|Ripley's Believe It or Not!|
|Created by||Robert Ripley|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original network||NBC (1949-1950)|
Travel Channel (2019)
|Original release||March 1, 1949|
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.
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.
Ripley's Believe It or Not! later returned to television in a second series from 1982 to 1986, on the American ABC network. Actor Jack Palance hosted the popular series throughout its run, 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.
In December 1995, development was underway by Cinar for an animated series based on Ripley's Believe It or Not!. The 26-episode series, 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, and was about three young people who discover unexplained mysteries and unusual items.
In December 1998, TBS Superstation outbid two broadcast network competitors to purchase the rights from Columbia TriStar Television Distribution for a new Ripley's series that would be an update of the earlier program that aired from 1982 to 1986. The new series, titled Ripley's Believe It or Not!, premiered on TBS on January 12, 2000, with Dean Cain as host. 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. 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.