NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S FURTHER FRONT DAZZLED WITH A STAR-STUDDED EVENING OF VISUAL STORYTELLING TO TAKE VIEWERS AND ADVERTISERS FURTHER
Network Announces 2017-2018 Upfront Slate of Premium Content with Best-in-Class Creative Partners and Talent, Including Morgan Freeman, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Johnny Flynn, Jane Lynch, Jason Ritter, Kate Bosworth, Jeremy Sisto, Michael Kelly, Martha Raddatz And Harvey Weinstein NASA Astronauts Chris Hadfield, Nicole Stott, Mike Massimino and Leland Melvin and Top National Geographic Photographers, Explorers, Adventurers And Authors Also Part of Presentation KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS INCLUDE: New Series Race (w.t.); New Series The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman; New Untitled Docu-Series with Katie Couric; Genius Season Two Official Greenlight; 20-Episode Season Orders for Explorer and StarTalk; New Further Community Digital Initiative
(WASHINGTON, D.C., and NEW YORK, N.Y. - April 19, 2017) Overlooking Central Park and Columbus Circle at the Jazz at Lincoln Center, National Geographic hosted an evening of storytelling to take you further. The upfront presentation - subtly titled our FURTHER Front to reflect not only the brand's new mindset but also the desire to take our partners further - showcased exciting new and returning series, specials and events plus offerings from the entire National Geographic portfolio throughout the 2017-2018 Upfront season. National Geographic touted its aggressive slate of premium content with the best creative producers and talent in the industry.
21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch delivered the opening remarks: "We at 21st Century Fox are passionate about National Geographic and our commitment to driving the brand's mission." He continued, "In our industry, we are all in the business of ideas and storytelling. We believe Nat Geo's distinction in the media landscape of storytellers is that its stories are driven by purpose. Fueled by the authenticity and excellence of our partners - photographers and explorers who work tirelessly to challenge our perspectives - Nat Geo inspires and connects people, and opens our eyes wide to science and the natural world."
National Geographic Partners Executive Vice President of National Sales & Partnerships Brendan Ripp illustrated the unique ways brands can engage with National Geographic's unparalleled global audience across its media portfolio. National Geographic Partners Chief Marketing Officer Jill Cress stressed the key shift for National Geographic: looking to tell stories in a relevant and accessible way from the human angle and bringing the brand closer to its readers, users and viewers. National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe announced the networks' 2017-2018 Upfront slate, which features bold and distinctive global programming that solidifies the network as a premier destination for science, adventure and exploration content. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com or our press site www.natgeotvpressroom.com, or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.
Creatives and talent who were part of the presentation included: The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman executive producer and host Morgan Freeman and executive producer Lori McCreary (Revelations); The Long Road Home executive producers and cast Martha Raddatz, Mike Medavoy, Kate Bosworth, Jeremy Sisto, Jason Ritter and Michael Kelly; Genius and MARS executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard; Genius cast Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Johnny Flynn; "Untitled Jane Goodall Project executive producer, writer and director Brett Morgen; Earth Live host Jane Lynch; One Strange Rock executive producers Darren Aronofsky (via taped message), Ari Handel (Protozoa) and Jane Root (Nutopia); Dr. Robert Ballard (National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence); Bertie Gregory (National Geographic photographer); Boone Smith (Nat Geo WILD personality, Big Cat Week,); Erika Bergman (National Geographic Young Explorer); Claudia Kalb (author, "Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Greatest Personalities" and Genius feature story in National Geographic Magazine); Filipe DeAndrade (Nat Geo WILD personality, Untamed with Filipe DeAndrade); Garrett Oliver (author, "The Brewmaster's Table," and editor-in-chief, "The Oxford Companion to Beer"); and Race (wt) executive producer Harvey Weinstein (The Weinstein Company). They were also joined by NASA astronauts Chris Hadfield, Nicole Stott, Mike Massimino and Leland Melvin and Nat Geo photographers Aaron Huey, David Guttenfelder, Erika Larsen, Amy Toensing, Renan Ozturk, Steve Winter and Paul Nicklen.
"National Geographic Partners is building accelerating momentum as we continue to innovate at the forefront of the storytelling frontier - from scripted to live, social leadership to 360-degree experiences, we are doubling down on delivering stories that matter, stories that growing millions of consumers are connecting with across devices and platforms," said Declan Moore, CEO, National Geographic Partners. "We've strengthened our brand definition of storytelling in the premium space, and we're relentlessly looking for new ways to connect with consumers."
