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Animal Planet's 'Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation' to debut June 6


By Christopher Rocchio, 04/22/2008 

Animal Planet has announced Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation will premiere Friday, June 6 at 9PM ET/PT.  Similar to the show's prior seasons, the new season will follow the remaining "Whiskers" clan members' attempts to survive in the Kalahari Desert.

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Flower, the former Whiskers matriarch and focal point of Meerkat Manor's first three seasons, died last February after being bitten by a cobra in South Africa.  Less than a month later, her daughter Mozart was also killed in an apparent jackal attack.

Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation will follow Rocket Dog as she ascends to Flower's thrown as the new Whiskers clan leader.  However Maybelline wasn't willing to accept her sister's leadership and thus ventured out into the Kalahari to form her own clan -- the "Aztecs." 

Lacking a solid leader to unify them, both clans face familiar foes in an attempt to survive while also battling each other.

Emmy Award-winning actress Stockard Channing will narrate Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation, which Animal Planet promised will deliver "betrayals, romances, seductions and new titillating storylines."  The 13-episode series is being produced by Oxford Scientific Films, with Caroline Hawkins and Mick Kaczorowski serving as executive producers.

On Sunday, May 25 at 8PM ET/PT, Animal Planet will air Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins -- a 90-minute special narrated by Whoopi Goldberg that will follow Flower's life from a young, inexperienced meerkat into queen of the Whiskers clan. 

The biopic -- which was filmed over a seven-month period -- was produced via a partnership between Animal Planet, Oxford Scientific Films/Southern Star, Cambridge University and behavioral ecologist Professor Tim Clutton-Brock.

Immediately following Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins, Animal Planet will air The Making of Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins -- a half-hour documentary that will show viewers how the biopic was filmed. 

Animal Planet will then air an encore broadcast of Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins on Friday, May 30 at 8PM ET/PT, and it will be followed by the half-hour special The Science of Meerkat Manor.

Animal Planet announced in February that it was relaunching and rebranding itself around a new more adult-targeted programming schedule that would include animal-themed reality shows and additional Meerkat Manor-like anthropomorphic series.

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