A & E Network to air new Southwest Airlines 'Airline' unscripted series
By Reality TV World staff, 08/06/2003
A&E Network and Southwest Airlines have announced that they have partnered together to produce an all-new, real-life adventure series called "Airline" -- a behind the scenes look at the drama surrounding commercial airline travel.
A&E Network is currently in production with Granada (the show's production company) on ten half-hour episodes of "Airline," which will premiere during the first quarter of 2004. "Airline" is based on the hit U.K. show of the same name, which has consistently pulled in strong ratings during its six-year run on Britain's ITV Network.
The A&E Network series will focus on Southwest Airlines, America's fourth largest carrier, which came up with the concept of low cost, no frills travel. The airline, which has been in business for 32 years, carries 65 million passengers every year and, in an industry struggling to cope post 9/11, is still making a profit.
"Airline" will not only focus on the highs and lows of passengers who hop on board Southwest flights bound for destinations across the United States. The program also will also follow the airline's staff and crew, from the high flying pilots through to the check in staff and supervisors who work with Customers day in and day out.
"We're thrilled to have this unprecedented partnership with Southwest Airlines. The many flights of Southwest Airlines offer the perfect vehicle for a multitude of compelling stories. The pilots, flight attendants, airport employees and others interact every day with hurried executives, crying children, weary travelers and heightened security," said DeBitetto. "It's a crazy way of life, and one that is extraordinarily interesting to watch."
"We're delighted to be working with A&E and Southwest Airlines to make 'Airline' in the US. We're particularly pleased that we've been able to draw on a production team made up of both British and American talent to make the series," says Joe Houlihan, Co-Executive Producer, Granada. "'Airline' has been a phenomenally successful series for ITV and we're sure American viewers will find the thrills and spills of life behind the scenes of this huge airline fascinating."
"This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to showcase the customer service passion and vision of our Southwest employees as they serve our valued customers," said Colleen Barrett, Southwest Airlines' President and Chief Operating Officer. "This is an exciting project that we believe will give an added dimension to our already strong brand in the airline industry."
"Airline" will be produced by Granada for A&E Network. Nancy Dubuc is the executive producer for A&E Network. Joe Houlihan and Charles Tremayne are co- executive producers for Granada. Chris Carey is the producer.
Granada USA New York and Granada Entertainment USA are the US based production divisions of Granada plc. In the last 12 months, Granada has been responsible for an estimated 125 hours of drama, 35 hours of factual, 20 hours of entertainment and six-and-a-half hours of children's programming on U.S. screens..