Discovery+ premieres ‘The Mighty Underdogs’ reality show about junior handlers in major dog shows

November 2, 2021

A scene from “The Mighty Underdogs” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

The absolute pinnacle of the fierce world of dog show competitions are the AKC National Championship and the Westminster Dog Show, but it takes countless hours of practice, grit, and determination to get there.And while the adult competitions are fierce, emotions run higher in the junior division where kids are still learning the ropes of competition on top of figuring out who they are as individuals and where they fit in the world. In this all-new coming-of-age competition series, THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS brings a never-before-seen look inside Junior Showmanship where teen handlers compete among thousands for one of the limited, and highly coveted spots at the Westminster Dog Show, while also navigating the everyday journey of being a typical teenager! Get ready to meet this unique group of champions who reveal the heart, spirit, and what it ultimately takes to be “best in show.” The first two episodes of THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS stream exclusively on discovery+ beginning Wednesday, November 17, 2021, with new episodes streaming every following Wednesday.

In THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS, it’s not just the dogs who are judged—it’s also the aspiring teen dog handlers. And that’s where world-renowned coach Jody Davidson comes in, with her long-standing record of winning dog competitions and guiding these young adults each step of the way on their path to self-discovery. The teen handlers and their enthusiastic parents learn exactly what it takes to stand out from the crowd and ultimately take home the winning title. And while the drama may heat up with each dog show, Jody’s group of teens are true athletes who support each other and have each other’s backs through the thick and thin of each competition.

In this all-new series, audiences will see these ambitious, quirky, and curious kids learn the tricks of the trade as they embark on the journey of growing up and learning more and more about who they are. We’ll meet the latest team members from Jody’s group of competitors; 13-year-old Emerson who has to make the decision of retiring her beloved dog Rye from the ring and start from scratch with a brand new puppy; 11-year of Griffin, Emerson’s little brother, who has big dreams of becoming the best of the best, and even beating his sister in the competition; 16-year-old Turner who hopes to make the Nationals before he ages out of the age-based competition, while also balancing his relationship with girlfriend, Emma, whom he competes within the ring; 13-year-old Camryn who is obsessed with getting that first prize ribbon with her show-stopping Pomeranian Kevin; and 13-year-old, Lily, who is busy showing her dog Gnarly as she works tirelessly to overcome her social anxiety inside and out of the ring, while also exploring and growing into her own identity.

Follow the conversation on social media with #TheMightyUnderdogs, and follow Animal Planet on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates.

THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS is produced for Discovery by Catalina Content. For Catalina Content, Jeff Collins and Brenda Coston are executive producers. For Discovery, Keith Hoffman is executive producer and Sarah Russell is supervising producer.

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About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

Review: ‘Attack of the Murder Hornets,’ starring Chris Looney, Ted McFall, Ruthie Danielsen, Philip Bovenkamp, Sven-Erik Spichiger, Conrad Bérubé and Jamie Pollander

March 8, 2021

by Carla Hay

An Asian giant hornet in “Attack of the Murder Hornets” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

“Attack of the Murder Hornets”

Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson

Culture Representation: The documentary “Attack of the Murder Hornets” features a predominantly white group of people (with one of Indian heritage and one of Native American heritage) who were involved in some way in the 2020 high-profile case of tracking down a deadly Asian giant hornet nest in Washington state.

Culture Clash: Handling this problem takes the work of private citizens and the government, which sometimes conflict with each other.

Culture Audience: “Attack of the Murder Hornets” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in nature/environmental documentaries that are told in an engaging, storytelling style.

An Asian giant hornet in “Attack of the Murder Hornets” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

The documentary “Attack of the Murder Hornets” is styled very much like a true-crime documentary about authorities trying to track down a serial killer. But instead of a human murderer that’s being hunted, it’s a pack of Asian giant hornets that can massacre thousands of bees at a time. You don’t have to be a scientist or someone who normally watches nature documentaries to enjoy this movie, because it’s told in a very appealing way that anyone can understand.

Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson, “Attack of the Murder Hornets” gives a brief overview of why these hornets, which have been nicknamed “murder hornets,” are dangerous for the environment. Asian giant hornets can wipe out entire colonies of bees, by biting off the heads of bees and eating their torsos. Bees are necessary for the pollination that helps keep the environment healthy and productive. These hornets don’t just sting; they also release poisonous venom. And yes, humans can die from a serious attack by these hornets.

No one really knows how the hornets got from Asia to North America, but enough of them have been found that governments have put together task forces to eradicate the hornets before these deadly insects can cause a serious plague. “Attack of the Murder Hornets” focuses on one such “hornet hunt” that took place in Blaine, Washington, in 2020. The documentary is riveting and insightful in showing how everything was planned and how the task force dealt with some unexpected setbacks.

“Attack of the Murder Hornets” begins by showing an example of the type of damage that Asian giant hornets can cause. Ted McFall, a beekeeper in Blaine, is interviewed about the time in December 2019, when he got the shock of his life: He found about 60,000 of his honey bees (including the queen bee) dead. All of the bees’ heads were bitten off.

As McFall tells it, he didn’t know what to think at first. Was it a cruel prank? Was it some kind of freak accident? Or was it an animal attack? McFall, whose father was a beekeeper and passed on the family business to him, comments in the documentary about how he felt about seeing so many of his bees dead: “It’s kind of like finding a family pet or maybe a family member that got killed, and you have no idea who did it or what did it or what the heck happened.”

McFall gets choked up and emotional when he thinks of this devastating loss. He remembers the reaction of his wife Dorothy, who has a business selling arts and crafts made from beeswax: She said, “It was like a murder scene.” And just like anyone who experiences this kind of loss, Ed McFall wanted to find out what happened and punish the perpetrators.

It wasn’t long before Ed McFall got the answer to the mystery. That same month, a Blaine resident named Jeff Kornelis, who lives two miles from what the documentary calls the “murder scene,” found a dead Asian giant hornet on his property. According to what Kornelis says in the documentary, he took a photo of the hornet, posted it on Reddit, and asked people if they knew what this mystery insect was.

He was advised to take this information to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC). WISC referred the case to WSDA. The documentary includes interviews with WSDA employees, such as hornet hotline operator Jessica LaBelle, chief entomologist Sven-Erik Spichiger and lab technician Quin Baine.

Spichiger remembers the first time he saw the hornet that was found on Kornelis’ property, he was taken aback by the large size of the hornet: “It was quite shocking because it looked like a child’s toy. It was so much larger than the other hornets that we dealt with.”

