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Discovery Channel orders new 'Coal' and 'Iditarod' reality series

By Christopher Rocchio, 03/21/2008 

Coal miners and sled-dog racers will apparently receive the same reality series treatment as king crab fisherman, arctic truckers and loggers.

Discovery Channel has ordered Coal and Iditarod, two new reality series from Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men production company Original Productions, The Hollywood Reporter reported Wednesday.

"At Discovery, we look at ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things and show the heroic side," Discovery president John Ford told The Reporter. "This is the DNA that ties all three shows together, and it's an important aspect of what Discovery Channel does. We're going out there into the tough places of the world where the temperatures and conditions are extreme."

Coal will follow coal miners who work at a small company in Brady's Bend, PA as they compete against larger coal-mining companies to find new deposits to supply buyers, according to The Reporter.  As if racing against companies with more resources weren't bad enough, the boys in Brady's Bend also regularly deal with gas explosions, roof collapses and dangerous machinery.

Discovery has ordered six one-hour episodes of the tentatively-titled series, with production beginning next week for a fall premiere, according to The Reporter.

Iditarod will follow eight teams competing in the annual 1,151-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which occurs each March over the course of two weeks in the Alaskan wilderness, according to The Reporter.

Original Productions CEO Thom Beers told The Reporter that cameras documented eight of the 85 teams that competed in this year's recently concluded Iditarod race.

"We got the winner," Beers told The Reporter, a reference to two-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Lance Mackey.

In addition, Beers said he's been interested in producing a show about the race for some time now.

"But we had to wait until technology caught up," he told The Reporter. "We couldn't use ordinary cameras. We had to use something that would be light enough so it wasn't weighing down the sleds."

Discovery has ordered six one-hour episodes of the tentatively-titled series, which is scheduled for a late summer premiere, according to The Reporter.

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