NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S FURTHER FRONT SERVES UP PROGRESSIVE AND IMMERSIVE EVENING WITH BEST-IN-CLASS STORYTELLERS AND CURIOSITY SEEKERS
Network Announces 2018-2019 Upfront Slate, Taking Storytelling Further by Giving Viewers and Advertisers More Touchpoints to Engage With its Distinctive, Premium Content
Further Front Guests Included Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Katie Couric, Bradley Whitford, T.R. Knight, Esai Morales and Phil Keoghan
Additional Guests in Attendance: Samantha Colley; Poppy Delevingne; Alex Honnold; Jihae; Dr. Jan Pol; Alex Rich; Boone Smith; Ellen Stofan; and Top National Geographic Photographers, Explorers and Adventurers
KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS INCLUDE:
New Live Events Brain Games Live and Yellowstone Live
New Series Chain of Command: Secret Service from National Geographic Studios
New Scripted Series The Hot Zone from Lynda Obst Productions, Fox 21 Television Studios, Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Jeff Vintar and Scott Free Productions
New Series Hostile Planet From Plimsoll Productions and
Academy Award-Winning Guillermo Navarro
Acquisition of Sundance and SXSW-Winning Feature Doc Science Fair
New Series In Their Own Words from Executive Producer Tom Jennings
(WASHINGTON, D.C. / NEW YORK - APRIL 18, 2018) Reimagining a SoHo New York townhouse into the Nat Geo House that showcased National Geographic's premium content, the network hosted a progressive and immersive evening that boasted an impressive guest list. The upfront presentation - aptly named FURTHER Front - unveiled exciting new and returning series, specials and live events plus offerings from the entire National Geographic portfolio throughout the 2018-2019 upfront season.
The intimate gathering, which also included select media and advertisers, took place throughout the five-story Nat Geo house at 214 Lafayette. First, guests were treated to poolside cocktails with the cast of Genius: Picasso and a virtual reality sneak peek of MARS season two. Then moving to dinner, guests were served a customized farm-to-table meal by NY brother and sister chefs Assaf and Naama Tamir of Lighthouse in Brooklyn. Following the dinner, guests moved to the rooftop for after-dinner drinks and dessert and to get an inside look at Explorer. The night concluded with the cutest Nat Geo WILD puppies leaving guests with smiles!
Creatives and talent who were part of the presentation included Genius: Picasso cast Antonio Banderas, Samantha Colley, Poppy Delevingne, T.R. Knight and Alex Rich and executive producer and showrunner Ken Biller; The Story of God with Morgan Freeman executive producer and host Morgan Freeman and executive producer Lori McCreary (Revelations Entertainment); America Inside Out with Katie Couric executive producer and correspondent Katie Couric; Emmy-winning actor Bradley Whitford (Valley of the Boom); MARS season two cast Jihae and Esai Morales and MARS big thinker Ellen Stofan (former NASA chief scientist); Explorer host Phil Keoghan and correspondents Albert Lin (Nat Geo Emerging Explorer), Sal Masekela and Mariana van Zeller; Free Solo's Alex Honnold (2018 Adventurer of the Year and world-renowned rock climber), Chai Vasarhelyi (producer and director) and Jimmy Chin (producer, director and National Geographic photographer); Boone Smith (Nat Geo WILD's Big Cat Week); Kaylee Greer (Nat Geo WILD's Pupparazzi); and Dr. Jan Pol and Diane Pol (Nat Geo WILD's The Incredible Dr. Pol). They were also joined by Nat Geo photographers Anand Varma (Giant Carnivorous Bats and 2018 Nat Geo Photographer of the Year) and Stephanie Sinclair, and Steve Boyes (Into the Okavango and Nat Geo 2016 Adventurer of the Year) and Adjany Costa (Into the Okavango and Nat Geo Emerging Explorer). Neil deGrasse Tyson (Cosmos: Possible Worlds and StarTalk) made a surprise appearance via Skype from the set of upcoming global series Cosmos: Possible Words.
"A little over two years ago, we embarked on our biggest journey yet, an expanded joint venture with 21st Century Fox - allowing us to invest in bigger, bolder, more premium content than ever before. National Geographic is more vibrant and more clearly defined than at any time in modern history. We are amplifying great storytelling across our media portfolio, in hopes to spark curiosity, to help solve big problems and to push the boundaries of what we already know," said Gary Knell, CEO, National Geographic Partners.
"National Geographic has become the destination for the best-in-class creatives, who want to partner with us on big, bold premium and entertaining content," said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks. "Our upfront slate is evidence that our transformation is truly taking hold and reaffirms our commitment to amplify important topics that matter, to create dialogue and to use the power of storytelling to change the world."
