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Animal Planet plans new series, specials

by FRAZIER MOORE Associated Press

NEW YORK - Unlike some channels, Animal Planet trades on a message beyond "Watch us."

So says Marjorie Kaplan, group president of Animal Planet and TLC.

"We believe that there is a value to a planet filled with life, and that every living creature has value," she says. "That's an ethos that underlies what we do."

On Thursday, Kaplan will officially unleash for advertisers the channel's programming for the coming year. Its stable of stars will range from puppies and kitties to killer whales, endangered rhinos and a family of snow wolves.

Animal Planet is bringing back a number of established series including "Finding Bigfoot," ''My Cat From Hell," ''Pit Bulls & Parolees," ''River Monsters" and "Treehouse Masters."

For a third year, the channel will celebrate the globe's (and your neighborhood's) most fearsome creatures during its popular Monster Week event. And, of course, Puppy Bowl XI will provide a canine alternative to pigskin next Super Bowl Sunday.

New series and specials to be announced include:

n "Deadly Islands." Large predator expert Dave Salmoni visits some of the world's most remote islands to investigate how their native inhabitants have been successful at surviving some of Mother Nature's fiercest predators.

n "My Tiny Terror." Small dog trainer Jacqueline Wilson goes nose-to-snout with some of the naughtiest and tiniest dogs as they cause mayhem in their owners' homes.

n "Revenge of the Whale" is a two-hour dramatic film starring Martin Sheen, who relates a tale of his life as a cabin boy on the ill-fated voyage of a whaling ship, an adventure presaging Herman Melville's "Moby Dick."

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