Coming Soon to Animal Planet: Skunks, Rats and Bigfoot Too

'River Monsters' with Jeremy Wade (Photo: Discovery)

'River Monsters' with Jeremy Wade (Photo: Discovery)

Are you ready for “The Skunk Whisperer”? It was probably inevitable, what with various humans already whispering to various animals such as horses, dogs and bears on TV.

This “Skunk Whisperer” is a bit of a misnomer, however, in that no one actually gets close enough to a skunk’s ear to actually whisper in it. The truth is, it’s the title of a new show being developed by Animal Planet as part of a whole slew of new shows with catchy titles that the channel announced Thursday.

All the shows are designed to continue the cable channel’s newfound emphasis on animals and their interaction with humans – the theme reflected in the Animal Planet tagline “Surprisingly Human.”

This “Skunk” show – full title: “Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer” – is really about this exterminator and his crew and how they go about their business in Tulsa, Okla. Of course, the press release implies that they actually don’t exterminate pests anymore, at least on the TV show – giving the impression that Ned the Skunk Whisperer and his team have gentler methods (such as whispering, we suppose) of driving pests out of people’s homes that don’t involve killing the critters.

Elsewhere on the Animal Planet development list, the animals run the gamut from living to dead to stuffed and even non-existent (such as a show about Bigfoot, but we’ll get to that below). Here are some of the furry highlights:

“Detroit Animal Tattoo”: This series isn’t really about real animals – just pictures of animals drawn on people by these tattoo artists in Detroit.

“Finding Bigfoot”: This show follows a group of intrepid Sasquatch trackers in the Pacific Northwest who have made it their mission to find this elusive creature. Hey, this sounds like kind of a stretch for Animal Planet because no one knows if (a) Bigfoot is human, (b) Bigfoot is an animal or (c) if it even exists (which is doubtful). Next thing you know, Animal Planet will make a show about mermaids.

“Mermaids: The Body Found”: This isn’t a series but a two-hour special that will try and find out once and for all if mermaids exist. Alrighty then.

“My Extreme Animal Phobia”: Finally, a show for those who don’t care for animals all that much (and there are plenty of us, let me tell you!). Actually, these people have serious, debilitating fears of everyday domestic companions such as dogs and cats and will undergo intensive treatment to find a cure.

“Puppies Vs. Babies”: This series will pit videos of cute pups (and presumably kittens) against the tiniest, cutest humans in a contest to decide who’s cuter. Sounds like a critic-proof concept because no critic in his or her right mind will come out against puppies and babies.

“Rat Busters NYC”: The title says it all – it’s a series about exterminators battling the rats of New York City (the prevalent species in the Big Apple is the Norway rat, in case you’re a rat connoisseur). The description from Animal Planet isn’t clear on whether these rats will be killed or merely whispered at, but we vote for the former.

“Romance Is Dead”: It’s TV’s newest taxidermy show – and the first show on Animal Planet to showcase dead animals that have nevertheless been lovingly preserved, primarily for pet owners who don’t want to part with their dearly departed domestic companions. The title comes from the show’s locale – a town called Romance, Ark. Isn’t that lovely?

Meanwhile, Animal Planet also announced renewals for “Confessions: Animal Hoarding,” “I Shouldn’t Be Alive,” “Infested!,” “It’s Me or the Dog,” “Must Love Cats,” “Pit Boss,” “River Monsters” and “Whale Wars.”

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