Discovery Cable Nets Ramp Up New Shows During Upfront Presentation

Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets
Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets (Image credit: Food Network )

Discovery Communications' cable networks outlined a number of new original series and specials as part of the company’s upfront presentation Tuesday.

Read also: AT&T and discovery Merge Media Assets Forming TV Giant 

Discovery chief U.S. Advertising sales officer Jon Steinlauf declared during the virtual  presentation that this year the company's linear brands will produce more than 5,000 new hours of original programming, or about 15 new episodes a night.

Discovery chief lifestyle brands officer Kathleen Finch announced new shows for  HGTV, TLC, Food Network, including HGTV’s Battle on the Beach, Breaking Bland and Curb Appeal Xtreme; Food Network’s Grill of Victory, Chopped: Alton’s Maniacal Baskets; Buddy vs Duff: Bakers Battle; and TLC’s You, Me & My Ex, So Freakin Cheap and Addicted to Marriage.

Discovery and Factual chief brand officer Nancy Daniels announced Discovery Channel's Simon Fuller-produced documentary series Serengeti II, narrated by Lupita Nyong'o.

Also, Animal Planet will offer such shows as Otter Dynasty and The Mighty Underdogs, while MotorTrend will tap actor Kevin Hart for a new series Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew and will debunk automotive myths with Motor Mythbusters.

A list of new series along with network-created descriptions appears below:

Discovery Channel 

Getaway Driver

An event like no other, Michelle Rodriguez brings the ultimate driving fantasy to life in Getaway Driver. This eight-episode competition series features 24 elite drivers from drift champions to street racers to hotshot YouTubers who compete to prove they have the skill behind the wheel and the mental toughness to outrun and out-drive the competition in a massive nearly 60-acre compound filled with obstacles. Part Baby Driver, part Grand Theft Auto, the Getaway Drivers will put it all on the line – sacrificing their own cars for the opportunity to be the wheelman in a real-life car chase. The rules are simple... evade the pursuers and escape the compound to score some cold hard cash. 

 Serengeti II 

Discovery journeys back to the vast, nearly untouched plains of Tanzania revisiting some of our favorite faces and meeting new ones along the way in Serengeti II. The ground-breaking series highlights the majestic animals who call the Serengeti their home and their day-to-day lives living together. Created and produced by Emmy®-winner Simon Fuller (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance) and directed and produced by Emmy®-winning wildlife filmmaker John Downer (Penguin: Spy in The Huddle), the continuation of the six-part series gives unrivaled access to one of the most pristine and unspoiled corners of Africa. Narrated by Academy Award®-winning and Emmy®-nominated actress Lupita Nyong’o, the revolutionary series follows the heartwarming stories of a cast of African wildlife showcasing the dramatic moments that make each day of survival on the Serengeti a feat.

 The Hop (w/t)

The Hop will follow a loud and diverse set of builders and mechanics from four elite custom lowrider garages in the country as they devote their lives to making their lowrider builds dominate the world of lowrider building and car hopping. This team will add in super-sized hydraulics, so their custom lowriders launch eight or ten feet in the air. Viewers will watch their custom cars, from building all the way to their trash-talking hop competitions, that can happen at huge car shows—or at a downtown LA street corner at midnight. These garages must juggle the everyday business of running their shops - building lowriders for customers while also crafting vehicles to face off against rivals in hop contests. Because in the lowriding game, winning equals business with tens of thousands of dollars at stake in each vehicle.


 Two Steps Home

Home renovation experts Jon Pierre and Mary Tjon-Joe-Pin will take a two-step approach to guide clients through the oftentimes daunting process of selling their current house and buying a new one that perfectly fits their needs in Two Steps Home. In step one, Mary, a designer, will employ creative and budget-conscious design ideas to ensure the client’s house sells for top dollar. For step two, Jon Pierre, a real estate agent, will use his savvy know-how of the Houston market to find the client a new property that meets most of their wish list but needs a few renovations to make it perfect. Once their current home sells, Jon Pierre and Mary will invest the extra profit to buy and overhaul the family’s new home.

