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Mark Burnett series scheduled on History channel
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No immunity idols helped TV producer Mark Burnett&aposs latest crew of adventurers, who retraced journalist Henry Stanley&aposs 19th century search in Africa for missing explorer David Livingstone.

The TV series that came out of the trip, " Expedition Africa: Stanley&Livingstone,"will unfold as an eight-part series on the History channel, starting in June.

History channel chief Abbe Raven said Monday she hoped it was the start of a franchise.

Burnett picked four people who had never met to make the nearly 1,000-mile trip through forbidding terrain, armed with a compass and old maps. They were hoping to duplicate in 30 days the trip made by newspaper reporter Stanley in 1871 to find Livingstone.

" David Livingstone was like the Bono of his day, and he&aposd gotten lost," Burnett said.

The four adventurers Burnett cast all had TV experience: British adventurer series host Benedict Allen; war correspondent Kevin Sites; " National Geographic Explorer"correspondent Mireya Mayor; and Pasquale Scaturro, who followed the Nile River to its source for an Imax film " Mystery of the Nile."

The four battled elements like poisonous snakes and unsafe water during their journey. Burnett said 10 people in his 120-member crew contracted malaria.

And, as viewers of Burnett&aposs CBS "Survivor"series might expect, they battled each other at times.

Burnett said he doesn&apost cast series guessing in advance people will fight. " Just choose people who are so sure of themselves,"he said. " They can&apost all lead, can they?"

" These are the three big brothers that you always wanted," Mayor said Monday. " Sometimes I thought they were the three big brothers I never wanted."

One of the four cast members became so ill during the journey as to come near death, Burnett said. He wouldn&apost reveal which one.

It&aposs the biggest investment History has ever made in an original series, said Raven, the History channel&aposs president and chief executive officer.

Her hope is that "Expedition"can become a franchise for History, one which sends the same four cast members on other adventures. Burnett is already pushing for a series that follows the 13th century journeys of Marco Polo.

To do that, "Expedition"will have to draw a significantly higher audience than the network&aposs regular programming, she said.

"It has to reach millions of people, no question about it,"she said. "We believe it will."

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