Friday, September 7 on NBC (8-10 p.m. ET)
“Revenge of the Whale,” a two-hour special production from NBC News, tells the remarkable true story of the bizarre 1820 sinking of the whaleship Essex by an enormous whale and the ordeal suffered by a handful of whalers who were forced to make unthinkable decisions in order to survive. Driven to the brink of madness and forced to resort to cannibalism, the men endured three months adrift in the middle of the Pacific with no shelter, little food and less water. The historical documentary is based on the best-selling book, “In the Heart of the Sea” (winner of the 2000 National Book Award), by Nathaniel Philbrick, who served as a consultant on the project. Nearly a year in the making, the dramatic two-hour documentary combines the historical accuracy and rich detail of a traditional documentary with the dramatic narrative and visual style of a feature film. David Corvo is executive producer of the documentary, which was produced and directed by Geoff Stephens. Stephens and John Hockenberry are the writers.