Upfronts 2015: Nat Geo Partners With Ron Howard, Brian Grazer on Science Anthology

Renews ‘Star Talk,’ plans two miniseries

National Geographic Channel has partnered with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer on a science anthology series named Breakthrough, which will tell stories behind some of the top scientific breakthroughs in our history.

The series, which will be presented along with General Electric, will be executive produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch and Mark Dowley. Each hourlong episode will be directed by a well-known Hollywood talent; Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brett Ratner have signed on for the first six episodes.

Nat Geo is also expanding its scripted output with its first miniseries, Saints & Strangers. From Bosch cocreator Eric Overmyer, the four-hour mini tells the story behind the founding of America, chronicling the trials and tribulations of the 101 men, women and children who boarded the Mayflower.

Nat Geo has set another miniseries, History of the World… For Now, which comes from the writers of HBO’s Silicon Valley. The four-hour stop-motion animated series will feature original sketches and hilarious storytelling from some of the top Hollywood comedians.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s upcoming late night talker Star Talk, which debuts on the channel Monday, April 20, has already been picked up for a second season. After its spring run, Star Talk will return in the fall with 10 new episodes.

Explorer, the longest running docuseries on cable television, will return to the network with 12 new episodes.

Sister network Nat Geo WILD also unveiled its upfront slate. The lineup includes new series Vet School and Animal Storm Squad, events “Big Cat Week,” “Barkfest II” and “Sharkfest” and specials Wild YellowstoneWild Sri LankaWild AtlanticWild South AfricaWings of LifeDeep Blue and Oceans. Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon and Pierce Brosnan narrate the last three specials, respectively.