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Discovery+ preps docs, Magnolia shows

Gwen van de Pas’s Discovery+ feature doc Groomed

Fledgling streamer Discovery+ has unveiled a slate of factual shows including a clutch of originals from joint-venture network Magnolia, which has had its linear launch pushed back again.

Discovery+, the new streaming service from factual giant Discovery, launched in the US at the start of January with more than 55,000 episodes from the group’s portfolio of brands, as well as content from the BBC’s natural history collection, A+E Networks and Group Nine.

The service told the Television Critics Association’s winter tour it is now set to release a slate of original commissions from Magnolia, the home and lifestyle JV from Discovery and Fixer Upper presenters Chip and Joanna Gaines, this summer.

More than 150 hours of home, garden and lifestyle programming, including the reboot of Fixer Upper and Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, will be available from July 15.

Magnolia is due to air as a linear cablenet in the US but its launch has been postponed several times, most recently owing to production delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Discovery now says the network will debut in January 2022.

Discovery+ also unveiled a slate of feature documentaries for the first half of 2021. These include Groomed, the story of filmmaker Gwen van de Pas as she returns to her home town in search of answers about the man who sexually abused her as a child.

Miracle Fishing: Kidknapped Abroad looks back 25 years to the kidknapping of director Miles Hargrove’s father near their home in Cali, Colombia, told through the family’s video footage taken at the time.

The Walrus & the Whistleblower follows a trainer who quit his dream job at Niagara Falls’ MarineLand zoo and amusement park claiming it was responsible for animal abuse and fought for a decade to free a walrus with whom he had formed a bond while working there.

My Beautiful Stutter, exec produced by Paul Rudd and Mariska Hargitay; Genius Factory, about a controversial sperm bank; and Second World War doc Apocalypse ’45 are also on the slate, along with the previously announced Francesco, The Impossible Row and Beyond Borders.

“This slate of documentaries is just the beginning for Discovery+, as we embark on an ambitious journey to extend our leadership in non-fiction storytelling to the documentary genre,” said Lisa Holme, group senior VP for content and commercial strategy at Discovery.

“Discovery sets the bar for a number of unscripted categories, and with our new streaming platform, we can satisfy fans of documentaries in a medium where viewers have shown tremendous appetite for the best docs. Expect to hear much more in the months to come.”

The streamer costs US$4.99 per month with ads or US$6.99 for the ad-free version.

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