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History looks for gators, X-Men, mummies and marksmen

May 4, 2010 | 10:19 am

DrZahiHawass Cable channel History, trying to broaden its borders even further, will look for mummies, gators, real-life X-Men, everyday Da Vinci codes and genuine American experiences in its new slate of shows for next season.

The network, which has cracked the top 10 in viewers ages 25 to 54 with series like "Ice Road Truckers" and "Pawn Stars," also will launch its first scripted miniseries, "The Kennedys," and its first competition reality show, a marksman contest called "Top Shot."

Among the 15 new original series and 10 big-event specials the network will announce next week to its advertisers are historically based "Chasing Mummies," which follows antiquities expert Zahi Hawass on his digs in Egypt, and Brad Meltzer's "Decoded," in which, with shades of "National Treasure" and "The Da Vinci Code," the bestselling writer looks for clues and finds hidden meaning in ordinary objects.

Expanding the definition of history, which has served the channel well in the last several years, is Stan Lee's "Superhumans." The comic maven will host with Daniel Browning Smith, who has been dubbed the most flexible man in the world, and the two will travel the world looking for people with genetic mutations that give them special powers. "Swamp People," set in Louisiana, centers on gator-hunting Cajuns trying to protect a dying way of life.

For the purists, there are presidents aplenty, with the previously announced eight-hour miniseries "The Kennedys," starring Greg Kinnear, Tom Wilkinson and Katie Holmes. On the documentary-based side, there's "Jefferson," a two-hour special about Thomas Jefferson's complicated life, and "Reagan," about the conservative 40th president. 

CGI-heavy special called "History of the World in Two Hours" won't try to conquer the entire history of the world,  just some of the bits that relate to today, and "President's Book of Secrets," airing late this year, will look at what kind of classified information our commander in chief has and what's too top-secret even for him. "Voices from Inside the Towers" traces calls from the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001,1 and the stories behind those who made them.

Brit import "Top Gear," which tracks the history of the automobile, will launch this fall, as will "Vigilante Inspector," in which engineers will examine the country's decaying infrastructure.

"Only in America," with Larry the Cable Guy, also set for the fall, will follow the actor and comedian as he sidles up to everyday folks to learn about their lives, jobs and hobbies. That would fall under the current history banner, like successful History series "American Pickers."

--T.L. Stanley

Photo: Dr. Zahi Hawass. Credit: History


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