The documentary also interviews Japanese scientist Ryouta Sakamoto, who talks about the deadly effects that Asian giant hornets can have on humans and other animals if the population of these hornets is not kept under control. Sakamoto mentions that bees in Japan have learned how to kill these hornets on their own (by surrounding the hornets and causing the bees’ body heat to cook the hornets alive), but bees in North America have not learned how to defend themselves against Asian giant hornets.

Another beekeeper named Ruthie Danielsen, who lives six miles from the McFall family, heard about the bee massacre and became alarmed that the hornets would kill other bees in the area, including her own. She and Eric McFall decided to join forces when they found out that government agencies were too underfunded and understaffed to take care of the problem. Danielsen and other beekeepers in the area began setting up their own homemade traps specifically for the hornets. (Rancid rice water is a popular lure.)

Danielsen says in the documentary that taking a grassroots, private-citizen approach to the problem was not only necessary but also in her nature: “I don’t think it’s okay to say, ‘Let someone else take care of it.'” She formed a task force to deal with Asian giant hornets and implemented a system where people could volunteer to drop off dead Asian giant hornets at a designated place. Many of the hornets were deliberately trapped, while others were not. The dead hornets were then given to WSDA for research.

Also interviewed in the documentary is New York Times reporter Mike Barker, who broke the story in the newspaper about the Asian giant hornet being found in Washington state. The story became international news to the point where the Washington state government was pressured to put more funding into decreasing the Asian giant hornet population in Washington state. And so, the hornet hunt that’s chronicled in this documentary was ultimately a hunt that was a government-funded operation.

Two places became crucial in the hornet hunt that’s documented in this movie: First was the WSDA’s Natural Resources Building Entomology Laboratory (described in the documentary as Hornet Hunter Headquarters) in Olympia, Washington. And the second place (in Seattle) was the University of Washington’s Insect Robot Lab, which provided the miniature tracking devices that were placed on the trapped hornets. A University of Washington Ph. D. student named Vikram Iyer explains in the movie how the tracking device works. The tracking devices, which could be attached to the hornets by glue or by string, would give the investigators the ability to let the hornets loose and then hopefully be able to track the hornets back to their well-hidden hornet nest.

Leading the task force is WSDA scientist Chris Looney, who describes himself as being suited for a job where he doesn’t have to sit in an office all day and take orders. He also says he’s the type of person who’s more inclined to think that things will go wrong instead of going right, so that he doesn’t lose his cool when something doesn’t go according to plan. And mishaps and unexpected problems do indeed happen during this hornet hunt.

Someone who is part of the hunt is Conrad Bérubé, who is credited with being the first person to kill a colony of Asian giant hornets in North America. He found the deadly hornets in Nanaimo, British Columbia, in 2019. Bérubé, who is longtime insect expert, exterminated the hornets by gassing them with carbon dioxide. He didn’t walk away unscathed, since he was injured by several hornet stings.

And, as shown in the documentary, Bérubé is a hero to Ted McFall, who is extremely eager to get revenge on the hornets that killed his bees. (“They’re going to be sent back to hell, where they came from,” Ted McFall sneers about the hornets at one point in the movie.) In a lighthearted moment, the documentary shows Ted McFall meeting Bérubé and acting almost like a star-struck fan, as he happily takes selfies with Bérubé. There’s also footage of Bérubé, who’s an outdoor hippie type, trying to find the hornet nest on his own, although he doesn’t have the advantage of the tracking device.

Another person who played an important part of the hunt is Philip Bovenkamp, a private citizen who found more than one Asian giant hornet on his property and was able to singlehandedly catch them and hand them over to the WSDA for research purposes. His family and neighbors are shown taking video footage with their phones during the hunt. And his daughter (who looks like she was about 9 or 10 when this documentary was filmed) expresses some sadness that these hornets will be killed when they’re found.

And then there’s farmer Jamie Pollander, who owns the property where much of the hunt takes place. The documentary shows how Pollander made a controversial decision that didn’t sit well with several members of the team, such as Looney. There’s some foreshadowing of this decision when someone tells Pollander that finding a hornet’s nest for this team would be like hitting the lottery, and Pollander says that he wishes he could hit the lottery.

Given that this hunt took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are scenes where people have to wear masks and social distance. And there are other scenes where people who don’t live in the same household aren’t wearing masks but are standing next to each other. (Maybe they tested negative for COVID-19 and felt safe in going maskless.)

Considering how deadly these hornets are, viewers might be surprised at how little protection many of the people have on the hunt. For example, Looney often handles the hornets without wearing anything on his hands. The beekeepers wear more protection (such as a full-body beekeeper suit) in their line of work than the scientists do on this hornet hunt, even though the hornets they’re looking for are a lot more dangerous than bees.

“Attack of the Murder Hornets” is accessible viewing for non-scientists and, at times, the movie is very suspenseful in telling this interesting story. Under the direction of Stephenson, the documentary achieves the right mix of being informative and entertaining. The film’s editing by Samantha Smart and music by Julian Cisneros are very effective in adding levels of tension and urgency to what the task force ends up doing.

This isn’t a nature documentary with people droning on and on, as if they’re giving a lecture in a science class. Nor is it a documentary that relies heavily on gimmicks such on re-enactments or animation. The movie takes viewers out into the places where all the action is happening in real time for this hornet hunt.

“Attack of the Murder Hornets” was obviously made with the filmmakers not knowing what the final outcome would be. And so, that level of the unknown makes the suspense more genuine. The movie succeeds in showing a more human side to the scientists and beekeepers who have to deal with this hornet problem directly. And it’s a cautionary tale about the delicate balance of protecting the environment without destroying too much of a species that’s needed to keep the environment stable.

Discovery+ premiered “Attack of the Murder Hornets” on February 20, 2021

2021 IDCon: Dead of Winter announces lineup

February 9, 2021

The following is a press release from Discovery+

ID’s beloved fan appreciation event engagement event is returning for another virtual edition – this time with a streaming twist. Presenting the very best crime and mystery programming powered by ID and streaming at discovery+IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER will Zoom the most coveted stars in the true crime business and the most jaw-dropping cases straight to fans in the comfort of their own couches – all for free. With IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER, armchair detectives can face the dreary doldrums together and commiserate about the cases that keep them up at night, with special appearances by their favorite faces in the genre throughout the evening event. Attendees will receive sneak peeks of upcoming true crime offerings from discovery+, and registered fans will be treated to surprises, insider knowledge, and a chance to have their own burning fan questions answered.