Earlier in the week, Susan Goldberg, editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine, announced the rebrand of the magazine. On the heels of one of the most successful years in National Geographic magazine's 130-year history, the iconic print publication is introducing a bold new redesign, with new visual story forms, thought-provoking essays and even more stunning photography.
National Geographic has an unrivaled philanthropic giveback, returning 27 percent of proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society - creating a virtuous cycle of storytelling and philanthropy committed to research, science, conservation and exploration.
With unparalleled reach, National Geographic reaches millions of consumers around the world every month in 487 million households in 172 countries and 43 languages and 423 million fans/followers globally, making the media company the No. 1 brand for social engagement with more than 7.6 billion content engagements across all platforms. National Geographic global social stats include over 193 million fans on Facebook, over 134 million followers on Instagram, over 41 million followers on Twitter, over 10 million subscribers on YouTube and over 6 million followers on Snapchat.
The 2018-2019 Upfront Slate Includes:
(Please note: All are working titles and subject to change.)
NEW FACTUAL SERIES
Hostile Planet (Plimsoll Productions)
Hostile Planet, a six-part series from executive producer and Academy Award-winning cinematographer and director Guillermo Navarro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), Emmy-nominated producer Martha Holmes ("The Blue Planet") and Emmy award-winning Tom Hugh-Jones ("Planet Earth II"), draws attention to the most extraordinary - almost supernatural - accounts of animals that have adapted to the cruelest evolutionary curveballs. Hostile Planet zooms in on the world's most extreme environments to reveal the animal kingdom's most epic stories of survival on this fast and continuously changing planet. This is an epic drama told in an intimate manner with new camera technology, allowing a close-up vantage point as the animals navigate through some of the most volatile habitats. With Navarro's expertise in magical realism, Hostile Planet infuses a "dark fairy-tale" tone into the series to underscore the beauty discovered during the most difficult times on Earth.
In Their Words (1895 Films, in association with NHNZ)
On the heels of the success of National Geographic's Diana: In Her Own Words and its Emmy award-winning Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes, the network once again partners with Tom Jennings for an immersive documentary series, In Their Own Words. Expanding on the unique storytelling techniques used by Jennings in Diana and Challenger, In Their Own Words will also weave stories together from original, long-forgotten audio and film recordings from around the world. Tentative topics for the first season of the series include the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the narco drug wars and the 2008 global financial crisis. Many of the interviews being cultivated for the series have never been heard or broadcast before. Each one is an extraordinary record on its own, but when combined into a single narrative they become a powerful and engaging format to experience the past as present.
Chain of Command: Secret Service (National Geographic Studios)
For every agent in the United States Secret Service, the most high-profile security assignment is to protect the president of the United States. In National Geographic's documentary series Chain of Command: The Secret Service viewers will be immersed in the high-stakes world of a law enforcement agency that very few people know much about. Through rare access and partnership, Chain of Command: The Secret Service will follow USSS officers and agents in different field offices across the country, where viewers will see firsthand how the presidential security detail prepares and executes an elaborate security plan wherever the president travels, including on President Donald Trump's recent visit to the Philippines. The second season of the Chain of Command franchise will premiere in early 2019 after National Geographic camera teams embed with the elite agency over the course of a year.
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Valley of the Boom (STXtv)
From STXtv, the television division of Robert Simonds' STX Entertainment, along with creator, showrunner, director and executive producer Matthew Carnahan (Showtime's "House of Lies") and executive producer Arianna Huffington, Valley of the Boom, a six-part limited series, stars two-time Emmy award-winning actor Bradley Whitford ("Get Out," "The Post," "The West Wing"), Steve Zahn ("War of the Planet of the Apes," ABC's "The Crossing") and Lamorne Morris ("Game Night," "New Girl"). Silicon Valley spawned some of the world's most influential people and recognizable brands during the 1990s tech bubble. Valley of the Boom pulls back the curtain and introduces the audience to the real stories of these founders' friendships, rivalries, victories and failures. Told with unparalleled access to the most groundbreaking and prominent figures in the tech world, the six-part limited series will follow the stories that made the history of the era.
The Hot Zone (Lynda Obst Productions, Fox 21 Television Studios, Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Jeff Vintar and Scott Free Productions)
From executive producer Ridley Scott, The Hot Zone, based on the eponymous international best-seller by Richard Preston, recounts the terrifying true story of the origins of the Ebola virus, a highly infectious deadly virus from the central African rain forest, and its first arrival on U.S. soil. In 1989, when this killer suddenly appeared in chimpanzees in a scientific lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., there was no known cure. A heroic U.S. Army veterinarian working with a secret military SWAT team put herself in mortal peril when she tried to head off the outbreak before it spread to the human population. The Hot Zone is a dramatic, hair-raising account of a rare and lethal virus and its impact on the human race.
