is the landmark television department of Passion Pictures, whose Academy Award-winning feature documentaries, including One Day in September and Searching for Sugar Man, make it one of the leading documentary companies in the world. EARTH A New Wild is the culmination of a long history for Allen, who has worked with PBS and its series NATURE on films including “Deep Jungle,” “Gorilla King,” “Elephants of Timbuktu” and the enormously successful  “My Life as a Turkey,” which won Allen his fourth Emmy Award and Wildscreen Festival’s coveted Golden Panda Award. Passion Planet is currently producing a follow up to  “Turkey,” a shark-based film for Discovery and a docudrama feature for CBC and Film Four entitled “Hadwin’s Judgement.” More information about Passion is available here.

About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. More information about The Nature Conservancy is available at www.nature.org.

About PBS
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 109 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter

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