The week that was… - Broadcasting & Cable

The week that was…

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With the message “shedding new light,” National Geographic Channel made the rounds with the press last week to say it will introduce a 2007-08 slate of more than 300 hours of programming on the science, nature, technology and contemporary issues that have proved popular with viewers.

National Geographic, a joint venture of Fox Network Group (two-thirds owner) and National Geographic Ventures, grew its total audience 46% during prime in February to an average 410,000 viewers.

Says Nat Geo President Laureen Ong, “We're very clearly going deep into the brand, giving people the information and authenticity they want.”

New specials include Incredible Human Machine, a CGI tour of the human body; Human Footprint, anexamination of one human's average consumption and its effect on the world; and Impossible Planet: Earth, the birth-to-the-future story of earth.

NBC Universal's Sci Fi, meanwhile, trotted out top talent for a Wednesday-night media party in New York's trendy meatpacking district (selected advertisers were already treated to lunches at Gordon Ramsay's At the London). Alan Cumming, Zooey Deschanel and a bunch of costumed superheroes mingled with attendees, who were treated to a clip reel and brief words from USA/Sci Fi President Bonnie Hammer and Sci Fi Executive VP/General Manager Dave Howe.

Sci Fi, up 9% in viewers 18-49 to 264,000 in February, picked up the back nine episodes of the fourth season of fan favorite Battlestar Galactica (no word on a fifth season). The network picked up a six-part new series with British mentalist Derren Brown and a fourth season of reality show Ghost Hunters. Also announced: a script-development deal with Kiefer Sutherland's East Side Entertainment for a series called Phenomenon.

On Friday, TV Land drew about 900 advertisers and press to Lincoln Center with an upfront show including an appearance by President Bill Clinton. The network drove home its mission to target Baby Boomers, announcing several new originals, the acquisition of Scrubs and Just Shoot Me, and a pro-social initiative called “Cause Change.”

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