Birthing a Monster - Animal Planet's First Ever Monster Week
By: Rick Holzman
Monster Week is driven by the same creative spark that initially led us to make River Monsters. Monsters have always intrigued us - and have allowed us to tell tense, surprising and suspenseful stories, from shocking creatures of massive size to those that are microscopic (You may recall Monsters Inside Me, a show revealing how a vacation in paradise could suddenly lead to a horrible disease or worms that ate your flesh and brain) and Killer Aliens - about mega-pythons and poisonous lizards in Florida.
Everyone knows that the oceans are full of sharks and that these magnificent alpha predators swim in beautiful bright blue water. There is inherently something creepier and more terrifying about murky water with a bottom that squishes between your toes. As summer nears and we all venture into lakes, ponds and watering holes to cool off on these hot summer days, let’s ask ourselves: What if the places we thought were safe were actually just as scary as the oceans patrolled by sharks?
Monster Week was a simple idea, born in the dark primordial soup of a conference room. But as often happens with monsters, the idea took on a life of its own. It morphed and evolved into what will become be an annual event! What better way to kick off the summer than by celebrating the REAL MONSTERS that live in the great outdoors?
We had also been working on a bunch of "shock-docs" and the much anticipated project Mermaids:The Body Found. At the same time, we had just heard about a real 20-foot man-eating croc being captured alive in the East. That's when we had the Eureka Moment: What if we let the Monsters (River and otherwise) take over Animal Planet for a full week?!? It would be a killer alien invasion - so to speak. So we started ordering new shows to delight and shock you.
We chose to use our hit series' River Monsters, Finding Bigfoot, Swamp Wars and Call of the Wildman and our new Man-Eating Super Croc to build a drum beat for the U.S. Premiere of Mermaids:The Body Found! And decided that we could once again offer up a bonus "super-sized" episode of River Monsters on Memorial Day.
We decided we should pull it all together, tie it up in a slithery, slimey bow and leave it as a cold, dark present for you - our Animal Planet viewers, in a week so full of monsters that it needs EIGHT DAYS.
Just remember there are REAL MONSTERS out there, even here in the good old U.S. of A.... so as you sit back in the air-conditioned comfort of your TV room, on your sofa, feel safe to turn off the lights and come along with us for the ride - while we are actually out there - seeking and finding.
Enjoy - come on in, the water is fine!
Rick Holzman is Head of Programming for Animal Planet.