History Channel plans slam-bang slate

The History Channel is set to announce Monday a slew of new prime-time series and specials, offering fresh perspectives on ancient developments.

The new weekly series are:

--Lost Worlds, a 13-episode series premiering in the third quarter, follows a team of historical detectives as they piece together clues in uncovering "lost worlds" in such episodes as "Ramses' Egyptian Empire," "Churchill's Secret Bunkers," "Jesus' Jerusalem," and "The Real Dracula."

--Engineering an Empire examines the world's most advanced civilizations, including Greece and Russia, from the perspective of their engineering feats. Peter Weller hosts the 12-episode series, premiering in the third quarter.

--Dogfights, a 13-episode series premiering in the fourth quarter, recreates famous battles from history.

--Ancient Discoveries travels back in time to discover the ancient roots of modern technologies. The 10-episode series premieres in first-quarter 2007.

New prime-time specials include True Caribbean Pirates (third quarter); Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower, The Exodus Decoded, Race to the South Pole, and Inside the Volcano (all fourth quarter); The Dark Ages(first-quarter 2007); and The States (second-quarter 2007).

Meanwhile, History International, the domestic network that gives a global perspective on history, will feature several new shows, including two 12-episode series: Tales of the Living Dead (second quarter) and Drive-Thru History (third quarter).

The History Channel also plans a summer relaunch of its Web site, offering more than 2,000 video clips and speeches, behind-the-scenes footage of History Channel programs, podcasts, interactive timelines, online games, e-cards, and access to History.com on mobile phones and PDAs.

History.com also is developing new broadband channels based on such historical topics as "Science & Technology" and "Exploration," and is revamping its "This Day in History" site.

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