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Discovery reveals the identities of new 'The Colony' reality series cast


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/02/2009 

Discovery Channel has revealed the identities of the 10 people participating in The Colony, a new reality series that will isolate a group of participants for two months and require them to create a sustainable society inside an abandoned warehouse.

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The Colony -- which the network is billing as "a groundbreaking experiment" that will attempt to determine what would happen after a "global catastrophe" -- will begin with 10 people moving into a 50,000 square-foot abandoned warehouse on a three-and-a-half acre plot near the Los Angeles River in downtown Los Angeles.

Once there, The Colony's participants will spend the next two months attempting to create a livable society inside the warehouse using only their personal skills and whatever tools and supplies they can recover from their surroundings.  The warehouse is without modern amenities such as electricity, running water and communication with the outside world.

According to the network, the space was designed by emergency management and homeland security expert Adam Montella, engineer Thomas Mackin, and psychologist Dr. Miatta Raschel Snetter -- who used elements from both real-life disasters and models of what the future could look like after a global catastrophe.

Throughout the series, the experts who designed the space will offer insight to viewers on challenges the participants could face in the context of real-world disasters as they work together to build the necessities of survival and society -- such as a water filtration system, a battery bank for electricity, a solar cooker, a shower system and a greenhouse.

In addition, different tools and sparse food items will be "strategically placed" in the space to represent what might be viably available in an urban post-disaster landscape based on actual event data recorded during past real-life catastrophes.  

As part of the experiment, the participants will also be challenged by "a hostile gang of looters and thugs" who threaten their security and force them to devise a safety plan to protect themselves. 

The Colony is currently slated to debut on Tuesday, July 21 at 10PM ET/PT on Discovery.

The 10 "colonists" participating in The Colony -- and their Discovery-supplied bios -- are:

- Vladimir Beck, a 62-year-old retired oil industry engineer from Zagreb, Croatia who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

Vladimir has been a mechanical engineer since the 1970s and spent many years working as an engineer in oil refineries. Though highly intelligent, Vladimir is much more than a brain. He is quick to point out his love of the land and his ability to "survive, build shelter, make water, procure food and make sure everyone is safe." He spent a number of years in the military and one of Vladimir's greatest accomplishments is escaping Communist Croatia as a young man. He says that the time he spent in Croatia still plays a significant role in his caring for others because he saw "how [his] own folk suffered." Vladimir is 62 years old but "doesn't feel over 21."

- John Cohn, a 50-year-old chief scientist for design automation from Richmond, VT

John is an expert in many areas, including fixing, making or hacking anything electronic, building structures out of natural materials, tying knots, growing edible plants, mechanical fabrication, welding, sculpting and fire building. He helps build the chips at the heart of IBM's mainframe computers as well as the chip brains in video game consoles. At home, John is a self proclaimed "Mad Scientist," and he has performed a "Jolts and Volts" electricity show to more than 50,000 people across America. In 2006, John and his wife Diane's 14 year old son, Sam, was killed in a traffic accident. Since then, John has dedicated all of his education outreach work to Sam's memory. He is always eager to share his love for science and engineering with anyone who will listen.

- George Fallieras, a 34-year-old internal medicine/pediatric/ER doctor from Tampa, FL who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

George grew up as an athletic, popular kid in Tampa, Florida to a family of doctors. After majoring in Marine Biology at University of Florida and considering a career as a marine mammal veterinarian, he decided to go to medical school because he liked to take care of people even more than animals. Medically trained in Tennessee and New Orleans, George is fond of traveling and has discovered a pleasant benefit to his job: he can do it anywhere. George is a thinker and doesn't act before considering consequences of his actions because if he makes a mistake at work, someone could die. He is a strong fisherman, can start a fire and hunt. George returned to New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to provide care in makeshift medical units.

