SILVER SPRING, MD - Animal Planet is releasing three new programs that showcase the guts, high stakes drama and competitive spirit of horses and riders at the top of equestrian sport. From the intense pressure leading up to the final U.S. Olympic Equestrian team selection to the adrenaline filled action of a sport where every hundredth of a second counts, Animal Planet’s world championship equestrian line-up gallops into homes beginning July 2008, with the ROLEX SUPERSTARS OF SHOW JUMPING, ROLEX GRAND PRIX OF SHOW JUMPING, FTI HAMPTON CLASSIC GRAND PRIX and returning favorite the ANIMAL PLANET SPORTHORSE CUP.
“With the addition of these thrilling world-class competitions to the Animal Planet roster, we are tapping into equestrian enthusiasts’ passion for horse sports,” said Victoria Lowell, senior vice president of marketing for Animal Planet Media. “Expanding our commitment to horse programming enables us to celebrate the fantastic sport of show jumping and honor the immense skill and talent of both human and animal athletes, while reining in a new crop of horse fans as we ramp up the excitement for the upcoming original documentary series JOCKEYS, debuting next year.”
This suite of horse programming is hosted by athlete and sports commentator Lewis Johnson; sports anchor and contributor for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Andrew Catalon; and top international show-jumping competitor and U.S. horse trainer, Kim Prince. This team of correspondents will give viewers the play-by play of each event and behind the scenes stories from each competition. Up first is ROLEX SUPERSTARS OF SHOW JUMPING (premieres Saturday, July 26, at 3 PM ET/PT). In this special, the defending U.S. champion Beezie Madden travels to Germany to compete against the top horses and riders in the world in a one of kind ride-off. In August, saddle-up with the ROLEX GRAND PRIX OF SHOW JUMPING (premieres Saturday, August 2, at 3 PM ET/PT) which rounds up the top athletes and their horses from around the world for this prestigious event. This competition is the last chance for American athletes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team. In October, some of the key competitors just back from the Olympic Games will be featured in the FTI HAMPTON CLASSIC GRAND PRIX (premieres Saturday, October 4, at 3 PM ET/PT), one of America’s most fashionable and prestigious equine events. And wrapping up our equine line-up in January, experience the thrill and danger of Olympic-level show jumping when ANIMAL PLANET’S SPORTHORSE CUP (premieres Saturday, January 10, at 3 PM ET/PT), invites seven of the world’s top riders to compete in a unique three round test of rider and horse.
“These programs provide an inside look at some of the world’s top riders and the training and skill that go into becoming a champion,” said executive producer Mick Kaczorowski. “I’m pleased to be a part of this project and hope by exposing more people to the beauty and awe of this sport, that we inspire a new generation of equestrians.”
Animal Planet has let the following programs out of the barn:
SUPERSTARS OF SHOW-JUMPING
Premieres Saturday, July 26, at 3 PM (ET/PT)
(Event date; July 5, 2008) - This event takes place in Aachen, Germany and is the only event of its kind in the world. It will feature the reigning Olympic, World, European and Aachen Champions jumping against each other. In the four-round event each rider first rides their own horse, and then in subsequent rounds rides each of their competitor’s horses. The defending U.S. champion Beezie Madden will be amongst the competitors. Also included will be a long feature on the Rolex World Cup in Sweden.
ROLEX GRAND PRIX OF SHOW-JUMPING
Premieres Saturday, August 2, at 3 PM (ET/PT)
Also taking place in Aachen, Germany (Event date: July 6, 2008) this prestigious event is the last chance for U.S. athletes and horses to make the U.S. Olympic Team. The pressure is compounded by the biggest crowds in show jumping (sold out with 35,000 spectators) and a stellar field of international riders. Tension will build towards the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team announcement that will be the dramatic conclusion to this special.
FTI HAMPTON CLASSIC GRAND PRIX
Premieres Saturday, October 4, at 3 PM (ET/PT)
In the Hampton's, New York, held just after the Olympic Games (Event date; August 31st, 2008), the FTI HAMPTON CLASSIC GRAND PRIX will take place, attracting many of the key competitors just back from the Summer Games. This is one of America’s most prestigious equine events taking place in one of our country’s most fashionable locales.
ANIMAL PLANET SPORTHORSE CUP
Premieres Saturday, January 10, at 3 PM (ET/PT)
(Event date: November 2nd, 2008) Rounding out our season in Syracuse, NY will be a one of a kind all-star event featuring a unique three-round show jumping competition designed just for television. Competing will be a limited invitational all-star field of international competitors and horses.
ROLEX SUPERSTARS OF SHOW-JUMPING, ROLEX GRAND PRIX OF SHOW-JUMPING, FTI HAMPTON CLASSIC GRAND PRIX and ANIMAL PLANET SPORTHORSE CUP were produced by Carr-Hughes Productions for Animal Planet. Jim Carr and Bob Hughes are the executive producers for Carr-Hughes Productions. Mick Kaczorowski is the executive producer for Animal Planet.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 93 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.