 Two Steps Home

Home renovation experts Jon Pierre and Mary Tjon-Joe-Pin will take a two-step approach to guide clients through the oftentimes daunting process of selling their current house and buying a new one that perfectly fits their needs in Two Steps Home. In step one, Mary, a designer, will employ creative and budget-conscious design ideas to ensure the client’s house sells for top dollar. For step two, Jon Pierre, a real estate agent, will use his savvy know-how of the Houston market to find the client a new property that meets most of their wish list but needs a few renovations to make it perfect. Once their current home sells, Jon Pierre and Mary will invest the extra profit to buy and overhaul the family’s new home

Battle on the Beach

HGTV’s newest competition series, Battle on the Beach, will feature network stars Taniya Nayak (Restaurant Impossible), Ty Pennington (Rock the Block), and Alison Victoria (Windy City Rehab) as they each mentor three teams of up-and-coming flippers while they renovate identical beachfront properties. The mentors will put their reputations on the line each week while star judges Mike Holmes (Holmes + Holmes) and Mina Starsiak Hawk (Good Bones) will choose which team wins the featured weekly challenge. The team who adds the most value to their home will walk away with a $50,000 grand prize to use towards their next flip, and their mentor will have ultimate bragging rights. The new episodes of Battle on the Beach will also be available to stream the same day on discovery+.  

Breaking Bland

The Charleston, South Carolina-based HGTV series Breaking Bland introduces designer Mary Welch Stasik. During each episode, Mary Welch will break any design boundary and encourage clients to eschew traditional looks to create a truly personalized space.

 Curb Appeal Xtreme

HGTV’s popular outdoor renovation show Curb Appeal will get a fresh spin in Curb Appeal Xtreme. The new series will combine the architectural and design savvy of John Gidding, the horticulture and landscape design genius of Jamie Durie and the custom carpentry and furniture wizardry of Rachel Taylor. The six hour-long episodes will follow the talented trio as they dramatically overhaul the front and backyards of homes in Nashville, Tennessee, creating breathtaking outdoor living spaces that include features such as playhouses, yoga pavilions and open-air kitchens to maximize each property’s potential and value. 

 Food Network

 Grill of Victory

Sabin Lomac hosts a thrilling competition that brings America's best backyard grillers to the ultimate backyard grilling arena as hardcore home cooks with a passion for barbecue go head-to-head to prove their talents over three rounds of intense cooking battles. A rotating panel of judges, including Susie Bulloch, Darnell Ferguson, Tregaye Fraser and Christian Petroni, will help determine who grilled their way to the top. In the end, one home cook will take home the ultimate culinary prize - a customized, outdoor kitchen and entertaining space of their dreams designed by Cristy Lee.

 Chopped: Alton’s Maniacal Baskets

Alton Brown, returns to the Chopped judges’ table to confound sixteen bright-eyed chefs with the zaniest and brainiest baskets ever in the new five-part tournament Chopped: Alton’s Maniacal Baskets. Hosted by Ted Allen, each episode features Alton harnessing the power of his broad social media following, as he joins forces with his fans to come up with maniacal ingredients the competitors must utilize to create unique and delicious dishes over three rounds - appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Joining Alton at the judges’ table are Maneet Chauhan and Marcus Samuelsson to determine which chef goes home with the $50,000 prize

 Buddy vs Duff: Bakers Battle

When Duff and Buddy are away…their teams will play. For this exciting new battle, the famed bakers’ teams will take over their bakeries and compete in their own fierce but fun competition. 

The Pioneer Woman: Ranch Wedding

Join the guest list to the fabulous frontier wedding as Ree Drummond’s daughter Alex Drummond marries her college sweetheart Mauricio Scott. Viewers will have a front row seat to these dream nuptials and all the planning and preparation for the spectacular day. With only 10 days left until the big day, the Drummond family is working to get everything set up not just for 500 wedding guests, but for a big bash in the middle of their isolated ranch. Ree has a lot on her plate, from deciding which mother-of-the-bride dress to say yes to wearing as her eldest daughter walks down the aisle, to navigating thunderstorms as they threaten the wedding timeline, the special documents all the highs and lows leading up to the wedding. It’s a one-of-a-kind celebration not to be missed!


 You, Me & My Ex

How close is too close when it comes to staying friends with your ex? You, Me & My Ex explores just that. Viewers follow along as five different couples navigate some choppy waters when an ex is still in the picture and a little too close for comfort. These complicated love triangles are redefining the rules and offer a different look at relationships.

So Freakin Cheap

So Freakin Cheap follows four unique families as they go to extraordinary lengths to save money and live their most frugal lives. Whether it's dumpster diving for freebies, planning a wedding on a $700 budget or painting an entire home using free paint samples, these families will stop at nothing to spend nothing!

