This is what reality television should be.
One of our favorite things about the BBC's brilliant Life series (aside from David Attenborough's soothing voice) are the making-of bits at the end of each episode on the Blu-ray edition. While the episodes themselves are pretty magical, there's something about seeing that real-life aspect of how each shot was captured that makes the show that bit more special. Up until today, we though this was as close to the action as we could get from our own homes. Apparently not.
The BBC has announced that it's taking Planet Earth to the next level: They're doing it live. Next month, the film makers froms the BBC's Natural History Unit will follow the lives of baby elephants in Kenya, black bears in Minnesota, macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka, meerkats in South Africa, grey whales in the Pacific and lion cubs in the Masaai Mara. Shooting will take place over six different time zones, with different crews to follow each group of animals (Top Gear's Richard Hammond, for example, will be taking on the job of tracking the lions).
Of course, there's no use doing it live if you're not going to broadcast. People will be able to watch the live broadcast from locations all around the globe with Planet Earth Live simultaneously broadcast to a global audience starting May 6 on BBC ONE at 19:50 BST (UK time), on BBC Knowledge (EMEA – Poland, Africa and the Nordic region), BBC Knowledge Australia and New Zealand, and BBC HD (the Nordic Region, Poland and Turkey). After that, it will air at 20:00 BST (UK time) every Thursday and Sunday for three weeks.
"We are the only network in the world which can broadcast the biggest wildlife series ever undertaken to an international audience, across multiple platforms," said David Weiland, SVP Programming and TV Channels at the BBC. "The culmination of ten years development and digital technological innovation from the BBC's Natural History Unit means our audiences will be a part of this truly global viewing experience, where even the show's producers don't know what's going to happen next, to this cast of truly incredible animals."
Sadly, not only did the BBC not mention details for a North American broadcast, the network specifically said that the U.S. and Canada were excluded from the event.