NEW YORK — “Wild thing! You make everything groovy.”
That half-century-old rock classic from The Troggs might serve as the theme song of Animal Planet.
In a deft brand-freshening a few years ago, the channel broadened its focus from such critters as lions and tigers and bears to also embrace the human animal. It has since given new attention to humans who immerse themselves, in one way or another, in the untamed domains of their fellow animals.
Hence the channel’s slogan: “Live wild.”
“Our viewers get that we’re about people now,” says Marjorie Kaplan, group president of Animal Planet as well as TLC and Velocity. “They know we’ve been concentrating on the notion that, the more we live apart from the wild world, the more we crave experiences and entertainment that is more raw and more real.”
Animal Planet has unveiled a slate of programming for the coming year that ranges wildly from conservation stories and natural-history documentaries to pet love and epic ventures reconnecting with nature.
Returning shows include “River Monsters,” starting its seventh season with Jeremy Wade as host on Sunday, “Bigfoot Found” and, of course, “Puppy Bowl,” which, for its 12th year, offers a canine alternative to Super Bowl pigskin.
Among the channel’s new shows:
“The Sheriff of Cross River.” This series documents the efforts of Peter Jenkins, known as Nigeria’s leading wildlife warrior, whose mission is to protect the exotic animals of Africa’s dangerous Cross River region from poachers and other human threats.
“Restoration Wild.” In this series, “visionary wild man” Jay Chaikin and his crew identify and repurpose vintage structures and relics left abandoned in the landscape, transforming them into magnificent, one-of-a-kind living spaces.
“Fish or Die.” Hitting all seven continents in a vegetable-oil-powered pickup truck, four die-hard anglers roam — and drop their lines — in the Earth’s last unexplored waters to fish where no man has fished before.
And the first of Animal Planet’s new programming offspring arrives at 10 p.m. Sunday. “100 Miles From Nowhere” features three chums who take the road less traveled as they blaze 100-mile treks across the planet’s greatest escapes, filming their adventures en route.