"Every single thing has led me to just have a big enough platform to say, 'Look at work Dian Fossey did,'" DeGeneres said about the project
Ellen DeGeneres is returning to TV — this time focusing on saving gorillas.
On September 23, the two-hour special Saving the Gorillas: Ellen’s Next Adventure will premiere on Discovery Channel. The documentary follows DeGeneres, 65, as she travels to Rwanda to learn more about gorilla conservation efforts and contribute to these efforts by building the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. The special arrives over a year after the comedian ended her daytime talk show.
A trailer for the upcoming special — set to debut in the same week as World Gorilla Day — gives a glimpse at the work it took to make the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund a reality, including visits to the wild to meet gorillas face-to-face.
In the clip, DeGeneres travels into the woods with her wife, Portia de Rossi, and a group of conservationists to observe a family of gorillas.
"Nothing keeps you more present than sitting with gorillas," says DeGeneres in a voice-over in the trailer. The video then cuts to a shot of the conservationists grabbing each others' hands while a gorilla kisses its child on the head. Another voice says, "There's nothing more special in the world than seeing an exchange of love."
The creation of the Ellen DeGeneres Campus stemmed from de Rossi's search for a "nice birthday gift for her wife," which transformed into the couple embarking on "one of the largest architectural and landscaping projects in the history of Rwanda," according to a release from the Discovery Channel.
As the special will show, DeGeneres and her team had to tackle numerous obstacles, including the COVID-19 pandemic, volcano eruptions, and earthquakes, before the campus could open.
"It all culminates in a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them, their family, and friends as they celebrate the opening of The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund," the release adds. "It is an adventure filled with laughter, tears, and experiences none of them ever dreamed they'd have."
"Every single thing has led me to just have a big enough platform to say, 'Look at work Dian Fossey did,'" DeGeneres said in a statement, referring to the pioneering primatologist, conservationist, and author of Gorillas in the Mist, Dian Fossey.
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Since opening in February 2022, the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has hosted over 40,000 visitors, per Discovery Channel's release. The campus has also hosted more than 7,500 local school children, "providing them with the opportunity to learn more about the biodiversity in their backyard and have hands-on experiences in nature."
Saving the Gorillas: Ellen's Next Adventure premieres on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the Discovery Channel and on Sept. 24 on Animal Planet, Max, and Discovery+.
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