TCA: Discovery, DiCaprio Pair on Tornado Series

Discovery’s new Planet Green channel has paired with Leonardo DiCaprio on Eco-Town, a cornerstone series about the environmentally-friendly rebuilding of a Kansas town slammed by a tornado in May.

The show, which will chronicle the redevelopment of Greensburg, Kansas, will be Green’s marquee series when the channel launches in some 50 million homes in first quarter, 2008. The small, rural town’s 1,500 residents were left with nothing when the town was desecrated by a hurricane May 4.

The 13-part series will chronicle the Kansas governors and the city manager’s attempts to rebuild the town with an eco-friendly, sustainable model.

DiCaprio and Craig Piligian (Pilgrim Films & Television) brought the project to Discovery. The pair, DiCaprio through his production company Appian Way, will executive produce with Piligian and Discovery Studios. DiCaprio will also sit on Discovery’s Planet Green Board of Advisers, a group leaders in the environmental field

“This is at the center of what we want to do with Planet Green,” said Discovery Communications President/CEO David Zaslav at an presentation about the company’s suite of cable networks today for television critics. “This is not about a TV show and about a cable channel that reaches 50 million homes…we’re the number one non-fiction media company in the world, but we also want to make a difference.”

Discovery said at its upfront presentation to advertisers this April that, as part of a $50 million “PlanetGreen” initiative, it planned to relaunch its Discovery Home channel as a network dedicated to programming on leading a green lifestyle.

With major corporations attempting to polish their own reputations through green marketing, the media company is looking to remind advertisers of its own earth-friendly brand.

Discovery’s marquee Discovery Channel will also focus on tornadoes with the upcoming series Storm Chasers, slated to launch Oct. 16.  at 10 p.m.