Howard Owens will step down as President of National Geographic Channels U.S. in June after two and a half years on the job. “Our President and my friend Howard Owens is moving on – flying out the window of National Geographic and into the free world of independent production,” National Geographic Channels U.S. CEO David Lyle said this morning in a memo to staff informing them of the move (Full memo after the jump). Owens joined the channel in late 2011, replacing Steve Schiffman. He launched such series as Wicked Tuna, Brain Games, Ultimate Survival Alaska, Life Below Zero, The Legend Of Mick Dodge and Inside Combat Rescue. He also introduced scripted programming to the channel with the highly rated Killing franchise: Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and the upcoming Killing Jesus, as well as event programming with SEAL Team Six and The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us to NGC. Owens also served as president at Nat Geo WILD, shepherding such series as The Incredible Dr. Pol and Cesar 911. “We have truly benefited from Howard’s zeal for bringing audiences innovative programming that underscores the uniqueness and depth of the National Geographic Channels brand,” said Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. “From a creative and programming perspective, Howard’s work consistently broke new ground, and National Geographic Channels are uniquely positioned for the future as a result of his efforts.”
Prior to joining National Geographic Channels, Owens was a longtime executive at Reveille. “As I get ready for my next adventure I can’t help but reflect on what has been an incredible experience for me, both personally and professionally,” he said. “National Geographic Channels have some of the brightest minds in the television business, and I’m proud of the work we have accomplished together — specifically in defining the National Geographic Channels as a destination for innovative, original and brand-defining creativity.” Here is Lyle’s memo to staff:
Read More »
Rob Lowe, who stars as President John F. Kennedy in National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, says he’s not off-put by the fact that it’s based on a book by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly. “I didn’t think about it all, because the book had come out and been so successful,” Lowe, who dabbled in politics, on the Dem side, in the past, said this morning at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Anyone working in show business today is looking to get a big on a project with “an advantage”, Lowe explained, and “the book’s a massive best-seller.” “Five million books in the last year”, NatGeo Channels president Howard Owens jumped in during the Q&A session. “And when you read the book it’s nothing if not very straightforward about the facts of the story,” Lowe said.
A TV critic wondered if the panel worried this project would be boycotted like efforts to boycott Ender’s Game, based on the book by controversial author and anti-gay advocate Orson Scott Card. Not sure why critics thought that was a possibility, given the big ratings NatGeo did not so long ago with O’Reilly’s other book, Killing Lincoln. Anyway, Killing Kennedy screenwriter Kelly Masterson said not, because while he has “a different political position” than does O’Reilly, he was “happy to learn I had an awful lot in common” with the Fox … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel has greenlit a docu-drama series American Genius from the producers of The Men Who Built America and Sons of Liberty. This time, Stephen David Entertainment will spotlight Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Graham Bell, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, among others. “In an era where America is not always credited as leading ingenuity, this show will remind us that this country has always been a global hotbed for genius, and we will celebrate the way they changed the world we live in,” NatGeo Channel president Howard T. Owens explained. NGC is billing the multi-part series as the natural extension of its series Brain Games, which sizes up the human brain using an intricate string of experiments, optical illusions, brainteasers and hard science, and The Numbers Game, which looks at how science and statistics may hold the keys to a longer, wealthier, calmer life. Both Brain Games, which NGC says is its highest rated series to date, and The Numbers Game are in a second season of production.
“American Genius looks at those who mentally put the pedal to the metal,” said David. “These are stories of beautiful, hyper-creative mad minds. We may think we know them because our country, and the world, still reaps the benefits of their extraordinary thinking, but our goal is to go way behind IQ, and way beyond the known eccentricity.”
SDE’s docu-dramas weave narration, re-enactment, and talking heads. What distinguishes … Read More »