Fans can join the sixth annual IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER via Zoom on Saturday, February 27 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. Sign up for a special link to enter the event, be entered for surprises, and submit questions for the panels at IDCONDeadofWinter.com. In lieu of an attendance fee, ID is encouraging donations to nonprofit organizations that we support, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In addition to sneak peeks and special appearances by Paula Zahn, Candice DeLongJohn WalshChris Anderson and Fatima Silva, IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER will have six confirmed panel sessions, outlined below:

American Detective with Lt. Joe Kenda

New episodes released Wednesdays on discovery+

After nine seasons captivating viewers with his own haunting cases, ID’s Homicide Hunter Lt. Joe Kenda brings viewers astounding investigations from across the country in American Detective. Join Detective Dan from the hit podcast ”Small Town Dicks” as he catches up with the Kendas in quarantine, chats about Joe’s  upcoming book “Killer Triggers,” and they shed light on why small town crimes still deserve big attention.

In Pursuit: The Missing with Callahan Walsh

Special begins streaming on Sunday, March 7 

With the acute understanding of someone whose family has been through the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child, join victim’s advocate Callahan Walsh as he actively investigates two mysterious disappearances and shines a light on additional unsolved missing persons cases from around the country. Callahan will give fans an exclusive sneak peek of his new special The Missing, as well as share breaking news about his fugitive-catching series with his legendary father, In Pursuit with John Walsh.

Unraveled: The Real Story of the Long Island Serial Killer

Unraveled” podcast available now; Special begins streaming on Tuesday March 9

Against a backdrop of police corruption, sexual misconduct, and cover-ups at the highest levels of the Suffolk County Police Department lies one of the most frustrating serial killer cases in recent history. Join retired police sergeant Derrick Levasseur (Breaking Homicide”Crime Weekly”) as he leads a discussion with true crime journalists, Alexis Linkletter and Billy Jensento reveal the disturbing evidence they’ve uncovered behind just why the case of the Long Island Serial Killer has remained unsolved for more than a decade.

Onision: In Real Life

Streaming now on discovery+

After an explosive special exposed allegations of predatory behavior and grooming against the influencer Greg Jackson, known online as ‘Onision,’ YouTube finally took action and demonetized the controversial figure. Now, Jackson’s ex-fiancé and one of the first accusers to come forward, Shiloh, will share her first-hand accounts of Jackson’s behavior, with internet safety advocate Alicia Kozak joining to speak to influencer culture and the dangers of online criminals. The discussion will dive deep into this dark YouTube controversy, and hint at what is yet to come in the jaw-dropping final episode currently in production. 

Barry Levine Author Chat from ID BOOK CLUB Selection, “The Spider: Inside the Criminal Web of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell” 

“The Spider” is available for purchase nowWho Killed Jeffrey Epstein? is available to stream now

Former Brooklyn, New York prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi (True Conviction”Anatomy of Murder”) hosts a discussion with author Barry Levine about his explosive investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein case. By shining a light into the darkest corners of Epstein’s world, Levine unearths never-before-reported details in the most comprehensive account yet of the disgraced financier’s life, corrupt criminal web, and shocking death. The sordid tale doesn’t end there, and the two will discuss how Ghislaine Maxwell’s entanglement with Epstein has landed her in a Brooklyn jail cell, awaiting trial on several counts of sex trafficking minors and perjury.

Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygård

Streaming now on discovery+

Peter Nygård built an international fashion empire and led an extravagant lifestyle, but hiding beneath the outlandish public persona, scores of women claim, was a dangerous sexual predator. More than 80 women have joined a class action lawsuit accusing Nygård and his companies of rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. Their accusations led to an investigation by the FBI and Nygård’s December arrest in Canada. Hear from survivors and those closest to the Nygård saga who exposed his alleged crimes and discover what is being done now to finally hold him accountable.

You can follow discovery+ on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

February 27, 2021 UPDATE: The following is the livestream of IDCON 2021:

Review: ‘JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?,’ starring John Ramsey, Cindy Marra, Mark Smit, Paula Woodward, John Anderson, John San Agustin and Greg Walta

January 25, 2021

by Carla Hay

JonBenét Ramsey in “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (Photo courtesy of Polaris/Discovery+)

“JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?”

Directed by Kim Duke

Culture Representation: The documentary “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” features a nearly all-white group of people (and one Asian) discussing the murder case of JonBenét Ramsey, a Colorado rich girl who was brutally killed on Christmas Day 1996, when she was 6 years old.

Culture Clash: The unsolved case has been controversial because investigators and prosecutors disagree over evidence and who might be the prime suspect or suspects.

Culture Audience: “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” will appeal primarily to people interested in this case or in true crime overall, but the documentary does not reveal any new facts that are helpful to this case.

Lou Smit in “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

Because there have already been so many news reports and documentaries about the JonBenét Ramsey case, any new ones that come along almost never have new information that can help make progress in the case. Almost every documentary about the case seems to have an agenda to push only one or two theories of who killed JonBenét Ramsey, the 6-year-old girl who was murdered on Christmas Day 1996 in her millionaire family home in Boulder, Colorado. This highly disputed case remains unsolved because there are conflicting accounts about the crime-scene evidence and numerous theories about who committed the murder.

It’s rare for a JonBenét Ramsey documentary to truly include perspectives of people who have very diverse viewpoints and theories about the case. “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (directed by Kim Duke) is one of those “agenda” documentaries, because it seems less concerned about interviewing people with a variety of perspectives and more concerned about being a one-sided tribute to Andrew “Lou” Smit, who was a prominent investigator for the Boulder district attorney’s office on the JonBenét Ramsey case. He was also an unpaid private investigator for the case when he stopped working for the Boulder D.A.’s office.

Smit (who died of cancer in 2010, at the age of 75) firmly believed that an unknown intruder or intruders committed the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. The documentary includes interviews with people who say the same thing (including JonBenét’s father John Ramsey), but not any interviews with people who believe in other theories. Furthermore, a copious amount of time in the documentary looks like a fawning biography of Smit instead of a well-rounded investigation that looks at all sides of this contentious murder case.

The documentary pushes a narrative that Smit was a crusading and often-misunderstood investigator who constantly battled over this case with the Boulder Police Department, because the Boulder PD immediately put JonBenét Ramsey’s parents at the top of the list of suspects. The documentary (which uses a lot of the same archival footage that’s been in many other JonBenét Ramsey documentaries) includes clips from Smit’s personal diary-type audio tapes that he made during the investigation. However, these audio tapes do not reveal anything new, unless you want to hear some ranting from Smit about how he felt mistreated by the Boulder PD. An epilogue in the documentary mentions that the Boulder PD declined to participate in the film, because the Boulder PD has a policy not to comment on the JonBenét Ramsey case.

