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UPFRONT & CENTER: An Inconvenient Truth Highlights Discovery Slate

Discovery Channel unveiled its 2008-09 programming slate, announcing a number of new specials and series.

Highlighting the lineup will be An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary hosted by Al Gore that helped to earn the former vice president the Nobel Prize -- an honor he shared with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Other specials include:

Iditarod, which will follow the competitors in the annual dogsled race in Alaska and ask them why they are participating;

• Continuing with the Planet Earth theme, the network announced Inside Planet Earth, which will examine what goes on under the surface of our planet, showing everything from continental drift to how diamonds form;

Natures Greatest Events, which, in the same vein as Planet Earth, will "highlight the spectacle of global climate phenomena";

Raging Planet, which will explore nature's most dangerous obstacles, such as volcanoes and hurricanes;

Colony, which takes 24 ordinary people and places them in a faux post-apocalyptic world, challenging them to learn new skills and rebuild a civilization -- at least on a small scale;

First Nations, which will review the nations formed by Native Americans in the Americas;

Expedition: New Guinea, which will explore the island nation's flora, fauna and culture; and

Amazon with Bruce Parry, which will see an expedition into the Amazon rainforest.

New series include:

How Stuff Works, based on Web site HowStuffWorks, which will attempt to explain how stuff works;

Expeditions with Josh Bernstein, which will feature Bernstein traveling the world and exploring local culture, archeology and anthropology;

Coal, much like Deadliest Catch, but with coal miners in lieu of fishermen;

Prototype This!, which will feature scientists and investigators trying to solve seemingly impossible challenges with clever inventions;

One WayOut, featuring an escapologist trying to get out of sticky situations he is placed in; and

Time Warp, which will slow down time to see what cannot be seen at normal speed, such as what happens when a match is struck.

Returning for new installments will be Discovery's long-running Shark Week, Koppel on Discovery, Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, Man vs. Wild, Some Assembly Required and Smash Lab, which earned a second-season pickup

For complete coverage of the upfronts, click here.