Upfronts 2012: Nat Geo Adds Five New Shows in Focus on Series
Under new exec team, net relying on big production talent for specials
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/26/2012 12:01:00 AM
New President Howard T. Owens, a former Reveille exec, outlined a strategy shift from one-off specials to male character-fronted series to up the entertainment quotient of Nat Geo's programming.
As such, the five new series joining Nat Geo are American Chainsaw, about a New England chainsaw sculptor; Bid & Destroy, which follows a demolition crew that searches for hidden treasure; Brain Games, spun-off from the net's three-part special last fall which explores the ways your brain fools you; Jersey Combat, about the world's largest military warehouse and the family that owns it; and the previously announced Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?, the net's first competition series.
NGC has also renewed seven existing series -- Alaska State Troopers, Border Wars, Hard Time, Locked Up Abroad, Rocket City Rednecks, Taboo, and Doomsday Preppers.
The new team is also looking to make their specials larger, tentpole events by tapping big-name production talent just as it is doing on the series side with Boy Scout, which is from Thom Beers' Original Productions, and Pilgrim Studios' upcoming Wicked Tuna.
"We're changing the way we do business in terms of communicating and working with the creative industry," Owens said. "I think our new slate reflects high entertainment value that's authentic and thoughtful and smart."
Headlining NGC's 10 specials for the 2012-13 season is James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge, where the Oscar-winning director travels to 6.8 miles beneath sea level to the deepest spot on earth, the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Other big names include producers include Ridley and Tony Scott on the historical thriller event Killing Lincoln, based on the best-selling book by Bill O'Reilly and The 80s: The Decade That Made Us from Nutopia, which looks at the years that gave us Starbucks, bottled water and Oprah, among many other staples of modern society.
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