Discovery Channel has set September 23 for the premiere of Ellen DeGeneres’ Saving The Gorillas: Ellen’s Next Adventure two-hour special. The documentary will air at 8 PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel and, in honor of World Gorilla Day, will be followed with an encore presentation on Sunday, September 24 at 10 PM ET/PT on Animal Planet. It also will be available to stream on Max and discovery+.
The documentary follows DeGeneres as she fulfills her dream of protecting the legacy of world-renowned primatologist, Dian Fossey, by building the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda.
The documentary project began as a birthday gift from DeGeneres’ wife, Portia de Rossi and snowballed into one of the largest architectural and landscaping projects in the history of Rwanda, along with challenges like volcanoes, earthquakes, and a global pandemic. It culminates with the opening of The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund,
“Every single thing has led me to just have a big enough platform to say, ‘Look at work Dian Fossey did,’” explains Ellen DeGeneres in the documentary. “There’s nothing that keeps you more present, more in the moment, than sitting with gorillas.”
“We are so thrilled to partner with Ellen, Portia, and their team to bring this amazing Gorilla conservation journey to life on screen,” said Craig H. Shepherd, EVP at Zero Point Zero Production. “Their impact on conservation and the immediate community in Rwanda is an inspiration for all.”
Since its opening in February 2022, the award-winning Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has served as a catalyst for conservation action for gorillas and the surrounding biodiversity. The campus has hosted over 40,000 visitors, with roughly half coming from Rwanda and the rest from countries around the world. More than 7,500 local school children have participated in field trips to the campus, providing them with the opportunity to learn more about the biodiversity in their backyard and have hands-on experiences in nature.
The documentary special also marks DeGeneres’ return to television following her 22-season run as host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which ended in May 2022.
Saving the Gorillas is directed by Abigail Harper and executive produced by Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, and Craig H. Shepherd for Zero Point Zero Production. Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman executive produced for A Very Good Production.