It’s repeated several times in the documentary that Smit refused to believe the Ramseys could be guilty because he thought that they seemed like nice people. In his audio tapes, Smit says that people like the Ramseys don’t kill their children, and he had a gut feeling they weren’t guilty. What happened to the crime investigator rule that even if people who appear to be “nice,” it isn’t enough of a reason to decide that they can’t commit a crime? It’s about evidence, not personality. It’s no wonder that Smit got a lot of criticism for not being objective enough in this case.

Smit often accused the Boulder PD of having tunnel vision by not properly looking into other suspects. However, Smit displayed a certain amount of tunnel vision of his own with very biased actions during his investigation, by going out of his way to show the Ramseys that he was on their side. The documentary mentions that during Smit’s investigation while he was working for the Boulder D.A., Smit would park in front of the Ramseys’ house every day to pray for them and even invited John Ramsey to pray with him too. While this praying activity with a possible suspect might be considered noble by some people, it’s actually very unprofessional for a murder investigator to act this way with a witness who’s under suspicion while the investigator is working on the case.

Although there have been very divisive opinions on who committed the murder, these are the indisputable facts, which have been widely reported and are reiterated in the documentary: JonBenét Ramsey was murdered in her home sometime during the night or early-morning hours. Her parents (businessman John Bennett Ramsey and homemaker Patricia “Patsy” Ramsey) and JonBenét’s older brother Burke, who was 9 years old at the time, were also home at the time of the murder. All of them have denied having anything to do with the murder. The Boulder D.A. Office cleared the Ramseys as suspects in 2008, mainly because the Ramseys’ DNA did not match the unknown male DNA on JonBenét’s clothing that was on her dead body.

On the morning of December 26, 1996, Patsy called 911 to report that JonBenét was kidnapped. At the crime scene was a three-page, handwritten ransom note that was written on Patsy’s notepad and using a pen that was owned by the Ramseys. When the police arrived at the Ramseys’ 11,000-square-foot, three-story house, John and Patsy had already invited several of their friends and neighbors over to the home to comfort them. The Ramseys called some of these visitors over to the house before they called the police. Unfortunately, all of these people in the house inevitably contaminated the crime scene.

Instead of securing the crime scene and telling the visitors to leave, the Boulder police officers let the visitors stay and asked John to search the house again for JonBenét. John found JonBenét’s body in a basement-like area of the house. An autopsy determined that JonBenét had blunt force trauma to her head and had been strangled with a wiry cord that was still tightly wound around her neck. There are disagreements among investigators over whether she had been hit on the head first or had been strangled first. JonBenét had also been sexually violated with one of Patsy’s broken paintbrushes that was found near JonBenét’s body.

Although a former schoolteacher named John Mark Karr (born in 1964) confessed to the murder in 2006 and was arrested for it, it was later proven that Karr gave a false confession, and he was never prosecuted for the murder. He wasn’t even in Colorado when the murder happened, and his DNA did not match the DNA found at the crime scene. Karr is now living as a transgender female named Alexis Valoran Reich.

Whatever people think about the JonBenét Ramsey case, the main theories of who committed the murder identify these four possibilities:

  • John Ramsey
  • Patsy Ramsey
  • Burke Ramsey
  • An unknown intruder or intruders

People who believe that the Ramseys were involved think that the Ramseys know more than they’re telling and that the Ramsey family is covering up the truth. (Patsy died of cancer in 2006, at the age of 49.) The severe ligature strangulation of JonBenét indicates that it was done by an adult.

Those who think Burke was the real culprit have a theory that Burke brutally hit JonBenét on the head with an unknown object during an argument, and the blow possibly left her unconscious. According to the theory, John and Patsy found out and perhaps thought JonBenét was dead, and so the parents might have panicked because they were afraid of the scandal that it would cause their prominent family.

The “Ramseys are guilty” theory usually believes that John and/or Patsy then further assaulted JonBenét to establish another cause of death and to make it look like a stranger did it, in order to confuse investigators. A kidnapping was staged to also confuse investigators, according to the “Ramseys are guilty” theory. People who believe this theory think that even if one person in the Ramsey family actually committed the physical crime, the other family members who were home at the time eventually knew about it and helped cover it up.

Most people who think the Ramseys are guilty point to clues that the killer or killers seemed comfortable taking a lot of time to commit the crime without fear of being caught in the act. There was the highly unusual and long ransom note, written on a paper and pen from the Ramsey home. Handwriting analyses ruled out John as the writer of the note, while Patsy could neither be completely identified nor completely ruled out as the writer of the ransom note.

Everyone agrees that the words of the ransom note indicate that it was written by an educated adult. The only fingerprints found on the note were those from Patsy (who said she found the note), investigators and visitors who were in the house. The intruder theory is that the intruder could have worn gloves.

Another big clue, which was not mentioned in this documentary, was that the autopsy of JonBenét found some undigested pineapple in her stomach, indicating that she died shortly after eating the pineapple. A bowl of pineapples was on the kitchen counter when the police arrived at the crime scene, but the Ramseys denied knowing anything about it and said that it was unlikely that JonBenét prepared the pineapple meal herself.

Was it an intruder? And if so, what kind of intruder would feel comfortable enough in the Ramsey home to kidnap a child but stay long enough to feed the child a pineapple meal? And why use Patsy’s notepad in the house to write the ransom note instead of writing the note somewhere else in advance?

The Ramsey family was out attending a party earlier that evening, and the intruder theory is that an intruder could have been hiding in the house for hours and written the ransom note while alone in the house. (The Ramseys did not have all of their doors locked when they were away and when they were at home.) But no one can seem to explain the sequence of events that led to JonBenét eating pineapple in the middle of the night shortly before she died.

Police found that there were no signs of a disturbance in JonBenét’s bedroom on the night of the crime. Investigators have different theories on how JonBenét could have gone from sleeping in her second-floor bedroom, to being murdered, to her body being found by her father in an area of the house that’s below ground level and was known to few people outside of the Ramsey family. John, Patsy and Burke have maintained that they were asleep when the murder happened, and that they didn’t know that something had happened to JonBenét until the next morning.

People who believe the intruder theory think that the intruder used a stun gun to subdue JonBenét, because there were marks resembling a stun gun on the side of JonBenét’s face and on her back. People who believe that John, Patsy and/or Burke were involved think that JonBenét likely went down to the kitchen for her pineapple meal voluntarily, and something happened that caused her violent death. The marks on her face and back also matched a detached section of a toy train track owned by Burke, according to several news reports with details of what the police found at the crime scene.

The documentary also mentions that Smit was able to show in video evidence that an intruder could have easily entered and left the side window to the room where JonBenét’s body was found. Smit demonstrated by climbing in and out of the window himself. However, what the documentary didn’t mention is that photographic evidence at the crime scene showed that after JonBenét’s body was found, an open window in that room had undisturbed dust and cobwebs on the window sill. If there was an intruder, the undisturbed dust and cobweb evidence definitely can raise doubts that someone entered or left by that window.

