Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Introduced by former Zoo Parade host Marlin Perkins as an NBC weekender in 1963, the evergreen animal show Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom managed to remain on the air in syndication into the early '90s, with several different hosts (notably Jim Fowler) at the helm. As indicated by the title, the series' sponsor remained loyal to the property right up to its final telecast. On September 17, 2002, the series was reborn on the Animal Planet, again with the Mutual Insurance Company footing the bills (but, alas, without those wonderfully torturous "segues" from film to commercial which distinguished the original). Though this version had no set host, Alec Baldwin narrated most of the episodes. And unlike the earlier series, which was generally satisfied to show exotic animals in their natural habitats, the "new" version had a pronounced pro-conservation slant. This incarnation of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was doled out as six one-hour "specials" throughout each TV season.