"With our shift to big, bold, premium programming, National Geographic has now become a port-of-call for the world's best storytellers as evidenced by the creative talent behind our upfront slate," said Monroe. "They share our relentless passion for telling stories that break through and matter and our firm belief that entertaining and smart are not mutually exclusive."
"We are distinguishing National Geographic in the marketplace by solidifying our standing as a premier media company with the authenticity and purpose to reach and connect with our broad audience," said Ripp. "We are telling stories from a human angle that will help tap into passion, drive, curiosity and innovation, bringing us closer to our readers, users and viewers - and allowing for deeper partnership experiences."
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.
Reaching over 730 million people around the world in 171 countries and 45 languages every month, National Geographic has over 315 million fans/followers globally, making the media company the No. 1 brand for social engagement with more than 1.6 billion actions. National Geographic global social stats include over 156 million fans on Facebook, over 80 million followers on Instagram, over 21 million followers on Twitter, over 6 million subscribers on YouTube and 18 million viewers per month on Snapchat.
In addition to the new programming slate, Grazer and Howard announced the official season two order for the anthology series Genius, with the genius to be unveiled in the season one finale June 20. And it was also announced that showrunner Dee Johnson ("Nashville," "ER") has been tapped to produce the sophomore season of MARS.
Finally, National Geographic unveiled an ambitious new digital initiative, the Further Community, to advance the brand's pivotal role in science and exploration by partnering with a new cast of influencers - including the brand's passionate fan communities - to create original stories around travel, culture, science, innovation and wildlife. The combined social following of the first wave of influencers - which includes explorers and photojournalists Cory Richards (1 MM followers), David Guttenfelder (1.1 MM followers) and Ami Vitale (650 K followers), among others - and publishing partners - theSkimm (5.5 MM followers), Atlas Obscura (1.1 MM followers) and Mashable (16.5 MM followers) - will expand the Further Community's reach to millions of new, highly engaged social audiences and provide enhanced marketing channels for advertisers.
The 2017-20178 Upfront Slate Includes:
(Please note: All are working titles and subject to change.)
NEW UNSCRIPTED SERIES
Race (The Weinstein Company)
The stakes have never been higher. Today, America stands at a crossroads. As the recent presidential election made abundantly clear, race is the most pressing issue facing our nation. But just as it threatens to pull our country apart, it also continues to bind many of us together. At the moment when strong voices are most needed, this series delivers a groundbreaking premium documentary series to reach a global audience.
Katie Couric Project (untitled) (National Geographic Studios and Katie Couric Media)
National Geographic Studios and award-winning journalist Katie Couric are teaming up for a new six-part documentary series. Inspired by her own personal journey of making the documentary Gender Revolution for Nat Geo, Couric dives headfirst into some of the most taboo, political and contentious topics shaping our world today. She's on a journey across America to highlight humanity and inspire conversation around the complexities of religion, mental health, sexuality, money and additional relevant issues. If it's hard to talk about, it's on the table.
The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman (Revelations Entertainment)
The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman uncovers the fundamental forces that keep our societies together and reveals the common humanity that lies inside each one of us. Morgan Freeman goes on a global journal to meet people from all cultures whose lives are shaped in surprising ways by different fundamental primal forces - from love, belief and power to war and peace, rebellion and freedom.
American High School (All3 Media International America)
Filmed throughout the course of one year at a majority African-American high school in South Carolina, this series follows students as they prepare for the next step in life. From Friday night football games to dates at the diner, senior prom and graduation, this series captures life-changing moments in these teenagers' journeys to adulthood. American High School depicts high school as you've never seen it before, with unique insight into how it really feels to be young and black in America today.
One Strange Rock (Nutopia and Protozoa Pictures)
National Geographic Channel and filmmaker Darren Aronofsky join forces on an epic, cinematic event series, One Strange Rock, a mind-bending thrilling journey that explores the fragility and wonder of planet Earth, one of the strangest, most unique places in the entire universe. This 10-part series boasts 100 weeks of filming around the world and from outer space, using innovative micro- and macro-photography technology to bring cameras where they've never been before.
Chain of Command (National Geographic Studios)
In this new eight-part documentary series, Chain of Command records the global fight against extremism in every corner of the world as it unfolds over one full year. With groundbreaking and unprecedented access granted by the Pentagon, cameras witness in real time the global fight. This series captures Gen. Joe Dunford and the Joint Chiefs of Staff creating policy that implements strategy and is then executed on the front lines of the battlefield.
