Coming Soon to Discovery: Gypsies, Bridesmaids and Butterbean

Gypsyville (TLC)

Gypsyville (TLC)

From the world’s most frozen places to the ’gator-filled swamps of Florida and beyond, Discovery has got the world pretty much covered.

That’s the impression we came away with after hearing about dozens of new shows coming up on the Discovery-owned networks at a star-studded presentation thrown for advertisers Thursday afternoon in a Lincoln Center theater in Manhattan.

Among the stars who took the stage were: Oprah Winfrey, to talk about all things OWN; Morgan Freeman for “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” (Science Channel); Rosie O’Donnell for her upcoming OWN talk show; Penn & Teller for their new show, “Secrets of the Universe” (Discovery); and “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg for Discovery’s annual Shark Week.

Other personalities who appeared on stage to wave a quick hello to the advertising reps whose commercials pay for the shows included: Ben Bailey, the “Cash Cab” cabbie (Discovery); TLC’s “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro; and petite Jen Arnold and Bill Klein, otherwise known as TLC’s “Little Couple.”

What got announced at this multi-part event? Well, for one thing, a slew of new shows for Discovery, TLC, Science Channel, Discovery Fit & Health, Animal Planet (which we already covered in this story here) and Investigation Discovery. Discovery Networks President David Zaslav said the company will invest $1 billion in the coming year to produce 250 series and specials combined for all the Discovery networks – up from $650 million five years ago.

TLC Educates Us On The Difference Between American And British Weddings:

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Here are some highlights:

Best in show: “Frozen Planet”: After you clear away all the cupcake bakers (“DC Cupcakes”), bridal shows (“Say Yes to the Dress”) and families with “special” characteristics (“The Little Couple,” “19 Kids and Counting” and others), this is the kind of production Discovery does best – a lavish, expensively produced documentary about the coldest places on earth and the animals that live there. Coming to Discovery later this year.

Most intriguing title: “Are You Fitter Than a Senior?”: Almost no details were given about this series that was announced for Discovery Fit & Health, but the title indicates it will pit flabby young people against older folks intent on kicking their butts. Can anyone say, “Mandelbaum!”? (It’s another “Seinfeld” reference we can’t resist making here.)

Biggest surprise: “Big Law: Deputy Butterbean”: Butterbean is the name of this rather rotund, bald fellow you might remember from his brief career in the fight game – dabbling in boxing, mixed martial arts and “pro” wrestling. Apparently, he’s at least famous enough to have now gotten his own show on Investigation Discovery about his life nowadays as a deputy sheriff in his small town of Jasper, Ala.

The Most Spinoffs from a Single Show: TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” franchise is spinning off two new shows. The first, “Randy to the Rescue,” has “Dress” man Randy Fenoli “rescuing” women who find themselves in fashion emergencies. And the second one, spun off from the Atlanta edition of “Say Yes to the Dress,” is called “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids,” which will focus on bridesmaids and their dress choices.

The One We Can’t Wait to See: “Gypsyville”: This new series for TLC promises to take us inside a world we generally wouldn’t be able to visit (like the world of polygamy seen on “Sister Wives”). This time, it’s the insular world of American gypsy clans, sometimes known as “travelers” – like in the FX series “The Riches,” about a family of “travelers” who worked cons all over the country. And that’s the big question here: How will this series address this group’s reputation for that kind of activity? Is it really a part of their lives, or is it an inaccurate and unfortunate stereotype?

Look for these shows and many others to start appearing in the coming weeks and months.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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