A neighbor reported hearing the sound of a frightened child screaming from the Ramsey house on the night of the murder. The documentary mentions that Smit found that there was a pipe in the room where JonBenét’s body was found that can carry sound from that room to outside of the house, but the sound cannot be heard on the upper floors inside the house. It fits into the theory that John, Patsy and Burke Ramsey couldn’t hear any signs of distress during the murder, if they were asleep in their bedrooms as they claimed.

However, the documentary doesn’t question the other side of this belief: If a kidnapped child was crying out that loudly inside the house while being murdered, how did the killer know that other people in the house wouldn’t be able to hear those noises? Furthermore, several people in the documentary describe JonBenét’s murder as slow and tortuous. And yet, it’s never explained why a kidnapper/intruder would feel comfortable murdering a screaming child in her own home, in a slow and tortuous way, without any fear of being caught by other people in the house. Wouldn’t a scared intruder kill her quickly instead of slowly torturing her?

The documentary mentions the biggest evidence to support the intruder theory: unknown male DNA was found in JonBenét’s underwear and on her longjohns that she was wearing when her body was found. All of the Ramseys’ DNA did not match this unknown DNA. What the documentary didn’t mention is that police have not ruled out that this DNA could have been touch DNA, which is DNA that could have gotten there if a man, such as a store employee or factory worker, had contact with this item of clothing before it was packaged. Because John Ramsey got to JonBenét’s body before the police did, and he carried her body to another location in the house, his DNA was all over critical areas, so it did not prove either way if he killed her or not.

Because this documentary seems to have been made to convince people that the intruder theory is the only correct theory and that Smit should get the most credit for this theory, it’s an echo chamber of people who essentially agree. In addition to John Bennett Ramsey, the documentary has interviews with John Andrew Ramsey (JonBenét’s oldest brother, from John Bennett Ramsey’s first marriage); Smit’s daughter Cindy Marra; Smit’s son Mark Smit; and Smit’s attorney Greg Walta. Also interviewed are investigative journalist/author Paula Woodward, who covered the JonBenét murder case from the beginning; John Anderson, a retired sheriff of Colorado’s El Paso County; and Ramsey Family private investigator John San Agustin, a former El Paso County Sheriff’s Office commander.

The beginning of the documentary lists Smit’s impressive work credentials, including his role in helping solve the 1991 murder of 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church of Black Forest, Colorado, as if it’s proof that he could never be wrong. He spent more than 20 years working for the Colorado Springs Police Department, in addition to experience working in a coroner’s office and as an investigator for district attorneys. He later became a private investigator who refused any payment and gifts for working on the Ramsey case. John Bennett Ramsey says in the documentary that Smit even refused his offer to buy ice cream for Smit.

And yet for all this investigator experience, Smit is heard on audio saying about the Ramsey case: “I don’t think this ransom note was written by the parents. Look at all the references to death and dying.” It’s as if Smit believes that “good” parents aren’t capable of talking about their children dying. That’s Smit’s opinion, but this opinion shouldn’t be used as proof of the parents’ guilt or innocence in this case.

In another audio clip, Smit says the Ramseys should be ruled out as suspects for this reason: “There’s no bad character with the Ramseys.” Just because someone doesn’t have an arrest record or seems to have a “nice” personality isn’t proof that someone can’t commit murder. It’s an appallingly bad assumption for a murder investigator to have, because it’s based on opinion and bias, not evidence.

This documentary makes it clear that Smit had it stuck in his head that the Ramseys (who were millionaires at the time) couldn’t possibly be involved in this heinous crime. And there’s nothing wrong with believing in “innocent until proven guilty.” But time and again, in audio tapes played in the documentary, Smit makes telling comments that show a conscious or unconscious bias that appears to be based on the Ramsey’s social class. He says he thinks that the Ramseys are too “nice” or “not the kind of people” to be involved in murdering a child. It’s all really code for “I don’t think people in this income bracket should be considered likely suspects.”

One of the most noticeable flaws in this documentary is that it doesn’t offer anything substantial about what kind of person would commit this crime. If the killer was an intruder, then who else had access and intimate knowledge of the Ramseys’ home and sleeping habits to get away with this crime so easily? None of that is mentioned in the documentary, even though Smit and other investigators surely developed profiles of possible suspects.

The documentary has a brief and vague mention of a large computer database of tips from the public and other information that Smit compiled. But he also complains in his audio diaries that the police didn’t follow up on the majority of this information. Smit acknowledges what has already been widely reported: The Boulder PD was fixated on proving the Ramseys guilty, while Smit was fixated on proving the Ramseys were not guilty. The clashes were inevitable, but they show flaws and narrow-mindedness on both sides.

In 1999, a Boulder grand jury indicted John and Patsy Ramsey on two counts of child abuse related to JonBenét’s murder. However, then-Boulder D.A. Alex Hunter declined to prosecute John and Patsy Ramsey, based on lack of evidence. This secret grand jury decision wasn’t made public until 2013. John Bennett Ramsey, who gives credit to Smit for influencing Hunter to make this decision, comments in the documentary that Smit “saved our lives.”

JonBenét’s father doesn’t say anything in the documentary that he hasn’t already said in other interviews. He comments that when people ask him what he would say to JonBenét, it would be this: “I’m sorry I didn’t protect you. That’s my job as a dad.”

He also defends JonBenét’s participation in beauty pageants, by saying it was JonBenét, not he or his wife Patsy, who insisted on being in these contests. John and Patsy were vilified for allowing JonBenét to dress and act like an adult in these pageants, with critics claiming it was “proof” that John and Patsy were bad parents. There has been speculation that JonBenét could have become a murder target because of her pageant activities.

We might never know why JonBenét Ramsey was killed and who murdered her. But her father says in the documentary that the “real tragedy” is that Patsy “has been maligned as awful. She was an amazing mother.” He also says that the Ramsey family and their supporters won’t give up until JonBenét’s killer is caught. Sadly, unless there is a confession backed up with proof, this is a murder that’s unlikely to be solved.

Smit’s family members seem to be carrying on his legacy by being interviewed about the case and by making public his audio and video recordings that he made about his investigation. Smit’s granddaughters Lexi Marra and Jessa Van Der Woerd (who have a JonBenét Ramsey podcast) and his daughter Cindy Marra were prominently featured in ABC’s “20/20” episode titled “The List: Who Killed JonBenét?,” which aired on January 15, 2021.

