Discovery Channel plots 200+ territory doc launch

Discovery Channel has commissioned a documentary about Mount Everest’s Sherpa community that will rollout in more than 200 territories worldwide.

SherpaThis represents the second time Discovery has chosen to use this type of distribution plan since Rich Ross was named president, coming after Racing Extinction.

Sherpa will debut next year, looking into the Sherpas’ grief and anger over a deadly avalanche last year that took the lives of 16 of their members.

The doc, from director Jennifer Peedom, began as a project about the upcoming climbing season from there Sherpas’ point of view after a publicised confrontation with Western climbers in 2013. However, the filming captured Everest’s deadliest ever day and turned the doc into a film about there rescue and recovery efforts.

“This is a film that is powerful and moving,” Ross said. “It brings us somewhere we’ve never gone before – deep into the lives of the Sherpas who make Everest’s climbing culture possible.”

He announced the series at a US Gamechangers session here at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

“Jennifer Peedom scales the heights of storytelling in Sherpa because of the deep trust she engendered in the Sherpa people and the unparalleled access they granted her as a result,” said John Hoffman, executive VP of documentaries and specials for the Discovery Channel. “The result is a tour de force that will forever change the way viewers see Mount Everest.”

Bridget Ikin of Australia’s Felix Media coproduced the show with UK-based Arrow Media also attached.

“Jennifer Peedom captured a moment of unexpected high drama and with consummate skill,” said Phil Craig, executive VP and chief creative officer, Discovery Networks International. “We are delighted to team up with Rich Ross and his team to bring this important story to a global audience.”

Ross was this month promoted to group president of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel.

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