Discovery HD Announces its fall 2007 programming highlights

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Since launching in December 2005, Discovery HD is at the forefront of innovative programming that is both a feast for the eyes and the mind. Broadcasting entirely in High Definition 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this Fall, Discovery HD is pleased to present exclusive cutting-edge specials that viewers cannot see anywhere else alongside some of the best programming from Discovery Channel’s line-up. Discovery HD takes Discovery Channel to a bigger bolder place, featuring marquee series and specials simulcast in stunning High Definition.

Beginning in September, Discovery HD embarks on an unprecedented mission to transport viewers to Mars like never before – with every moment of the thrilling adventure captured in stunning High Definition! In the four-hour expedition series “Race to Mars” it is the year 2030 and the race to be the first to reach the Red Planet is on. China has stunned the world by leapfrogging over America’s long-term plans and has landed a series of advanced rovers and robotic landers in their quest to make the most important discovery in history – extraterrestrial life on Mars. Once again, America and its partners, including Canada, are thrust into a winner-take-all space race – but the stakes are higher than the race to the Moon nearly seven decades earlier. The international team accelerates its plans to launch a human mission, drawing together astronauts from Canada, the United States, Russia, France and Japan for a gruelling assignment. These four men and two women must work together as a team, rise above their secret fears and struggle with the sacrifice of leaving friends and family behind. Among them, the driven mission commander who’s never known failure – until he loses one of his own to the unforgiving environment on Mars; the rational flight surgeon who discovers a new spirituality as she grapples with the magnitude of her journey; the veteran cosmonaut who knows just how many rules can be broken; the brilliant French nuclear physicist; and the Canadian astronaut who will play a key role before the end of the journey. Training and determination will get them only so far, and when this crew sets out on humanity’s first expedition to another world, nothing can prepare them for the unexpected danger and staggering wonder of what they will experience. Bringing this landmark television event to life, Michael Riley (‘Supervolcano,’ This is Wonderland) stars as astronaut Captain Rick Erwin, joined by Pascale Bussières (‘When Night is Falling’) as Jackie Decelles; Lothaire Bluteau (‘Jèsus de Montrèal,’ ‘Black Robe’) as Antoine Hebert; Claudia Ferri (‘Mambo Italiano,’ ‘Hunt for Justice’) as Lucia Alarcon; Frank Schorpion (‘One Dead Indian,’ ‘Human Trafficking’) as Mikhail Cerenkov and Kevan Ohtsji (‘Stargate SG-1’) as Hiromi Okuda.

A companion to “Race to Mars,” “Mars Rising” is a six-part documentary series detailing the significant challenges facing a mission to Mars and explores the efforts being made by today’s scientists, engineers and planners to bring the mission to fruition. A human voyage to Mars will be the most ambitious and dangerous expedition ever undertaken. It will require multiple spacecraft, unparalleled ingenuity and a completely new breed of astronaut. Drawing upon thousands of hours of research, interviews with top scientists and experts around the world, and employing cutting edge CGI, “Mars Rising” will explain the science behind this complex and perilous undertaking, the reasons why we will go, the physical and psychological challenges of the mission, the critical moment of landing on the Red Planet, and the future scenario of living and working on Mars. The sharp focus of High Definition will bring the every detail of the science behind a human mission to Mars to life in a way never before seen on television.

Exclusive to Discovery HD:
In a Canadian broadcast exclusive, Discovery HD presents an intoxicating High Definition journey around the world with “Discovery Atlas.” Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor James Spader, “Discovery Atlas” is a new series of two-hour specials that showcase our world as never before. A rich visual feast presented in eye-popping HD, new “Discovery Atlas” specials explore the peoples, cultures and lands of South Africa, India and Mexico with the premieres of “Discovery Atlas: South Africa Revealed” “Discovery Atlas: India Revealed” and “Discovery Atlas: Mexico Revealed.”

On most mornings, daybreak happens in the background. Some people sleep through it, others rush through their morning routine without noticing the moment that the sun rises over the horizon. Exploring the tranquility and restorative power of the natural world as it moves from darkness to light, “Sunrise Earth” captures the drama and beauty of daybreak as never before. Produced in stunning High Definition, each episode of “Sunrise Earth” chronicles one continuous hour of dawn – without narration, music, or quick edits – in some of the most scenic locations on Earth.

Paul Merton has swapped his warm slippers and cosy TV studio for life on the open road. In a brave and surprising move, Britain’s much-loved humorist presents a four- part series on China with “Paul Merton in China.” Traveling from North to South and East to West, Merton discovers China’s ancient roots and traditions in this special exclusive to Discovery HD. From the Kung Fu of the Shaolin Monks to the horse rustling Mongols, he tries his hand at long established traditions and then observes the contrast with Shanghai’s glittering skyscrapers and astounding factories.