This “20/20” news report is very similar to “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (including interviewing some of the same people), except the “20/20” report had a variety of interviewees and at least made the effort to discuss other people (besides the Ramseys) who fell under suspicion for the murder. The “20/20” news report also had more mention of Smit’s suspicions (he kept a semi-confidential list that he shared with other investigators) about who could have been the killer. Unfortunately, whatever has been reported in JonBenét Ramsey documentaries like this one just adds up to recycled information that does nothing to make a breakthrough in the case.

Discovery+ premiered “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” on January 4, 2021.

2021 Puppy Bowl: see photos and videos

January 6, 2021

Puppy Bowl (Photo by Elias Weiss Friedman/Discovery+/Animal Planet)

 

The following is a press release from Discovery Networks:

“We need puppies now more than ever!” said everyone. Have no fear because television’s cutest sports competition and the original call-to-adoption TV event “Puppy Bowl” returns on Sunday, February 7, 2021 for the biggest, most exciting game to date, now as a 3-hour event that can be viewed on both Discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service that features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of Discovery+ on Verizon, and Animal Planet on February 7, 2021, at 2PM ET/11AM PT. Join Discovery+ and Animal Planet for this special three-hour event to experience all the fuzzy puppy faces from Team Ruff and Team Fluff who go paw to paw to win the Chewy “Lombarky” trophy in “Puppy Bowl’s” all-new venue, a ‘stadium within a stadium’ that’s bigger and better than ever before. Be sure to be on the lookout for Team Ruff who is looking to reclaim their title after last year’s loss – they’re coming back with a vengeance! Gear up because it’s officially the most wonderful time of the year for the biggest game of the year – “Puppy Bowl XVII”!

“Puppy Bowl” celebrates adoptable pups in all their cuteness and showcases the incredible shelters and rescues, as well as their staffers, who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their loving homes. In years past, “Puppy Bowl” is 16 for 16 with the adoption rate at 100% as all puppies and kittens featured in “Puppy Bowl” to date have found their forever homes with loving families. And even though this past year has been different from year’s past, one thing is for certain—there will be a “Puppy Bowl”—and discovery+ and Animal Planet continue this annual tradition to highlight these special puppy players and kittens so that they can finally find the place they are meant to call ‘home.’

This year, 22 shelters and rescues from nine Northeastern States are enlisted to bring 70 incredible adoptable puppy players out for “Puppy Bowl” to sport their Team Ruff ‘Tail Mary Tangerine’ and Team Fluff ‘Bark Blue’ bandana colors. What genetic traits are these pups bringing to the game? With the Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test, we’ll find out what’s beyond those big puppy dog eyes and how each dog’s breed mix might give them an advantage on the field. We’ll see their skills playout in the brand-new Geico Stadium, where these adoptable players have even more room to rumble and fumble!  Fan-favorite elements, including slow motion replays, nose-to-nose action from the famous water bowl cam, and aerial shots of the field from the brand-new Temptations Sky Box are all back this year, along with epic drone shots of puppy players across the arena that bring audiences as close as possible to all the game-play action. The Home Depot goal post nets serve as the backdrop to every touchdown and field goal as audiences have a front row seat view through lens of the cameras in the Chewy end zone pylons.

Joining this year as “Puppy Bowl XVII” announcers are ESPN’s Monday Night Football play- by- play announcer Steve Levy and SportsCenter host Sage Steele who will be providing puppy analysis throughout the game! The “Puppy Bowl XVII” Pre-Game Show begins at 1 PM ET/ 10 AM PT where long-time “Puppy Bowl” sports correspondents Rodt Weiler, James Hound and Sheena Inu, and field reports Brittany Spaniel and Herman Shepard pump up the crowd with pup insights on the furry matchups before the big game. Sponsored by [ yellow tail ]® wine, the Pre-Game Show will also offer ideas on how to create a “Puppy Bowl” “tail”gate party for the perfect viewing experience. The game opens with a special performance of the National Anthem by singing-group and internet sensation, Boys World, before kicking off with the pups of the Pedigree Starting Lineup, who are giving it their all to compete for the one and only Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) award by scoring the most touchdowns. Who will take home the title this year to join the greats of puppies past in the Puppy Bowl MVP Hall of Fame? Tune in to find out this and which lucky pup will also take home the coveted Subaru of America Inc. Underdog Award!

Joining the game for the 10th year in a row is America’s favorite “Rufferee,” Dan Schachner, who, after a decade, is ready to call the puppy penalties, ruffs & tumbles, and pawsome touchdowns for a game unlike any other. Award-winning animal advocate and television correspondent Jill Rappaport also returns to introduce the Subaru of America, Inc. Pup Close and Personal segments that shine a light on some of these adorable athletes and other adoptable puppies across the country, in addition to the special Senior Spotlight stories which showcase that age is just a number with senior dogs who are ultimately puppies at heart.

This year’s Pup Close and Personal highlights include a special profile of actress and animal advocate Kristen Bell who has teamed up with Annenberg PetSpace in Los Angeles to spend time with Java, a Labrador mix puppy looking for a fur-ever home to snuggle in; Biscuit, a very special Maltese mix pup from Paw Works in LA, who gets a special day out with one lucky kid baker from Food Network’s ‘Kid Baking Championship,’ where we’ll also hear from hosts Valerie Bertinelli & Duff Goldman; Fozzie, a Foster Dogs Inc. Norwegian Elkhound who experiences his first ever grooming from Harlem Doggie Day Spa; and Foofur, a Shepherd mix puppy who is cared for by a very special foster under the PAWS Chicago foster program. Other in-depth profiles include Marshall, a deaf Boston Terrier mix rescue pup who’s training with Green Dogs Unleashed to be a therapy dog, where at a local hospital, he will provide a group of COVID ER nurses with a much-needed mental break in the midst of the pandemic; Jett, a double front amputee Labrador mix from Pets With Disabilities in Maryland, who is prepping for the big game with regular jaunts along the countryside with his fellow special needs cat and dog companions; and Stitch, a Hound mix, who at Wilburton Inn-New England dog friendly resort in Vermont, enjoys a special day out at the Inn on a mission to meet an adopter, before getting scrappy on the field.

Audiences will also see four incredible Senior Spotlight profiles that include Scoobert, an 8-year-old Chihuahua Boxer mix from mix from Young at Heart Sanctuary in Chicago who even though is a senior pooch with medical needs, has a special zest for life; veterinarian Dr. Kwane Stewart, aka @thestreetvet, who treats homeless dogs off the streets of Los Angeles at no cost; Mona, a 10-year-old Toy Poodle mix who undergoes reiki healing sessions at Den Retreat in Los Angeles for a more peaceful state of mind; and Blossom, an American Staffordshire Terrier, who has become the poster pup for the ‘Pitbulls in flower crowns’ series by rescue advocate and photographer Sophie Gamand. Puppy Bowl XVII will also feature five special needs players who are looking forward to finding their loving home including Jett, and four hearing impaired pups including Marshall, a Boston Terrier; Fletcher, an American Bull Dog; Theodore, a Pyr Border Collie; and Rumor, a Heeler mix.

