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October 29, 2009

Discovery orders ‘Airplane Repo,’ renews ‘Swords’

Swords Discovery Channel is stocking up on more rough-and-tumble reality, picking up a series about airplane repo men and renewing its adventure-documentary series "Swords" for a second season.

"Airplane Repo," from "Dirty Jobs" executive producer Craig Piligian, centers on repossessor Nick Popovich as he re-acquires jets and helicopters from delinquent owners. Each episode shows the team planning the best approach for snatching a plane, then follows the group as they attempt the high-risk acquisition.

"There's a lot of action, it has an element of danger and a lot of suspense, and there's always a ticking clock," Piligian said. "The show goes all over the world -- Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Finland -- anywhere there's a plane, whether for an airline that goes bankrupt or some rich guy who hasn't made his payments."

"Swords: Life on the Line" is from "Deadliest Catch" producer Thom Beers and BermanBraun. The show has averaged 1.4 million viewers an episode and consistently ranked No. 1 among men 25-54 during its eight-week run.

The series follows New England long-line fisherman and has helped Discovery maintain the Tuesday time period usually home to crab-fishing hit "Deadliest."

"It's perilous work and very dramatic, and Original always does a great job," Discovery president and GM John Ford said of "Swords." "The show captures the grit, guts and humor it takes for these men and women to conquer the high seas and high stakes of sword fishing."

Eight episodes of "Airplane" will debut during the first quarter; "Swords" will return later next year.

"Airplane's" executive producers are Piligian, Bill Rancic of "Apprentice" fame and Popovich.


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