A sinner and prostitute, or the secret wife of Jesus and leader of his church? “Secrets of Mary Magdalene” strips away the veils of history to reveal the flesh and blood woman who served as Jesus’ foremost apostle and possibly the love of his life. Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by bestselling authors Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer, this documentary special uncovers the latest information on one of the world’s most controversial religious figures. The blockbuster status of ‘The DaVinci Code’ has sent millions in search of information about the elusive Magdalene and inspired a firestorm of debate among believers and non-believers alike. “Secrets of Mary Magdalene” looks at this woman’s historical impact and emerging legacy as a spiritual role model for the 21st century.

Tarot, numerology and divination… the traditional methods for tapping into the supernatural are as popular as ever – and often just as suspect. “Secrets of the
Occult,” a two-part special presentation, explores the world of the occult from ancient and modern magicians who practice it to the cutting edge scientists attempting to explain its mysterious claims. In “Secrets of the Occult,” contemporary occult practitioners are joined by leading scientific and medical experts to examine the big questions of occultism: Can the mind alter reality? Does tarot really predict the future? Is it really possible to receive messages from the dead? This documentary highlights the advances achieved by innovators who challenged the established ‘reality,’ including like Newton, Galileo, Carl Jung and Einstein. The claims of the occult magicians are put under the microscope to reveal the fascinating interface between occult beliefs of ancient Egyptians and Greeks to modern discoveries of the mind and the physical world. “Secrets of the Occult” tells the stories of the first magicians, and the modern scientists who unravel the mysteries of our world.

“Icons of Power” is a masterful four-part series that uses dramatic recreation to tell the stories of dynamic historical figures whose lives and deeds shaped their times and our own. Exclusive to Discovery HD, “Icons of Power” profiles Henry VIII, Napoleon, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Not a traditional cradle-to-grave biography or glossy costume history, this series offers a focused and revealing of controversial historical rulers.

An expert diver, cameraman and bushman, David Ireland has spent years in the Australian Outback learning the Aboriginal way of life. Danger is never far away as he wrestles with crocs and wild boars, swims with whales, catches deadly snakes by hand, and gets friendly with sharks, rhinos and elephants. “The Wildlife Man” captures never-before-seen animal behaviour and offers a thrilling glimpse into the Outback wilderness.

Simulcast with Discovery Channel:
In this special presentation, “The Real Superhumans” reveals the amazing stories of real people with extraordinary super powers. But just who are these “super humans?” In Switzerland, meet a woman who combines senses so that she can ‘taste’ music; in Turkey, a painter compared with Renaissance master Brunelleschi, was born without eyes; and in the Netherlands, a man who possesses the inexplicable power to withstand extreme cold – but how? These super powers seemingly transcend what it means to be human, how we use our natural senses and our physical limitations. “The Real Superhumans” meets with the world’s leading geneticists, biologists, futurists and inventors and reveals their startling perspectives on these super powers and the implications of these powers on future generations.

Interrogation is an elaborate game of cat and mouse, an intellectual duel akin to cracking a code. Arriving in 2008, “Science of Interrogation” reveals the finely tuned, meticulous tricks of psychology, technique and cutting edge technology in the interrogator’s arsenal, all designed to extract the truth that a prime suspect does not want uncovered. Experts with years of experience cracking the toughest of crimes; the human lie detectors who pinpoint the subtle ‘tells’ that give liars away; see footage of real criminal interrogations and meet the police officers who conducted them; and learn about the arsenal of cutting-edge technology now available to the modern interrogator.

In a special one-week series on advances in world science in the tradition of “Daily Planet Goes to Japan,” “Daily Planet Goes to China” and “Daily Planet Goes to India,” “Daily Planet” is on the road to Australia in 2008. “Daily Planet Goes to Australia” will look at the work being done with crocodiles through the Steve Irwin World Wildlife Warriors Foundation; the plight of Perth, a city threatened by a lack of water; the invasive cane toad population explosion; and Australia’s booming energy industry.

With exclusive and unprecedented access to one of the world’s most elite jet fighter
training schools in Cold Lake, Alberta, “Jetstream” chronicles the sheer grit, determination and skill it takes to survive Top Gun training. In this eight-part series coming in 2008, follow the six elite members of the Canadian Air Force’s ‘Class of 2006’ who have been selected to learn to fly one of the most advanced supersonic tactical fighter jets in the world: the $35-millon dollar CF-18 Hornet. Over the course of eight months – from the first day of classes to graduation – join these six handpicked pilots from classroom to cockpit as they progress from the multi-million dollar flight simulator to the adrenaline-charged first solo flight and the complex war games that complete their training and battle-readiness. In each episode of “Jetstream,” explore the state-of-the art technology reserved for only the world’s best pilots and see how this complex technology works from inside the cockpit. As aeronautic technology and tactics continue to evolve, witness the evolution of these top-ranked students as they strive to excel not only as pilots, but also as engineers, strategists and weapons experts.

This season “What’s That About?” “Legend Hunters,” “Guinea Pig” and “Mean Machines” also join the Discovery HD line up. Returning series include: “MegaWorld,” “MegaBuilders,” “How It’s Made,” and “Mayday.”