VOOM's Equator HD Builds Original Programming Slate With Three New Series in Development

Unscripted Reality Series MARIO'S GREEN HOUSE Featuring Actor Mario Van Peebles Premieres in 2009

Premiering in October

Action-Packed Series THE MONKEY THIEVES
Premieres in October

New York, NY – March 25, 2008 – Equator HD, the high-definition channel that seeks out the captivating sights, sounds and stories of the world's most interesting people and places, announced today the expansion of its HD original programming line up with three new series in development. Headlining the development slate is the unscripted reality series MARIO'S GREEN HOUSE, which follows the family of actor Mario Van Peebles (Ali, Baadasssss!) throughout a major home eco-renovation as they embrace green living. The 8-episode series is currently in production and is slated to premiere in 2009. Premiering later this year, NATURAL BORN TRAVELLER, is a four-episode series featuring thrill-seeker Steve Crombie embarking on a cross-country journey in Australia. The new programming line-up also includes the first season of THE MONKEY THIEVES, a series chronicling the misadventures of an urbanized, unruly and lawless pack of urban monkeys living in Jaipur, India. Equator HD is one of the VOOM HD networks, the world's largest and most diverse suite of high-definition channels.

"These new productions reflect the quality and diversity of Equator HD's programming, including thrilling adventure series and unscripted reality programs, which give viewers an up-close and personal view of life-changing experiences and adventures from around the world," said Ali Hossaini, Executive Producer of Equator HD. "We are excited to bring audiences a program that inspires an eco-friendly, green lifestyle. With stories that take viewers from the Hollywood Hills to the Australian outback to the city streets of India, this programming line-up will be a tremendous asset to our growing library of stunning HD content."

Descriptions of Equator HD's new series in development:

  • MARIO'S GREEN HOUSE – Premieres 2009
    Part family comedy, part environmental "how-to," MARIO'S GREEN HOUSE is a fun and accessible approach to a vital and timely topic – one man's quest to make his everyday life part of a sustainable future. This unscripted program features actor, director, producer and writer Mario Van Peebles, who has just made a resolution to go green. Along with his wife, Chitra, and his five high-energy kids, Mario embarks on a massive eco-sensitive renovation of his house as part of a newfound commitment to green living. He hopes that the renovation will be a creative and meaningful project for his entire family, but with a busy Hollywood career and a full-time job as Dad, Mario soon learns that major construction is just the tip of the iceberg when he needs a whole lifestyle makeover.

    MARIO'S GREEN HOUSE follows Mario as he juggles the complexities of going green, including planning, budgets, design, and time management. He also receives opinions and advice from others, including his mother, Maria, and his father the iconic 70s filmmaker, Melvin Van Peebles, and an array of celebrity friends, including Ed Begley, who make cameos in various episodes. In addition, Mario deals with concerns from his Baldwin Hills neighbors as they question the concept of green living.

    Throughout the series, Mario is equipped with his own HD camera, which he uses as a personal video diary to shoot intimate footage of his home life. Viewers will experience fun, challenging stories of the Van Peebles family and their friends, while learning about how to live green.

    MARIO'S GREEN HOUSE is produced in association with Equator HD by Hour One LLC.

  • NATURAL BORN TRAVELLER – Premieres October 3, 2008
    This new 4-part series chronicles a cross-country trek by 28-year-old Australian Steve Crombie, who has traveled around the world in search of adventure, including the Antarctic and the Amazon, but never looked for trouble in his own backyard. Now, he's embarking on a 2,500-kilometer cross-country journey down the spine of Australia, from Mount Elephant to Dingo's Knob. Crombie sets out to discover one of Australia's most beautiful and iconic landscapes – the Great Dividing Range. Peaking at 7,000 feet, what the Range lacks in height it more than makes up for with its epic variety and unique appearance – from the ancient tropical rainforest of the Daintree and the surreal volcanic plugs of the Glass House Mountains to the grandeur of the Snowy Mountains and the vast alpine High Country. The Range is also home to a colorful cast of characters, including cattle musterers, eco-warriors, loggers, hippies, Aboriginal elders and park rangers, and features some of Australia's best climbing, caving, skiing, and whitewater-rafting possibilities. Amazingly, no one has ever traversed the full-length of the Range, and NATURAL BORN TRAVELLER will document Crombie's daring attempt to do so.
  • THE MONKEY THIEVES – Premieres October 7, 2008
    A fresh, original and entertaining series, THE MONKEY THIEVES follows one of most unique, riotous, and uncontrollable monkey troops the world has ever seen. Residing in Jaipur, India for generations, the troop has become so urbanized that when captured and released into the wild, they are at a complete loss as to how to survive without modern conveniences. Instead, they have been forced to resort to what has been described as "aggressive and often criminal" behavior. Using building and telephone cables as highways, and humans as potential targets for petty pilfering, these urban monkeys spend their days vandalizing, pick-pocketing, and stealing food from fruit vendors, family homes, grocery stores and even taxicabs. This action-packed series will follow key "characters" within the monkey troop to tell the inside story of these incredible primates and their daily dramas of birth, death, crime, captivity, hierarchy, and troop politics. As these monkeys invade human civilization, viewers will not only learn about and experience their resourceful and cunning ways, but also get a truly unique view of modern India and the people that live in its bustling cities.

    THE MONKEY THIEVES is an Off the Fence B.V. production for Equator HD in association with National Geographic International and France 5.

About VOOM HD Networks
VOOM HD networks (www.voom.com) comprise the world's largest suite of high-definition channels for distribution through satellite and cable operators. Produced exclusively in true high-definition and 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound, VOOM HD networks carry programming in categories as diverse as sports, movies, fashion, music and art. VOOM HD networks' 15 HDTV channels are available in the U.S. on Echostar's DISH Network and Cablevision's iO digital cable service. VOOM HD, a 24/7 international linear channel has distribution agreements in 35 countries and is currently distributed in Asia and Europe. Building on Rainbow Media Holdings LLCs history of original programming innovation, VOOM HD was developed by Rainbow to meet the growing worldwide demand for quality high-definition programming.

About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC). Rainbow Media is a leading producer of targeted, multi-platform content for global distribution, creating and managing some of the world's most compelling and dynamic entertainment brands, including AMC, IFC, WE tv, LIFESKOOL, SPORTSKOOL, and VOOM HD Networks. Through its IFC Entertainment division, Rainbow Media also owns and manages the following: IFC Films, a theatrical feature film distribution company; IFC First Take/IFC in Theaters, a day and date theatrical feature film/VOD initiative; the IFC Center in New York City; IFC Productions, a feature film production company; and IFC Entertainment, which owns and operates a film library. Rainbow Media also operates Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation, its advertising sales company, and Rainbow Network Communications, its full service network programming origination and distribution company.

Press Contacts

  • Marie Stenberg