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist (Tigress Productions)
From Academy Award-winning executive producer James Marsh ("Man on Wire," "Project Nim") and Tigress Productions, part of Endemol Shine Group, the three-part special Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist will honor the life and groundbreaking legacy of gorilla researcher Dian Fossey. Sigourney Weaver, nominated for an Academy Award and winner of the Golden Globe for her portrayal of Fossey in the 1988 film "Gorillas in the Mist," will narrate. With exclusive access to over 40 hours of rare and previously unseen film footage of Fossey and her pioneering research with gorillas, the series will reveal new insights into her life and work.
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
The Long Road Home (Fuzzy Door Productions)
The Long Road Home relives a heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad - a day that came to be known in military annals as "Black Sunday." The event series cuts between the action on the ground in Iraq and that of the home front back in Texas, where wives and families await news for 48 hellish hours, expecting the worst. The incident, which took place 11 months after President George W. Bush's famous "Mission Accomplished" speech, changed the American military's view of Iraq from a peacekeeping mission to a fight against domestic insurgents.
Okavango (National Geographic Society)
Like a beating heart, the flow of the Okavango River pumps life into southern Africa. The annual great flood carries water from the distant highlands of Angola, through Namibia and into the Okavango Delta, bringing a migration of Africa's most iconic species along with it. However, this untouched water is under siege from increasing pressures put on it by human activity to its north. Okavango takes an intimate look at a group of individuals who are taking the very pulse of Africa's last remaining wetland wilderness. Follow National Geographic Explorer Steve Boyes as he leads a 1,500-mile expedition, tracing the water in Botswana's Okavango Delta from its source in the Angolan highlands in hopes to get an understanding of the state of health of the river - and of what we can do to protect this pristine wilderness for future generations.
Princess Diana: The Lost Tapes (1895 Films)
Princess Diana lived her life in front of the cameras. Now, on the 20th anniversary of her untimely death in 1997, revisit her emotional journey from childhood through her rocky marriage to Prince Charles and subsequent emergence as the popular "People's Princess." From Peabody award-winning producer Tom Jennings, this touching tribute relies solely on archival footage and recordings to explore her profound impact on the world and on the future of Britain's monarchy.
Jane (National Geographic Studios & Public Road Productions)
Brett Morgen, "the leading revolutionary of American documentary film," according to the Wall Street Journal, will direct, produce and write the untitled feature biopic about the world's most beloved primatologist - Dr. Jane Goodall. Known for the Emmy-nominated documentary "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck" and the Academy Award-nominated movie "On the Ropes," the visionary director will draw on recently re-discovered archive film from Dr. Goodall's early research at Gombe National Park in Tanzania during the 1960s. More than 250 hours of 16 mm film have been uncovered to create a compelling and intimate story about how revolutionary research turned this maverick into one of the legends of modern science.
Genius Season 2 (Imagine Entertainment, OddLot Entertainment, Fox 21 Television Studios)
Season one of the scripted anthology series Genius focused on the life of the 20th century icon Albert Einstein. The global event series explores both the brilliant scientist's professional achievements and the complex untold narrative of his personal life. And now, the global anthology series has been officially renewed for a second season, with the season two genius set to be unveiled in the season one finale on June 20.
MARS Season 2 (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. In season two, we return to Mars years later, after the astronauts have established a full-fledged colony. But by this point, the International Mars Science Foundation - a multi-government-sponsored space agency - cannot continue to solely finance the Mars expedition, so the doors of opportunity have swung wide open to the private sector. Tensions rise among original mission-driven scientists and miners sent by a for-profit corporation. Throughout six intriguing episodes, MARS examines the impact that humans have on the Red Planet - and the impact it has on us. 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.
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. In 2016, EXPLORER returned as a weekly series in a newly reimagined format, mixing intrepid field pieces, roundtable discussions 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 Season 5 (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 Season 3 (Curved Light Productions and National Geographic Studios)
Unscripted - Previously Announced
National Geographic's two-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. The new season will include "Hidden Figures" star Janelle Monae and director Ted Melfi, cyclist Lance Armstrong, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and conservationist Fabien Cousteau.
Wicked Tuna & Wicked Tuna Outer Banks (Pilgrim Media Group)
National Geographic Channels' hit series Wicked Tuna is back with an all-new season of drama on the high seas. The series follows 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. One catch can bring in as much as $20,000, and with that much money on the line, every captain is fighting to be the best in the fleet. The captains will battle the bluefin, the elements and each other, and at the end of the season, one boat will come out on top. And later this year, the popular spinoff Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks will return. Now entering its fourth season, 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.
# # #
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 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers ... and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 171 countries and 45 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, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.