Hanna Returns From the Wilds

Dec 18, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Television’s longest-running animal expert has made a deal to create his first new series in more than a decade.

Longtime syndication staple Jack Hanna is partnering with Trifecta Media and Entertainment for a new original half-hour weekly series set to launch in fall 2007. The series, “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,” marks Mr. Hanna’s first new project since the 1990s and will follow his adventures around the world in search of the ultimate animal experience.

Unlike previous series featuring the animal expert, this series will include Mr. Hanna’s family on the travels. Among the crew who will participate are Mr. Hanna’s wife, Suzi, and daughters Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie, as well as longtime crew members and confidantes Glenn Nickerson and Dan Devaney.

“This project is particularly exciting to me as I have wanted to do a show with my family for a very long time,” Mr. Hanna said. “And now, we’ll have the opportunity to visit exotic locations and the people who live there, interact with animals in their natural habitats and share the entire adventure with audiences who have been our friends for the past two decades.”

Mr. Hanna has starred in Litton’s “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” since 1993. The half-hour series, which aired in both weekly and stripped formats, is currently seen in 62 countries. However, Mr. Hanna will no longer be producing new episodes for that franchise, turning his attention now to Trifecta’s nowborn program.

Trifecta will offer 22 half-hour installments of “Into the Wild,” available for broadcast during the 2007-08 television season on a full barter basis. The company will handle all advertising sales for the program through its New York office, headed by Trifecta partner Michael Daraio.

“Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” is produced by Jungle Jack Productions. Mr. Hanna is host and executive producer. Mr. Nickerson is executive producer and director.

Bill Trotter, who oversees broadcast sales for Trifecta, was optimistic about the broad appeal to stations the show holds. “Hanna is an iconic television figure who is recognized and embraced by all demographic groups,” he said. “No other show is as FCC-friendly, meets the Educational and Informational Children’s Programming standards, and is as purely entertaining as `Into the Wild.”‘

Trifecta has beefed up its presence in the weekly syndication market in recent weeks, having announced a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization earlier in the month for the UFC’s first foray into syndication (TelevisionWeek, Dec. 11).

“Jack Hanna is one of television’s most well-known, well-respected and well-loved personalities,” said Hank Cohen, Trifecta partner and CEO. “For the past 14 seasons, he has charmed and engaged millions of viewers, shared his love of animals and inspired greater understanding of the world in which we live through his animal adventures.”