List of Ripley's Believe It or Not! TV series

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Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Created byRobert Ripley
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production company(s)
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkNBC (1949–1950)
ABC (1982–1986)
TBS (2000–2003)
Travel Channel (2019)
Picture formatNTSC
Original releaseMarch 1, 1949 (1949-03-01)

Ripley's Believe It or Not! is the name of several documentary television series based on the newspaper feature. The first series aired on NBC from 1949 to 1950, and was hosted by Robert L. Ripley until his death, after which several substitute hosts filled in. The series was revived again on ABC, running from 1982-1986, and was hosted primarily by Jack Palance. Another revival debuted on TBS in 2000, and aired until 2003, with Dean Cain as the host. A Filipino version, hosted by Chris Tiu, debuted in 2008. An animated series based on the Ripley's franchise was also created, and premiered in 1999. Another revival premiered on Travel Channel in June 2019, with Bruce Campbell as the host.

Original series (1949–1950)[edit]

The first Believe It or Not! TV series, a live show hosted by Robert L. Ripley, premiered on NBC television on March 1, 1949. Shortly after the 13th episode, on May 27, 1949, Ripley died of a heart attack and several of his friends substituted as host, including future Ripley's Believe It or Not! president Doug Storer. Robert St. John served as host from the second season until the series ended on October 5, 1950.

In 1956, ABC Films Syndication had John Gibbs and Meridian Pictures prepare a Ripley's Believe It or Not! television pilot.[1]

Revival (1982–1986)[edit]

Ripley's Believe It or Not! later returned to television in a second series from 1982 to 1986,[citation needed] on the American ABC network. Actor Jack Palance hosted the popular series throughout its run,[2] while three different co-hosts appeared from season to season, including Palance's daughter, Holly Palance, actress Catherine Shirriff, and singer Marie Osmond. The 1980s series reran on the Sci-fi Channel (UK) and Sci-fi Channel (US) during the 1990s.

Animated series (1999)[edit]

In December 1995, development was underway by Cinar for an animated series based on Ripley's Believe It or Not!.[3] The 26-episode series,[4] titled Ripley's Believe It or Not!, was co-produced by French production company Alphanim, which was founded in 1997. The series premiered on Fox Family Channel on July 14, 1999,[5] and was about three young people who discover unexplained mysteries and unusual items.[4]

Second revival (2000–2003)[edit]

In March 1994, a pilot for The New Ripley's Believe It or Not had been ordered for ABC.[6]

In December 1998, TBS Superstation outbid two broadcast network competitors to purchase the rights from Columbia TriStar Television Distribution for 22 hour-long episodes of The New Ripley's Believe It or Not, to premiere on TBS in January 2000. The series would air weekly, and would be an update of the earlier program that aired from 1982 to 1986. The new series was to involve correspondents being sent around the world to report on amazing and unusual subjects. TBS had an option to purchase additional seasons, and had won the rights because it agreed to a full season without seeing a pilot.[7][8] In June 1999, Erik Nelson was signed on to serve as executive producer for the series.[9] In December 1999, Dean Cain was hired to host the new series.[10] Cain also served as a producer on the show, alongside Dan Jbara.[11]

The new series, simply titled Ripley's Believe It or Not!, premiered on TBS on January 12, 2000.[2] The series was primarily shot at a 15,000 square-foot Ripley's warehouse in Sylmar, Los Angeles.[11] Most episodes open with an act that is performed in front of a live audience, while the rest of the episode involves Cain introducing various segments, each one for a different subject. Gregory Jbara served as one of the narrators for the different segments. Kelly Packard became a field correspondent in 2002, and would host coverage of events in which people demonstrate their unusual abilities, usually in front of an audience. The show also features such regular elements as "Spot the Not," a weekly trivia segment in which viewers are challenged to pick the claim that is not real and a special "Ripley's Record" commemoration for people who break a world record while appearing on the show. Reruns of the series began airing on The WB in September 2001,[12][13] and were expected to continue until December 2001.[14]

In early 2003, Sony Pictures Television ordered an 11-episode fourth season. In March 2003, 11 additional episodes were ordered for the fourth season, which aired on Wednesday evenings at 9:00 p.m. For its timeslot, the series was the top-rated program among its target audience of people between the ages of 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.[15] In September 2003, Sony Pictures announced a trimmed half-hour version of the existing show that would start airing in reruns on local television channels across the United States.[16]

Reruns later began airing on Canada's SPACE station as of 2012. As of 2017, hour-long reruns aired on Chiller before the channel ceased operations at year's end.

2008 version[edit]

In 2008, a new version of the series, hosted by Chris Tiu, began airing on GMA Network, a Filipino television channel.

2019 version[edit]

A new Ripley's Believe It or Not!, with Bruce Campbell as the host, was announced in January 2019.[17] The series premiered on Travel Channel on June 9, 2019.[18][19]


  1. ^ "ABC Film Synd. Plans for Big 1956". Billboard. January 28, 1956. p. 8. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Allan (January 9, 2000). "Back On The Beat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  3. ^ "Wendel Mans Cinar's Front". Variety. December 17, 1995. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Amidi, Amid (March 17, 1999). "Animation and Fox Family Channel: a perfect match!". Animation World Network. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Kilmer, David (June 13, 1999). "Alphanim announces new productions". Animation World Network. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  6. ^ Lowry, Brian (March 20, 1994). "Fleet of pilots ready". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Katz, Richard (December 9, 1998). "'Believe it,' TBS says: Cabler orders 22 segs of CTTD's 'New Ripley's' series". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  8. ^ Snow, Shauna (December 12, 1998). "Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Dempsey, John (June 22, 1999). "'Ripley's' taps Nelson as exec producer: TBS series to make its debut in January". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Wolk, Josh (December 10, 1999). "Britney Spears and LFO team up". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2017. Dean Cain has been hired to host TBS' new version of "Ripley's Believe It or Not" (which is exactly where Cain would have filed this news if — while he was starring as Superman on "Lois and Clark" — you had told him this is where his career would take him). The series debuts Jan. 12.
  11. ^ a b Johnson, Tricia (June 14, 2002). "Wack & Cheese: The Ripley's Believe It or Not! set features props both tacky and terrifying". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  12. ^ Adalian, Josef (August 20, 2001). "ATG morning after". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  13. ^ Schneider, Michael (September 13, 2001). "Big six overview: WB". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  14. ^ Johnson, Allan (August 23, 2001). "Another 'Mole' role". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  15. ^ Oei, Lily (March 17, 2003). "TBS orders up 'Ripley': Series is top-rated in its timeslot among adult demos". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Dempsey, John (September 14, 2003). "Cablers raise syndie stakes". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  17. ^ Oller, Jacob (January 1, 2019). "Ripley's Believe It or Not! show names Bruce Campbell host". Syfy Wire. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "Bruce Campbell Reveals Bizarre and Astounding Talents in Travel Channel's "Ripley's Believe It or Not!"". The Futon Critic. April 25, 2019.
  19. ^ "Ripley's Believe It or Not episodes". Retrieved June 11, 2019.

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