Watchman: Travel Channel Gets Wet, While 'Mozart' Stays Dry

You may have already had your fill of holiday programming, even with Santa a few weeks away from touching down. How about something completely different from the snow-covered December TV confections, like a trip to a tropical beach or a picturesque pool? After the success of its “Dive Into Summer” stunt in August, Travel Channel next month is debuting “Dive Into Winter,” with original episodes of Top Secret Swimming Holes, Top Secret Waterfalls and Top Secret Beaches

“We’ve seen on other Scripps networks—tropical beaches, pools, those kinds of getaways—that really resonate in the dead of winter,” says Courtney White, Travel Channel senior VP of programming. 

The stunt will air on Sundays throughout January. Top Secret Beaches, for one, shows sandy oases in Hawaii, the Caribbean and other places you’d like to be right about now. “If you venture a little bit off the beaten path—hike a little further, kayak a bit more—you’ll have a beautiful beach all to yourself,” says White. 

Until, of course, Travel Channel tells everyone about them. 

And here’s another warm, welcome image from Television Land: Gael Garcia Bernal, Monica Bellucci and Placido Domingo, floating down Venice’s Grand Canal on rafts. It must be a new season of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon. Exec producer Paul Weitz says the scene was particularly stressful to shoot. “I was just hoping no one fell in the water, and that Placido did not catch a cold that would prevent him from singing the next day,” he says. “It was completely insane.” 

Season 3, starting Dec. 9, also ventures to, of all places, Rikers Island—New York’s own all-inclusive island getaway. Roman Coppola directed that episode, which featured a full orchestra performing for the jail’s inmates. “It was fun to make something that will never happen again,” Coppola says. 

Our Cover Story (page 8) mentions how SVOD players don’t share ratings with pesky trade reporters. It appears they don’t share the numbers with show chiefs either, leaving the producers to guesstimate. 

“Supposedly there’s 200 million people who watch every episode [of Mozart],” quips Weitz. 

“And all of Argentina!” adds fellow exec producer Will Graham. Bonus points if they are watching on a hidden beach there. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.