Monday, January 25, 2010

Animal Planet Adds to Lineup By Kristin Brzoznowski

Published: January 15, 2010

PASADENA: Animal Planet has slated a new eight-part series, Last Chance Highway, about individuals on a mission to give stray dogs a chance at survival, along with renewing Pit Bulls and Parolees and River Monsters for second seasons.

Produced by Al Roker Entertainment, Last Chance Highway follows Shelly Bookwalter and Kyle Peterson, who are fighting to save soon-to-be-euthanized dogs. The two have organized a group of volunteers who lead a unique mobile adoption campaign, which results in finding homes for more than 150 dogs each week. The series will launch this summer on Animal Planet.

Pit Bulls and Parolees debuted this past fall on Animal Planet, introducing viewers to Tia Maria Torres, founder and owner of Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull shelter in the U.S. Torres works to save pit bulls and pairs them with ex-convicts on parole to give man and man's best friend a chance for redemption. Season two of the series will air in fall.

"With the new series Last Chance Highway and renewal of Pit Bulls and Parolees, we're making compelling entertainment that shines a light on the way the lives of both humans and dogs can be forever changed because of each other," said Marjorie Kaplan, the general manager and president of Animal Planet Media. "In pet adoption, people often fall in love with a dog just from a photo. Being there for the moment when they meet that new family member for the first time is a powerful experience and great television. We're excited to partner with Al Roker Entertainment to share Shelly and Kyle's incredible weekly journey."

River Monsters, in which extreme angler and biologist Jeremy Wade searches the world for legendary and flesh-eating freshwater fish, averaged more than a million households across seven premiere episodes in its first season. Seven new episodes are slated to kick off April 18 at 10 p.m.

"People want to believe there's something out there, lurking in the remote corners of the world, right on the muddy bottom of the lake where we swim or in our own backyards," added Kaplan. "The creatures Jeremy finds in River Monsters are so deeply satisfying— primordial nature incarnate. It's a quest for near-mythic creatures and a detective story with all the pleasures of a narrative. But it's even better because it's real. The monsters are real, and Jeremy Wade is an authentic guide."