Additionally, for the first time ever on the sidelines, our Team Ruff and Team Fluff players will be cheered on by none other than adoptable puppy cheerleaders who will root and howl for their favorite players. These cheerleading pups will turn up the volume with cuteness overload by shaking their pom poms as the Puppy Bowl XVII players make their way down the field! Midway through the game, get ready to turn up the beat and put on your dancing shoes for the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal™ Kitty Half-Time Show. Audiences will experience the neon dance party they’ve been waiting for all year and rave to the purr-fect beats dropped by senior rescue cat DJ Grand Master Scratch. As an after-party treat, viewers will even be able to see a special adoption update on where these dancing felines found their loving new homes with their loving new forever dance partners.

As a bonus treat for this year’s Puppy Bowl XVII, audiences will also see exciting new ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments, hosted by Dan Schachner and sponsored by Chewy. Sprinkled throughout the program, 11 shelters from around the country will feature one of their special pups (and a few kittens during Kitty Half-Time!) that are all up for adoption during the game!

Puppy Bowl digital audiences can point their paws to PuppyBowl.com to vote for their favorite pup in the ‘Pupularity Playoffs’ bracket style tournament featuring photos by Instagram sensation @TheDogist. Audiences can also check out an exciting live puppy playtime scrimmage on Animal Planet’s TikTok in the lead up to Puppy Bowl XVII. Fans may also be able to see their own animal featured in a photo gallery on PuppyBowl.com when they post a pic of their fur-baby watching Puppy Bowl XVII and tag #PuppyBowl. For more fun social content, head to FacebookInstagramTwitter, and TikTok for original videos, GIFs, Instagram Stickers, a Puppy Bowl AR Filter, and more. Audiences can also follow discovery+ on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Fans can also access even more furry fun and exclusive content by downloading Discovery+. Leading up to “Puppy Bowl,” Discovery+ and Animal Planet GO users will find exclusive in-app original programming, including the “Puppy Bowl” midform series “Pupclose & Personal”, where NFL stars Chris Godwin, Ronnie Stanley, and Ryan Kerrigan reveal their personal pup adoption stories to share why they’re so passionate about canine causes. Pus, we’ll also see Dan the Ref take us down memory lane, highlighting the very best and firsts of “Puppy Bowl’s” 17-year history. Additionally, fans are also invited to Tweet along with game day commentator Meep The Bird and vote in real time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award. Results will be revealed during the epic program.

Official “Puppy Bowl XVII” sponsors include Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal, Bissell, Chewy, Geico, The Home Depot, Pedigree, Subaru of America Inc., Temptations, Wisdom Panel dog DNA test and [ yellow tail ]® wine.

For more information about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in “Puppy Bowl XVII” Animal Planet audiences can visit Puppybowl.com/Adopt.

“Puppy Bowl XVII” is produced for Animal Planet by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company. Simon Morris is executive producer and showrunner with Cindy Kain and Sandy Varo Jarrell also serving as executive producers. For Animal Planet, Dawn Sinsel serves as senior executive producer and Pat Dempsey is supervising producer.

Discovery+ announces cooking TV series ‘Mary McCartney Serves It Up’

January 4, 2021

Mary McCartney

The following is a press release from Discovery+

British photographer and cookbook author Mary McCartney invites audiences into her London kitchen on Thursday, February 4, 2021, on Discovery+ as she prepares delicious, accessible, and picture perfect meals with her celebrity friends on the new discovery+ series “Mary McCartney Serves It Up.” In each of the six half-hour episodes, Mary shares her sincere love of cooking and her family’s favorite recipes and the stories behind them, showcasing her accessible vegetarian food philosophy for all to enjoy. In each episode, Mary will be joined by her famous friends, at home and over video conference, to celebrate food and friendship with transatlantic cook-alongs, taste-tests, cocktail classes and fun food Q&As. From easy dinners to comforting eats, moreish modern meals, and scrumptious desserts, Mary serves up incredible eats proving every day and special occasions can be vege-licious.

“I’m honored to be launching my new show on Discovery’s amazing new streaming service. With the help of a few friends, I want to show that meat free eating can be varied, delicious and accessible to everyone,” said Mary McCartney. “The recipes are simple, easy and rewarding. I can’t wait for you to be able to join me and my super talented guests for food and fun.”

It’s good food and great company on every episode, from Maple Vodka Grilled Peaches with Kate Hudson, Meatless Marinara Sub Sandwiches with Mark Ronson, and Deluxe Hash Brown Skillet piled high with spicy beans and delicious fixings for brunch with Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie. But no brunch is complete without a cocktail, so the ladies show Mary their special take on a spritzer. Plus, Liv Tyler is Mary’s official nachos taste tester, and Dave Grohl teaches Mary the secret to his legendary lasagna, while she makes Smokey Dogs and a chef’s salad with homemade dressing to round out the meal. Mary also arranges a food delivery for a virtual party with Gayle King, who famously doesn’t cook, filled with Sticky Crispy Cauliflower Bites, Pea & Mint Dip, and Roasted Tomato & Butterbean Toasts. Together they mix up a delicious mocktail, to toast to their friendship and to sharing a delicious meal.

“Mary McCartney serves up a passion for cooking, a unique culinary perspective showcased with every mouthwatering meal, and a love for connecting with friends over good food which is at the core of every episode,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network.

Mary McCartney is a British photographer, filmmaker and cookbook author and advocate of vegetarianism as part of sustainable plant-based living. Her cookbooks include “Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking,” in which she offers easy, family-friendly meat-free dishes that will appeal to everyone, as well as “At My Table: Vegetarian Feasts for Family and Friends,” offering more than 75 recipes, with recollections of specific celebrations, gatherings, and family highlights through the years. She is also a co-founder of Meat Free Monday, a not-for-profit organization that campaigns for sustainable, meat-free living.

“Mary McCartney brings her passion for food to Discovery+ at the perfect time to offer our global audience ideas for cooking delicious meals for their families,” said Lisa Holme, Group SVP Content and Commercial Strategy Discovery+.

Follow #MaryMcCartneyServesItUp for even more of Mary’s tried-and-true recipes that are perfect for special occasions and everyday dinners alike, as well as behind-the-scenes videos of Mary and her celebrity guests. Fans can visit www.discoveryplus.com, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more.

Discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. The new service will launch with a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans 12 months of Discovery+ on Verizon. At launch in the U.S., Discovery+ will have the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. Discovery+ will offer more than 55,000 episodes all in one place, with over 2,500 current and classic shows from Discovery’s iconic portfolio of networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. For more about Discovery+, click here.

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About Discovery:

Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.

Discovery+ launches in U.S.; new platforms added

The following is a press release from Discovery+:

Discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service from Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), is now live in the U.S. as the company announced major new distribution agreements that will make the product one of the most widely distributed streaming services at launch. Discovery+ is available on the following platforms and devices:

· Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, Fire TV Edition smart TVs and coming later to Prime Video Channels

· iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV, and the app is fully integrated with the Apple TV app

· Google devices and platforms including Android(TM) phones and tablets, Chromecast with Google TV(TM) and other Android TV(TM) OS devices, and Google Chromecast(TM) and Chromecast built-in(TM) devices

· Microsoft Xbox One and Series S/X devices

· The Roku(R) platform

· 2017 and newer Samsung Smart TVs

In addition to previously announced Discovery+ partnerships with Verizon in the U.S. and Sky in the U.K. and Ireland, it was announced today that Discovery and Vodafone have signed a new long-term, multi-platform agreement that includes a collaboration to make discovery+ available to existing Vodafone TV and mobile customers in 12 markets across Europe. The multi-year deal, which covers Vodafone’s subscriber bases in the UK*, Germany, Turkey*, Italy, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland and Iceland, gives Discovery access to 100M Vodafone homes to which discovery+ can be made available for a promotional period that will vary by market.

David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery, Inc., commented:

“As we go live with Discovery+ today in the U.S., we are thrilled to be working with best-in-class partners to make it available everywhere our fans are. Our ambition is simple: bring consumers the definitive and most complete destination for real life entertainment at a price point that makes this the perfect companion for every household’s streaming and TV portfolio. There is nothing like it in the market today. We launch with significant advantages, including the world’s greatest collection of non-fiction brands and content, built over more than 30 years across popular and enduring verticals, as well as powerful partnerships with leading distributors and platforms.”

Discovery+ brings to market the most comprehensive collection of real-life programming available anywhere and the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service. Discovery+ features more than 55,000 episodes of current and classic shows from Discovery’s iconic portfolio of networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and the forthcoming Magnolia Network. The service also offers top non-fiction content from A&E, The History Channel and Lifetime, as well as the definitive offering of nature and environmental programming, headlined by exclusive streaming access to the largest collection of natural history from the BBC.

Discovery+ also features more than 50 original titles and over 150 hours of exclusive content at launch, with 1,000 hours of original content in its first year across fan-favorite, real-life genres. Starting today, viewers in the U.S. have access to new series from iconic franchises and personalities such as Chip and Joanna Gaines; 90 Day Fiancé; Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis; Amy Schumer; David Schwimmer; Sir David Attenborough; Ben Napier; Joe Kenda; Mike Rowe; and many others. For the list of original titles available to stream today, click here.

Verizon Partnership

Under a landmark partnership between Discovery and Verizon announced last month, new and existing Verizon wireless customers with a Play More or Get More Unlimited plan will get 12 months of Discovery+ on Verizon*; customers with Start or Do More Unlimited plans will receive six months of streaming on Verizon. New customers who sign up for Verizon 5G Home Internet or Fios Gigabit Connection can receive 12 months of Discovery+ on Verizon; new Fios customers may also be eligible for three to six months depending on their plan*. The offer adds access to thousands of hours of valuable premium video and a leading industry partner to the nation’s most-awarded network.

Discovery+ Features

Discovery+ will make it easy for subscribers to browse the largest offering of real life content anywhere with world class features to create one of the best streaming experiences:

· The “For You” section will always feature shows that are most relevant to the subscriber and provides immediate access to series and shows from across the entire content library; their favorite networks; and interactive hero images on connected TV’s, without ever leaving the home screen.

· For the first time, Discovery+ combines the most loved brands in entertainment and makes it easy for subscribers to explore each one with customized “Brand Hubs” that feature the best series, shows and episodes.

· The Discovery+ navigation is designed to allow subscribers to dive deep into “Top Genres” including lifestyle, home, food, true crime, adventure, relationships, nature and animals, science and tech, natural history, paranormal and more. Subscribers can easily search across passion verticals and scroll through an abundance of choices.

· The Discovery+ “Browse” and “Search” experiences are among its most powerful features. Subscribers can quickly and easily find what they want to watch and take a deep dive into a vast array of content that is instantly filtered by new, trending and timely topics.

· Finally, Discovery’s favorite personalities, like Joe Kenda, Randy Fenoli and Ben and Erin Napier, will provide curated, custom “Collections” that feature their favorite discovery+ shows and personal stories.

Launch Sponsors

Newly announced Discovery+ launch sponsors include La-Z-Boy, Aflac, Campbell’s, Subaru of America, Inc. and Ace Hardware. They join the streaming service’s inaugural advertisers Boston Beer Company, Kraft Heinz, Lowe’s and Toyota. The unique, incremental reach offered by Discovery+, along with lighter ad loads, a younger demographic and data-driven cross-platform capabilities, has been enthusiastically received by the marketplace.

Pricing

Discovery+ is available in the U.S. starting at $4.99 per month, with an ad-free version available for $6.99 per month. Each account will include up to five user profiles and four concurrent streams, among the most offered in the streaming video category.

Global Rollout

Internationally, Discovery is leveraging its massive library of local-language content, as well as its broad portfolio of live sports, to drive its direct-to-consumer offering across more than 25 key markets in 2021, including the Nordics, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Discovery+ will also launch in Latin American markets, including a planned launch in Brazil, and in parts of Asia.

In the European markets launching in 2021, Discovery+ will be supported by Eurosport’s unrivaled, premium and locally-relevant multi-sport offering, which includes the tennis Grand Slams, cycling Grand Tours, motorsport, football and winter sports. Beginning with the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, it will become the streaming Home of the Olympics* in Europe with access to every minute, every medal, and every hero live and on demand.

About Discovery:

Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.

About Discovery+:

Discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service. Discovery+ will launch with a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of Discovery+ on Verizon. At launch in the United States, Discovery+ will have the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com.

*Android, Android TV, Google Chromecast, Chromecast built-in and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

*Roku is a registered trademark of Roku, Inc. in the U.S. and in other countries. Trade names, trademarks and service marks of other companies appearing in this press release are the property of their respective holders.

*Restrictions apply. See verizon.com/discoveryplus for terms and conditions.

*Discovery+ will only be available to Vodafone mobile customers in the UK and Turkey.

*Olympic rights exclude Russia. Eurosport will be an Official Broadcaster in France and the UK for Tokyo 2020.