For fans of HD and / or nature documentaries, the BBC Planet Earth series is the unquestioned champion, and to provide a proper followup the Brits are improving it the only way they know how: doing it live. What the broadcaster calls its “most ambitions global wildlife series ever” will air simultaneously in 140 countries (more on that bit later) starting Sunday May 6th, then every Thursday and Sunday for three weeks. The plan is to track animals in seven different locations around the world in real time as they struggle for survival and broadcast it all in HD. One segment features Top Gear’s Richard Hammond following a pride of lions across southern Kenya, while another will track black bears in Minnesota. The bad news? If you’re in the US or Canada you’re not on that 140 country list and won’t be seeing any of this live. We’re not sure if there’s time to make this a campaign issue in the 2012 presidential election but we figure that, or at least bugging BBC America (while we’re on the subject — where’s our global iPlayer?) is worth a try. Check after the break for a press release with all the details on where and when it is airing, as well as a trailer.
Update: While we won’t be getting the live simulcast, BBC’s Paul Deane dropped in a comment below noting it will air the next day on National Geographic Wild retitled as 24/7 Wild. We haven’t located a program description yet, but there are already listings in the schedule starting May 7th — schedule your DVRs accordingly.