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History is taking the wraps off two major projects: the History 100, a set of 100 documentaries exploring the past 100 years, and a three-hour live event in July honoring daredevil Evel Knievel.
The projects were announced in the runup to parent A+E Networks’ upfrontpresentation this evening.
The documentary initiative, which has a working title of The History 100, is described as “an ambitious new strand comprised of 100 films focusing on the most compelling historical events of the last 100 years.” It aims to complement the network’s ongoing non-fiction and scripted programming.
Among the first eight films of the 100 are works from noted documentary filmmakers Barbara Kopple, Charles Ferguson, Daniel Junge and Werner Herzog. Topics will include the history of the video game industry; the battle between Coke and Pepsi; the story of Watergate; former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev; and the Mercury 13 group of prospective female astronauts that ignited an early public debate on gender equality. (The Watergate project directed by Ferguson, an Oscar winner for Inside Job, was announced last spring.)
The initial History 100 slate, to which A+E owns all worldwide distribution rights, includes:
Speed Demons (working title) — Executive produced by Dale Earnhardt Jr., this two-hour special highlights the innovative, fearless and larger-than-life renegades who devoted their lives to pursuing the world’s most perilous speed records – and breaking them. Featuring interviews with fanatical “speed demons,” the show chronicles the history of speed through the eyes of those most passionate about it. The program will also follow the inimitable
Ed Shadle, a speed record holder, as he makes a pulse-pounding attempt to set the first speed record in 20
years. “Speed Demons” is produced by Pilgrim Media Group. Craig Piligian and Sam Korkis are executive
producers for Pilgrim Media Group. Jim Pasquarella is executive producer for History.
Hot Rods & Muscle Cars (working title) — This two-hour special tells the story of the rise, fall and resurrection of the hot rod culture in America, born underground by mavericks who loved speed, power and engineering. Highlighting the most iconic, pavement-shredding muscle cars in history – the outlaw cars that broke all the rules – the program will feature the rebels who built them, the renegades who drove them and the indelible imprint they left on American culture. Hot Rods & Muscle Cars is produced by Pilgrim Media Group. Craig Piligian and Sam Korkis are executive producers for Pilgrim Media Group. Jim Pasquarella is executive producer for History.
Truck Wars (working title) — Since their inception at the turn of the last century, pickup trucks have continued to develop, with manufacturing titans such as Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet competing to build the best of the best. In an hour-long special, automotive experts, designers and historians weigh in on the most influential trucks of the past 120 years, covering everything from early Fords based on the Model T and wartime 4×4 Jeeps, to the 1950s luxury Chevy Cameo and the more recent, truly hardcore, high-powered desert truck, the Ford Raptor. This adrenaline-filled special will explore how these heavy-duty vehicles developed, defined offroading and forever altered the automotive landscape in America. Truck Wars is produced by Pilgrim Media Group. Bert Klasey is executive producer for History.