Here's what we'll be watching this September.
• Much fun has been made of David Hasselhoff's pop music career in Germany, but it gave him a unique perspective on history: he was invited to perform there on New Year's Eve 1989, soon after the Berlin Wall fell. Now, as the 25th anniversary of the event that reunited the country approaches, National Geographic Channel accompanies the actor-singer back to Germany to reminisce in "Hasselhoff vs. The Berlin Wall," premiering Sept. 1.
• Animal Planet takes Labor Day literally with its multiplatform event "Labor Day Live," broadcasting the births of farm animals from the Nebraska State Fair throughout the holiday weekend during its programming and on their website. Fans can also access it via streaming services and devices at APL.TV.
• In honor of National Preparedness Month, Weather Channel kicks off September on Labor Day weekend with "Survival Week," packing its schedule with shows about disastrous weather situations and how to survive them. It runs through Sept. 6.
• Leading up to the UN Climate Summit on Sept. 23 in New York, Tree Media is has produced four short films about climate change, the first of which, "Carbon," is available for viewing at the Green World Rising website, with the others to follow. "97 percent of climate scientists agree: climate change is happening now — and humans are responsible," says actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, who narrates the films. "We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon — now."
• With its detrimental impacts to the environment and health, the American food industry is in a sorry state. But it's not all gloom and doom: the new PBS series "Food Forward TV" showcases "food rebels," people who’ve come up with eco-conscious, healthy, viable alternatives to the corporate status quo. The series launches in markets throughout the fall starting with San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York between Sept. 4 and 7. The first two episodes are viewable now, with a new pair posting weekly at the show's website. The video above offers a preview of the series.
• The struggle for survival in the Alaskan wilderness town of Tanana continues in the third season of "Yukon Men," premiering Sept. 2 on Discovery Channel.
• The fourth biennial "Stand Up to Cancer" telethon will air live over 31 broadcast and cable networks and stream on Hulu and Yahoo on Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 CT. Stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Jon Hamm, Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Mark Harmon, Rob Lowe, Eric Stonestreet will participate along with performers Dave Matthews, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and The Who.
• Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which protected millions of acres of U.S. land from the Florida Everglades to Alaska, Smithsonian Channel will premiere "Aerial America: Wilderness" on Sept. 7, taking viewers on an aerial tour of the country's most magnificent iconic landscapes.
A scene from History Channel's "Rebuilding the World Trade Center" shows the construction site at night. (Photo: Marcus Robinson)
• Thirteen years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, several new programs will honor the anniversary beginning with National Geographic’s "9/10: The Final Hours" on Sept. 7, focusing on the final moments before the world changed. Also on the 7th, Smithsonian Channel's "Crowning New York" returns to the Ground Zero site to tell the story of how the new One World Trade Center tower rose from the ashes. That's also the subject of History Channel's "Rebuilding the World Trade Center," premiering Sept. 11. On the same date, Discovery Channel's "9/11 Rescue Cops," focuses on the heroic rescue efforts of the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit, which lost 14 men in the Twin Towers.
• Diseases like whooping cough, measles, and mumps that were largely eradicated years ago are making an ominous return because some nervous parents don't allow or delay their children's vaccinations. Premiering Sept. 10, The PBS "Nova" special "Vaccines: Calling the Shots" analyzes epidemics and the science of vaccinations, explaining parental fears — and the possible consequences of following them.
• Backyards become eco-friendly oases in the creative hands of Greg Wittstock and his team from Aquascape, a.k.a. the "Pond Stars" of Nat Geo Wild's new series that premieres Sept. 9. In the opener, they create a pond for rescued turtles at an environmental center and a 35-foot recycled-water waterfall for an Atlanta couple.
• The latest installment of Nat Geo Wild's "Destination Wild" series of specials treks to the heart of Africa for "Wild Congo," both the second largest river on earth and home to land and aquatic wildlife, from hippopotamus to sea turtles. It premieres Sept. 14.
• The aquatic environment experts of "Tanked" return to Animal Planet with new episodes beginning Sept. 19, starting with an appropriately outsize fish tank for basketball superstar Shaquillle O'Neal in the premiere.
• Dogs may be man's best friend, but cats are more popular, and they're the subject of the Nat Geo Wild special "The Secret Life of Cats," premiering Sept. 21. Following a kitten's life and development from birth to six months, it explains feline anatomy and behavior and includes first-person stories of cats miraculously saving humans or themselves from danger. The video above offers a peek!
Monarch butterflies in Animal Planet's "Wild Mexico." (Photo: Sarah Whalley/Animal Planet)
• On Sept. 23, Animal Planet heads south of the border to "Wild Mexico" for a special exploring the country's varied landscapes and diverse wildlife, including jaguars, grey whales, howler monkeys and monarch butterflies.
• National Geographic examines a half-century of military history through the stories of the men who led U.S. combat forces from the Vietnam War to the war on terror in the special "American War Generals," premiering Sept. 14.
• Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. helps celebrities discover their own family histories in the second season of "Finding Your Roots." Premiering Sept. 23, the ten-episode series features three guests in each, grouped by a commonality. In the opener, "In Search of Our Fathers," Gates and his team of genealogists solve paternal mysteries for Stephen King, Courtney Vance and Gloria Reuben.
• Fifty spy cams hidden in rocks and disguised in eggs and animatronic birds provide an up-close look at the behavior of Emperor, Rockhopper and Humboldt penguins in the three-part PBS "Nature" series "Penguins: Spy in the Huddle." Narrated by David Tennant and premiering Sept. 24, this is an expanded version of the Discovery Channel special "Penguins: Waddle All the Way" that aired last November.
• The convenience of doing everything online has unfortunate consequences: cybercrime is on the rise. But the data thieves have formidable foes in the scientists who use math, physics and cryptography to create unbreakable codes and better passwords and stay one step ahead. See them at work in the "Nova" special "Rise of the Hackers," premiering Sept. 24 on PBS.
• On Sept. 28, Nat Geo Wild travels to China for two "Destination Wild" specials about endangered wildlife. There are less than 1600 pandas living in remote areas of the country, but stepped up conservation, rescue and breeding efforts have brought the bears back from near-extinction, a story depicted in "Giant Pandas," released theatrically last spring as "Pandas: The Journey Home." Next, "China's Golden Monkeys" focuses on the rare Chinese snub-nosed monkey, exploring the complex societies in which these mountain dwelling creatures live.
• Living off the grid gets extreme in the new Nat Geo series "Live Free or Die," premiering Sept. 30. It follows five folks who eschew modern society's material goods and comforts to carve out an existence in remote backwoods and swamps.
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