Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown
At the start of each episode of his longtime show, Jack Hannah sits calmly in his office at The Columbus Zoo talking to the camera while a wild animal sits next to him; an elegant cheetah co-hosted one episode. The scene is a perfect embodiment of all that is Jack Hannah — a true pro with the utmost respect for animals.
Hannah has been on TV for decades, and with good reason. Always decked in his safari khakis and an Indiana Jones-type hat, Hannah genuinely loves learning about animals, and sharing that information with his viewers. He often takes his wife, Sue, with him as he ventures off to exotic locations. In one segment, his grandson Jack accompanied him to visit a conservation center in Florida devoted to sea turtles. The family touch adds to the enjoyment of the trip, and often Hannah’s companions ask questions that viewers can imagine themselves asking.
Whether he’s in Calgary, Canada, or Cape Town, South Africa, whether he’s investigating the whooping crane population or the lifestyle of orangutans, Hannah likes to be on the scene getting as close as possible to all animals and finding out what needs to be done to help and protect them.
The show is nicely paced with its “countdown” of six quick segments, and sometimes a blooper reel for added fun. One show can include learning about a tarantula, a sun-tailed monkey, a Fijian crested iguana, a mountain gorilla as well as a chance to laugh as Hannah gets unexpectedly splashed by water in Alaska. He’s always searching for new species and finding out new facts about conservation. He closes with: “This is Jack Hannah reminding you that every creature counts!” Easy and informative, with laughs and emotional moments, Jack Hannah’s Wild Countdown is a winner.
Ann Oldenburg ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.