Places I Remember with Lea Lane

Serengeti: Creating A Wildlife Series, With Emmy Winners Simon Fuller And John Downer

July 27, 2021 Simon produces 'American Idol' and 'So You Think You Can Dance'; John directs nature series. Together they capture life and death realities on the plains of Tanzania for Discovery+. Season 1 Episode 26
Places I Remember with Lea Lane
Serengeti: Creating A Wildlife Series, With Emmy Winners Simon Fuller And John Downer
Show Notes Chapter Markers

You might not expect a producer of  pop culture phenomena like 'American Idol' and 'So You Think You Can Dance' to create a dramatic wildlife documentary series. But when Emmy-Award-winning producer Simon Fuller met Emmy-award winning doc director John  Downer, a "perfect partnership"  began.
-- The result is the Serengeti series, set on the plains of Tanzania, with Serengeti 2 currently available on Discovery+.
-- Simon and John generously share inside info on how they created the series -- from the camera work to the difficulties of working with story lines, climate change complications and finding and staying with story lines with wild animals we get to know by name.
-- They also talk of their exceptional crew, including the voiceover artistry of Academy Award-winning and Emmy nominated actress Lupita Nyong’o. 
-- They each end with a special personal memory of the Serengeti. A wonderful podcast!
All six episodes of Serengeti 2 are available on discovery+. Viewers can join the conversation on social media by using #SerengetiII and following Discovery on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter for the latest updates.
Simon Fuller  is a British entrepreneur, artist manager, film and television producer. He has managed talent that includes David and Victoria Beckham, Annie Lennox, Steven Tyler,  Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and The Spice Girls. He is in partnership with the duo Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
John Downer started his professional life in 1981 at the BBC Natural History Unit, later creating John Downer Productions.  He pioneered a number of techniques for wildlife filmmaking, in particular by putting cameras on birds, and by filming birds from the air using various airborne filming platforms.
Podcast host Lea Lane blogs at, has traveled to over 100 countries, written nine books, including Places I Remember, and contributed to guidebooks. She's @lealane on Twitter; Travelea on Insta; on  Facebook, it's Places I Remember by Lea Lane. Website: placesirememberlealane.comPlease follow, rate and review this weekly travel podcast!

Why Simon moved to nature documentary from pop culture: "through the eyes of nature"
John tells of the challenges directing the series
Elephants and baboons-- moments of special empathy
How long it took to film the series:"you're guided by the incredible things you capture."
Young childen can enjoy
Animals are adaptable
Filming from the air
Entire crew returns, including Oscar-winner Lupita
"Perfect partnership"
Special Serengeti memories of John and Simon