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Animal Planet unleashing a new season of shows

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By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Animal Planet has a menagerie of new shows for the season ahead that promise real-life drama, monstrous mystery, unusual human creatures and a new breed of cute.
Also look for the network’s first competition show, with the provocative title “Top Hookers.” (Relax. It deals with fishing.)
The slate of new programming, most of which will launch next year, is scheduled for unveiling to advertisers Thursday in New York at the upfront presentation of parent company Discovery Communications.
The lineup builds on Animal Planet’s brand strategy of “Surprisingly Human,” said Marjorie Kaplan, the channel’s president and general manager.
“Animal Planet is still what you think we are — but it’s bigger, better, funnier and louder,” she explained during an interview last week. Viewers have responded, boosting the channel’s average audience in the age 25-54 demographic by 25 percent, to nearly 300,000, in the past year.
Building on its hit “Whale Wars,” the network plans to introduce “Rhino Wars,” which follows a team of former U.S. Special Forces as they hunt down gangs of rhino poachers in South Africa whose greed threatens to reduce to near extinction the rhino population.
A new adventure series, “The Hunger,” explores the ingenious (and often extreme) methods used by disparate world cultures to find, capture or cultivate food. Its host is survivalist Guy Grieve.
“Glory Hounds” stars the military working dogs that serve beside their human partners in Iraq and Afghanistan. From tracking insurgents to sniffing out explosives, these heroic canines are an integral component of the armed forces — and share deep emotional bonds with their human companions.
Watch anglers corral 300-pound sharks using only women’s pantyhose. Watch them hunt for massive bass from a speeding kayak in whitewater rapids. On “Fish America,” outdoorsman and pro wrestler “Showtime” Eric Young gets a line on some of the most creative, unexpected and dangerous fishing practices across the country. It is scheduled to air this summer.