NEW YORK, March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on the success of the network's rebrand and content transformation, Animal Planet has announced a new show with Mike Tyson, currently known as TAKING ON TYSON, where the former heavyweight champion of the world will take audiences inside the intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing. Slated to film this spring in New York City and debut in early 2011, the show will give audiences an insider's look at pigeon rearing and racing, a sport that is far from the mainstream. The novice pigeon racer Tyson goes toe-to-toe against several individuals in hopes of being crowned a champ all over again. Tyson has a deep passion for the birds and raised pigeons all his life. In fact his first-ever fight as a child was in defense of his birds. But this show will follow his first foray into racing them competitively. So for the first time in years, Tyson enters a sport as an underdog.
"Tyson's passion for his pigeons takes my breath away," marvels Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media. "For years, he has been inspired by these birds that he feels have the 'biggest heart' in the animal kingdom. TAKING ON TYSON peels back new layers of the remarkable persona and deep humanity of Mike Tyson while also showing us a whole world we never knew existed right on the rooftops of New York City."
"I'm honored to be a part of this monumental show on Animal Planet," said Tyson. "I feel a great pride acting as an official representative for all the pigeon fancier's out there. I want people to see why we love these birds. It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me -- New York."
To rear, train and race pigeons -- or "homers" -- requires dedication, discipline, patience and tenderness. For many pigeon racers, these avian athletes are the kings of the bird world. Their intelligence, spirit, titanic bonds of loyalty and astounding homing ability sets them apart from other birds. Pigeon fliers treat the birds like fine thoroughbred horses to dominate the racetrack. Such a feat could not be accomplished alone, especially for a rookie like Tyson, but he has a colorful team of pigeon experts by his side, including his trainer Vinnie Torre, caretakers the Roman Brothers and promoter/manager Mario Costa, each providing deep insights into the rich and colorful sport of pigeon racing. With the gritty and scenic backdrop of New York City rooftops, TAKING ON TYSON takes flight with its view of weekly pigeon auctions and dynamic competitions.
TAKING ON TYSON was created and produced by Touch Productions in association with Tyrannic Productions for Animal Planet. Malcolm Brinkworth is the executive producer for Touch Productions, Mike Tyson is the executive producer with Tyrannic Productions, and Jason Carey is the executive producer for Animal Planet. Charlie Foley is vice president of development for Animal Planet.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 95 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.
SOURCE Animal Planet