 Addicted to Marriage

It's one thing to always be the bridesmaid and never the bride, but it’s quite another to ALWAYS be the bride. This brand new series follows "serial" brides and grooms who have been engaged and married many, MANY times, including someone who is about to walk down the aisle for the twelfth time! Will these "marriage addicts" really say "I Do" again? Or, will secrets, drama and judgement from family and friends steer them otherwise? 

Animal Planet

Otter Dynasty (w/t)

Meet Singapore’s rare, utterly adorable smooth-coated otters. Declared locally extinct in the 1970s, this species has since made a welcome comeback to this exciting sovereign island city-state that they now call “home.” Since their return from the brink of extinction, multiple otter families have shown their desire and determination to reside in the prime otter real estate of Marina Bay. The catch? There’s only room for one dominant “royal” family.  In this urban wildlife story, audiences will be mesmerized as three urbanized otter clans make it their business to fight for their turn to be on top while continuing to adapt to their concrete jungle. This is the ultimate clash of the otter clans, and there can only be one ruler.  


Bitchin’ Rides

Some great artists work with oil on canvas, others with clay, but for Dave Kindig, iron and chrome are the tools of his creative self-expression, and he is an artist at the top of his craft. From his sprawling 27,000-square-foot custom fabrication shop, Kindig It Design, Dave and his team use cars as their canvases to create extraordinary works of art for serious car lovers nationwide. Bitchin’ Rides, one of MotorTrend TV’s highest-rated series returns to give audiences another glimpse into the imaginative, creative genius of Kindig’s self-made business.

Faster With Finnegan

Hobbyist mechanics and car lovers across America are in search of more speed from their project car. But can you make significant upgrades with limited funds and limited time? If so, will the upgrades made on your car outperform a newer or pricier model? In the all-new season of Faster With Finnegan, streaming on the MotorTrend App, Finnegan and his friends David Newbern and Mike Cotten seek answers while sharing with viewers the knowledge, the technology, the real-life problems and the hard work that come with adding speed within a limited time frame without breaking the bank. Every week the series will feature a different vehicle, a different build, a different form of racing and a new challenge.

 Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew

In the MotorTrend TV debut of the new series Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew, Kevin Hart and The Plastic Cup Boyz seek answers to the questions around being a devoted automotive fan, learn to navigate the challenges of owning classic vehicles and make us laugh along the way. Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew is a lighthearted, hilarious journey into the car collecting world. From finding a trusted, skilled mechanic in Lucky Costa from MotorTrend’s HOT ROD GARAGE to customizing, racing, and experiencing the highs and lows of no reserve classic car auctions, Kevin and his friends settle internal debates with the help of automotive experts while gaining hard-earned knowledge in fulfilling their newfound passion. The debut of the series on MotorTrend TV follows its launch on MotorTrend's streaming service this summer.

 Motor Mythbusters

Looking to answer the biggest questions on every car fan’s mind, MotorTrend is melding science with the street in a joyful search for truth behind popular automotive myths in the MotorTrend TV debut of Motor Mythbusters. Starring Mythbusters alum Tory Belleci, mechanic Faye Hadley, and engineer and professional race car driver Bisi Ezerioha, each episode tackles stories generated by viral videos, urban legends or pop culture. In a quest to separate fact from fiction, Tory, Faye, and Bisi put cars through extreme tests to confirm or debunk everything from extreme Hollywood car stunts to everyday questions that bug car owners.


Hold onto your lugnuts! Ride along with David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan as they search for their next gearhead adventure. In Roadkill, Freiburger and Finnegan have created a cult hit taking on a wide variety of fun automotive projects including all types of gassers, “barely-legal” street machines and high-strung performance vehicles.

 Top Gear America

Top Gear America delivers a uniquely fresh take on classic “Top Gear”, the world’s biggest motoring show, by following the motorized mischief and supercharged adventures of Dax Shepard, Rob Corddry and Jethro Bovingdon across America. In season two, premiering on the MotorTrend App, Dax, Rob and Jethro return to their mission of driving the wheels off whatever they can get their hands on; celebrating all the things they love about cars and arguing about the things they don’t. Top Gear America takes an irreverent look at the auto industry each week as Dax, Rob and Jethro tackle challenges with comedy, class and commitment.


R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.