- Morgan Hooker, a 23-year-old aerospace engineer from Woodland Hills, CA

Morgan is passionate about engineering. She can create electricity, irrigation, make a generator, and build a heat insulated shelter using clay, metal, wood and her generator. She is also a sculptor who can make a kiln from clay and dirt, and can make pots, pans, plates, cups, etc. As an aerospace engineer, she focuses mostly on engines and propulsion mechanisms for planes and spacecraft. Morgan is currently self employed, building custom computers for both individuals and companies, but plans to move back into rocket science after her experience on The Colony.

- Michael Raines, a 47-year-old solar panel installer/fabricator from Kotor Croatia who currently resides in Santa Monica, CA

Michael surprises everyone with his skills in building alternative energy. He is an inventor who fabricates furniture from both wood and metal, customizes cars and bikes, installs solar panels, and makes bows and arrows from scrap metal. Michael is also quite opinionated and is both a conspiracy theorist and pessimist. He feels he'll survive in a catastrophe because he has vast knowledge on alternative energy and is a fighter.

- Joey Sciacca, a 37-year-old building contracting company owner from Los Angeles, CA who currently resides in Sherman Oaks, CA

Joey is a Black Belt Tang Soo Doo and can build a house from the ground up. He also does plumbing, electrical, drywall, framing, concrete and is an artist utilizing pencil, pointillism and pastels. He is also a caffeine addict with big energy. Although Joey seems to be on top of things, his life was once a wreck. In 1994, while living in New York, in an attempt to make good on some debts, Joey agreed to do a drug run for a friend. He was arrested in Miami boarding a train for New York and ended up serving six years in prison for his crime. Once out of prison, Joey turned his life around and got into construction where he works as an eco-friendly contractor. He takes great pride in his work, especially when he can be creative.

- Leilani Smith, a 36-year-old black belt martial arts fighter/instructor from Osan City, Korea who currently resides in Sherman Oaks, CA

Leilani was born in Osan City, Korea. She found her calling as soon as she stepped onto a martial arts mat at age 28 and quickly realized she preferred sparring men in a male-dominated sport. She works as a personal trainer/self defense instructor and loves being a student in the game of life. Leilani is into mental strategic games such as chess and Scrabble, enjoys being physical and getting her hands dirty. She also loves to cook and uses her organizational skills in charity to help homeless and battered women. Peaceful yet strong, she is always willing to show her heart and bear her soul if necessary.

- John Valencia, a 37-year-old machinist from Covina, CA

John's many mechanical skills have not only made him a jack of all trades, but also a conservationist. He firmly believes that anything can be used for something other than its original intended purpose, and so nothing should be thrown away because it can be salvaged and reused. His training has provided him the ingenuity to approach a pile of rubble and make something from nothing -- to take the most basic idea from concept to fruition. As a machinist, John can make pipe fitting for irrigation, repair engines and rebuild alternators to hook up to generators for electricity. He also has developed hand crank electrical systems. A welder, cook, volunteer and a funny guy, John is a "regular renaissance man" in every sense of the phrase.

- Amy West, a 34-year-old marine specialist from Durango, CO who currently resides in San Louis Obispo, CA

Amy is certified in CPR, diving and advanced rescue. While she grew up in the mountains of Durango, CO, she always felt a kinship towards the sea. At age 18 she packed her bags and moved to the Caribbean to study Marine Biology. While in the Virgin Islands in 1995, she experienced Hurricane Marilyn firsthand. Moved to do humanitarian work, she then entered the Peace Corps and served in Gabon, Africa for two and a half years, and then to New Zealand to work on organic farms for an additional three years. Amy eventually relocated to central California to complete a research internship, which led to stints in Alaska, Antarctica & the Arctic Circle.

- Allison White, a 29-year-old registered nurse from Oklahoma City, OK

Allison strives to approach all of life's experiences with a happy and positive outlook. Her passion for helping others was what led her to pursue a career in nursing. She believes it is her natural ability to remain calm in extreme, life-threatening situations as the reason she has found herself most at home working in the emergency room. Over the years, Allison's assignments as a traveling nurse have led to the opportunity to both work and explore living in cities such as Manhattan, Miami, Los Angeles, and Honolulu.

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