SCIENCE FAIR (FUSION and Muck Media)
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY CRISTINA COSTANTINI AND DARREN FOSTER
Winner of the audience award at both Sundance 2018 and SXSW 2018, SCIENCE FAIR has been described by Variety as an "immensely likable documentary that serves as an ode to the teenage science geeks on whom our future depends." The documentary is an illuminating look at nine students from around the world as they prepare for the 2017 International Science and Engineering Fair, a highly competitive showcase of the world's top young scientific minds. The film, from FUSION's DuPont Award-winning and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaking team Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster along with Jeffrey Plunkett, offers a front seat to the victories, defeats and motivations of an incredible group of young men and women who are on a path to change their lives, and the world, through science.
INTO THE OKAVANGO (National Geographic Society)
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY NEIL GELINAS
The Okavango River Basin provides a vital source of water to about 1 million people; the world's largest population of African elephants; and significant numbers of lions, cheetahs and hundreds of species of birds. However, this once unspoiled oasis is now under siege due to increasing pressure from human activity. Premiering at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, INTO THE OKAVANGO chronicles a team of modern-day explorers on an epic four-month, 1,500-mile expedition across three countries to save the river system that feeds the Okavango Delta, one of our planet's last wetland wildernesses. From first-time documentary filmmaker Neil Gelinas and featuring stunning photography and aerial views of rarely seen vistas, this deeply moving film draws the world's attention not only to the Okavango River Basin, one of the most important areas for biodiversity conservation, but to the little-known and vulnerable wilderness area in the Angolan highlands on which it depends.
FREE SOLO (wt) (Itinerant Media and Parkes MacDonald Productions) *Previously announced
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY E. CHAI VASARHELYI AND JIMMY CHIN
FREE SOLO follows the first-ever free solo climb of El Capitan's most significant and challenging route, ascending the sheer 3,000-foot vertical rock face in Yosemite National Park. Professional rock climber Alex Honnold completed the audacious mission in 3 hours and 56 minutes on June 3, 2017, while documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and National Geographic photographer, critically acclaimed filmmaker and world-class climber in his own right Jimmy Chin (the award-winning directing duo behind 2015 Sundance winner "Meru") filmed the dramatic journey alongside him. With exclusive access to the event, the documentary from Itinerant Media and Parkes MacDonald Productions promises an intimate, unflinching portrait of the free soloist as he prepares for and then achieves his lifelong dream: to climb the face of the world's most famous rock face ... without a rope.
BRAIN GAMES LIVE (National Geographic Studios)
Get ready to explore the amazing human brain with the return of Emmy-nominated hit show Brain Games in a new, live two-hour event full of mind-bending games, surprising revelations and new interactive activities that demonstrate just how easy it is to fool the human brain, and why things aren't always as they seem. Over the course of two hours, viewers will participate in real-time, interactive games designed to mess with the mind and reveal the surprising inner workings of the brain. Brain Games Live will journey through the incredible science of what makes our brains tick with visually provocative experiences, capturing the attention of a live audience and leaving viewers at home holding their breath. Don't blink or you'll miss it!
YELLOWSTONE LIVE (Plimsoll Productions, Berman Productions and Bunim-Murray Productions)
Produced by the same team that brought you last summer's unprecedented two-hour event EARTH LIVE comes YELLOWSTONE LIVE, a four-day live event that showcases the best of Yellowstone National Park's wildlife in real time and in spectacular fashion. Over the course of four days, viewers will witness the earth's greatest wildlife, shot by world-renowned cinematographers using cutting-edge technology. With up to 22 million acres, Yellowstone is a hot spot for volcanic activity with more than 300 animal species, dramatic canyons, lush forests, hot springs, gushing geysers and alpine rivers.
Mission to the Sun (Thoroughly Modern Media)
In July 2018, NASA will have its first mission to the sun. Mission to the Sun will celebrate this world-changing event, exploring the amazing science of our sun and going behind the scenes of the bold NASA mission to reach it. Timed to coincide with the arrival of the probe into the sun's atmosphere in November 2018, this documentary special will mark a key moment in history - humanity's first attempt to touch the sun. This documentary special will use expert interviews, observational footage of the build and launch, and NASA archive to explore the engineering and technology behind this pioneering world first. Using stunning real footage of the sun from NASA solar exploration telescopes and blue-chip CGI to explore the wider science of our star, the documentary special will bring a fresh perspective to our relationship with the sun on Earth.
