THREE-PART ULTRA-HIGH DEFINITION SERIES PREMIERES
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5 AT 8PM ET/PT
NEW YORK – Smithsonian Channel turns its lens on the mighty Mississippi, a leviathan that carves through the American landscape and shapes the nation like no other river, in a new, visually stunning three-part series, AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI. Connecting the east to the west, the country to the city and America to the world, this iconic river supports and challenges both humans and animals – beginning as a mere trickle, beating through the heartland and becoming a wild force as it drives south toward the Gulf of Mexico. Filmed in ultra-high definition to reveal the true beauty of the river, the series captures the extraordinary abundance and diversity of wildlife that lives along North America’s greatest waterway.AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI premieres Wednesday, December 5 at 8 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.
Across three episodes of AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI, viewers journey from the headwaters to the mouth of the river as it forges along 2,300 miles, drawing water from 31 states along the way. Each episode captures the constantly changing nature of the river as it twists and turns through northern forests, hilly plateaus and southern swamps, and highlights the diverse wildlife that lives in sync with this legendary force. In the North, giant bull moose battle in their fall rut while black bears forage along the forested banks. In the Midwest, spirits run high as locals gather for the annual round-up of invasive Asian carp. In the South, swimming armadillos dodge hungry snapping turtles, and swarms of jellyfish mingle by the millions. The series explores America’s relationship with the river as we attempt to harness its power and grapple with the ebb and flow of its banks.
The premiere episode, THE HEADWATERS, begins the journey of the Mississippi River at its source: Lake Itasca. Stunning aerials track the river as it weaves through the pristine wilderness of Minnesota, gathering momentum as numerous tributaries add to its flow. A family of beavers prepares for winter as 60 percent of all North American birds funnel through the Mississippi flyway in search of warmer climes. Gray wolves scavenge on the season’s victims. When spring’s thaw finally arrives, hundreds of bald eagles descend as the river releases a feast of gizzard shad no longer locked in ice. Swollen with meltwater, the riverpasses its first major city, Minneapolis.
Subsequent episodes of AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI are:
Premieres Wednesday, December 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
The central stretch of the Mississippi River pulses through America’s heartland and cuts into the hilly plateau of the Driftless Area – a region that escaped being flattened by Ice Age glaciers. It becomes a river of uninhabited islands harboring coyotes and hungry otters, overlooked by small towns nestled among the steep banks. Male wild turkeys fluff up their feathers and battle for mating rights. As the forests thin, red-tailed hawks hunt in the clearings, wood duck fledglings take a 30-foot leap of faith from their tree holes and bobcats hunt to feed their kittens. Near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, spring’s snowmelt and rain combine to break the river’s banks and force wildlife to flee.
Premieres Wednesday, December 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Cruising through Cajun country and into the delta, a family of foxes narrowly escapes as the mighty Mississippi combines with the Ohio, creating the greatest flow of water in the United States—two million gallons of water pass by every second. Winding through a maze of bayous to the ocean, the water creates a constantly shifting landscape. South of the Civil War battleground of Vicksburg, the bayous hum with the mating song of millions of American toads and are home to America’s only marsupial, the opossum. Further south, the river spills into swamps, ponds and canals, irrigating crawfish farms that feed not only the hungry appetites of Americans but also a gathering crowd of wood storks, egrets and spoonbills. This is gator country and by late August, eggs that have incubated through summer’s inferno are ready to hatch. The Mississippi floats past the historic city of New Orleans, completing its journey as it empties its load into the gulf, where pesticides, minerals and nutrients combine to create a deoxygenated “Dead Zone,” but even here the river nurtures wildlife: thousands of moon jellyfish bloom and thrive.
AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI is produced by Red Rock Films for Smithsonian Channel. Brian Armstrong is executive producer for Red Rock Films. Executive producers for Smithsonian Channel are Tria Thalman and David Royle.