Having focused on documentaries and reality programming involving pets and wildlife over the past 10 years, basic cable out Animal Planet plans to begin airing Hollywood product. According to Daily Variety, the channel’s first Saturday night movie will be Columbia Pictures’ 1999 family film Stuart Little, which combines live-action and CG animation. The flick will air on May 19 and will be followed in subsequent weeks by other animal-themed movies including fellow Columbia releases Fly Away Home and Winged Migration.
Dubbed ‘Animal Planet at the Movies,’ the regular feature will also bring viewers such Disney favorites as the Air Bud series and both Homeward Bound movies. Dan Russell, Animal Planet’s VP of programming, is in talks with other major studios and plans to pick up at least 26 other films to air in primetime on Saturdays with repeats on Thursday nights.
Animal Planet has already gone Hollywood by airing programming that ties into such animal-based movies as 20th Century Fox’s Eragon and Paramount’s Charlotte’s Web. The network may end up becoming another outlet for entirely animated features since the majority of them revolve around animal characters.