Apollo 50th Anniversary (1895 Films)
Leading into the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission, Apollo will tell the entire story of the Apollo program in a new, exciting and unprecedented way. This epic story will be told with no narration and will weave together media reports from around the world with long-forgotten NASA recordings and images, both from Mission Control and onboard the Apollo space capsules, to bring to stunning life the missions to the moon in real time. No one else has access to the kind of material this documentary special will provide. This is an unprecedented approach that will allow audiences to experience what it was like when the world held its breath and watched in wonder as one of humankind's greatest achievements unfolded before its eyes.
Cosmos: Possible Worlds (Cosmos Studios and Fuzzy Door Productions)
Set to premiere globally on Fox and National Geographic in Spring 2019, Cosmos: Possible Worlds will venture to previously uncharted territories. Astrophysicist, author and host of StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson returns as host for this new season of Cosmos. In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, the number of worlds to explore and stories to tell are virtually infinite. The first two seasons of the Cosmos television series transported a global audience to the farthest reaches and most deeply hidden recesses of the universe. In the course of those journeys, the series dramatized the lives of many of the forgotten searchers who contributed to the world's understanding of who, when and where we are in the universe.
MARS Season Two (Imagine Entertainment and RadicalMedia)
Of all the planets in our solar system, none has captured our collective imagination like Mars. Last season, viewers followed the first human mission to Mars, set in 2033, as the crew struggled to safely land on and create an initial settlement on the planet. In season two, it's now 2042, and the astronauts have developed Olympus Town into a full-fledged colony. But by this point, the International Mars Science Foundation - a multi-government-sponsored space agency - must rely on the private sector to help finance the Mars expedition. Tensions rise among original mission-driven scientists and miners from Lukrum, a for-profit corporation. Throughout six intriguing episodes, MARS delves into the friction caused between science and industry as earthlings determine how to coexist on another planet. Tracing the thrilling quest to make Mars home, National Geographic blends cinema-quality scripted drama set in the future with documentary sequences that features current space-technology pioneers.
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (Revelations Entertainment)
The new season of the Emmy-nominated series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman will again follow Academy Award-winning actor Freeman on an international journey as he discovers the power of religion and how it touches all of our lives. Freeman will travel to some of the world's holiest sites and speak with religious leaders, scientists, historians and archaeologists to try and shed light on topics that have puzzled us from the beginning. Each episode will focus on a different topic about the divine to help shed light on the questions that have inspired mankind.
Explorer (National Geographic Studios)
National Geographic's long-running, critically acclaimed series Explorer has represented the best of the network for more than three decades. With new host Phil Keoghan ("Amazing Race"), Explorer is returning as a weekly series featuring intrepid field pieces and in-depth interviews in a continuation of the series' legacy of pushing the boundaries of journalism. The series opens a window on hidden parts of the world, unlocking mysteries both ancient and modern, to investigate stories of science, nature and culture.
Life Below Zero (BBC Worldwide)
Life Below Zero follows the lives of rugged individuals living subsistence lifestyles in remote areas of Alaska as they brave the frigid winter temperatures and the ensuing spring breakup. Each day brings snow and falling temperatures, forcing even the most seasoned bush dwellers to prepare before the land freezes around them. With resources dwindling and daylight fading, they must risk it all to defend their chosen life in the wilds of the Alaskan bush.
StarTalk (Curved Light Productions and National Geographic Studios)
National Geographic's three-time Emmy-nominated series StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson (#StarTalkTV) returns this fall with 20 all-new episodes. StarTalk - the hourlong, weekly science-driven talk show series - derives from Tyson's popular podcast of the same name. Each television episode features an intimate interview between Tyson and a guest hewn from pop culture, politics or news, discussing how science and technology have affected their lives and careers.
Wicked Tuna and Wicked Tuna Outer Banks (Pilgrim Media Group)
National Geographic's hit series Wicked Tuna is back with an all-new season of drama on the high seas. Follow a group of salty commercial fishermen from the nation's oldest seaport, Gloucester, Massachusetts, as they make their living through rod-and-reel fishing in pursuit of the bluefin tuna. And later this year, the popular spinoff Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks returns. Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks follows the action as the top captains in Gloucester travel south to catch bluefin in the dangerous waters off the coast of North Carolina. In addition to the unpredictable, treacherous conditions, the Gloucester captains will have to contend with competition from experienced locals who will stop at nothing to beat them to the catch.
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About National Geographic Partners LLC:
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic's media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children's media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers ... and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter , Instagram, YouTube , LinkedIn and Pinterest.