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Sony Begins Voyage of Discovery Shows

19 Jan, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

What do motorcycles, homes and an Egyptian king who's been dead for thousands of years have in common?

It's not that they all need make-overs (although that may be true as well). It's that viewers will be able to see Discovery Communications Inc. programming on these subjects and more on titles from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“It feeds the pipeline,” said Suzanne White, the division's VP of marketing for family and catalog. Discovery Communications' programming “dovetails with the DVD demographic.”

That will lead to releases of programs like “American Chopper” and “Monster Garage” as well.

“They never released the way a lot of programs have, in full seasons,” White said. Just about every month we will have a release, and some months will have more than one release. We will draft off of [series] season launches and holidays.”

First in the group will be Rameses: Wrath of God or Man?, which seeks to sort out myth from fiction regarding the king portrayed as the oppressor of Moses and the Jews in Old Testament times. The program centers around the recently discovered skeletal remains believed to belong to Rameses II's firstborn, Amun-Her-Khepeshef, and the questions they might answer.

“We started with Rameses in March because of the proximity to the Passover and Easter holidays,” White said. “A lot of what we will do with Rameses will be grassroots and targeted. While it is very interesting, it does not have the mass appeal of some other shows. But forensic science has a big hip factor to it.”

Although Rameses will be offered only on DVD ($19.94), Sony will decide for each title whether to release it on VHS as well. Whenever possible, the programs will include bonus materials, White said. But SPHE will also try some new approaches to organizing the shows.

“We've got some different ways that we will be reformatting ‘Trading Spaces,’ White said, noting the show will be released two ways: “We are going to theme it by room in the house, the other will be by designer. That is basically how people go about decorating and remodeling projects, and it has never been tried that way in the market.”

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