Less than a year after Tim Pastore joined National Geographic Studios, the production arm of the National Geographic Society, the veteran producer is moving to the National Geographic Channel as President of Original Programming & Production. Pastore’s hire completes the overhaul at the top of the National Geographic Channel, which started in April when CEO David Lyle and president Howard Owens stepped down, and the network’s head of marketing, Courteney Monroe, was upped to CEO, with David Hill, Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox and a member of the National Geographic Channels Board of Directors, regaining oversight as Chairman of National Geographic Channels U.S. Pastore, who will oversee development, production and production management, fills the void left by the departure of Owens as the network’s top programming executive. Working closely with Pastore will be Heather Moran, EVP, Programming & Strategy, who will continue to manage the network’s production team, and Alan Eyres, SVP, Programming & Development, who will continue to spearhead the development team. Both of them will now report to Pastore. (Geoff Daniels remains EVP and General Manager for Nat Geo WILD, reporting to Monroe.)
Eat, drink and watch NatGeo. The channel unveiled a pair of new travelogue-type series today that revolve around serious ingestion: Eric Greenspan Is Hungry and Chug. Eric Greenspan follows the titular chef and his gastronome pal Captain Mauzner as they travel the traverse the country looking for meaty ideas for the former’s LA restaurants. Set to premiere in November, the series from Relativity Television will see the hosts chow down on meats ranging from your everyday pig and cow to bison, deer, goat and “other” — talking with and coaxing recipes from the folks who farm, raise, nurture, hunt and butcher livestock. The Kickstarter-funded Chug sees “drinkaloguer” Zane Lamprey visit “an array of exotic and boozy locations” from Australia to Kuala Lumpur, interacting with the locals and merrily imbibing. The title refers not to the downing of beer — or at least not only that — but rather the host’s mode of transportation: trains. It also will look at how drinking traditions affect modern drinking habits. The show from Inzane Entertainment is set to debut in the fall.
National Geographic Channel announced this afternoon it will re-trace the day before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon — what it calls “the last day of innocence” — in a two-hour documentary premiering Sunday, September 7, called 9/10: The Final Hours.
Here is NatGeo’s announcement, setting up the premise:
Few images in history are as seared in America’s consciousness as that of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001. In the days, months and even years following the attack, the horrific events of that day and the aftermath have been relived through the media — so much so that it’s hard to remember a time before Sept. 11.
Premiering Sunday, Sept. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 9/10: The Final Hours takes us moment by moment through the day before everything changed, before the “war on terror” became a part of the world’s everyday vernacular. We’ll hear from those who worked inside the World Trade Center, whose snap decisions resulted in narrow misses of the attack, as well as men and women who confronted the terrorist mastermind of the operation, Mohamed Atta, during his sudden — and still unexplained — detour to Portland, Maine.
We also see the World Trade Center from another unique perspective, that of the artists who lived and worked on the 91st and 92nd floors of the North Tower. This combination of perspective brings this last day of innocence into new — and
NatGeo Renews ‘Wicked Tuna’ For 4th Season, Sets August 17 Start Date For Spinoff ‘Wicked Tuna: North Vs. South’ (Video)
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel has ordered a fourth season on its tuna fisherman reality docu series Wicked Tuna. Produced by Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, the series wrapped its third season in June as the highest rated in the network’s history with a 0.7 rating in adults 25-52 across 16 premiere episodes; the program also logged an average of more than 1.1 million viewers. The new season of Wicked Tuna is expected to premiere worldwide in 2015; the program is seen in 170 countries and 45 languages.
Additionally, the network has set an August 17 10 PM ET/PT start date for its spinoff, Wicked Tuna North Vs. South. (Watch the exclusive trailer below.) It’s really the second Wicked Tuna spinoff, the show already having spawned the network’s first live talk show Reel Talk Live.
National Geographic Channel released the names of six people who had “unanticipated brushes with fame” in the 1990s, and will participate in the network’s upcoming documentary The 90′s: The Last Great Decade? Among them: Monica Lewinsky, whose “unanticipated” brush with fame involves having an affair with the President of the United States, spilling the beans, saving the dress, and being stunned by the reax in Washington and in the media. Lewinsky is best known these days as the media victim who “stalks her past, yanking us back to when she flashed her black thong,” as Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times back in 2002, when Lewinsky came to the TV Press Tour after successfully pitching to HBO a documentary about herself, for which she reportedly was paid $150,000. In today’s announcement, NatGeo is happy to play along with Lewinsky’s carefully crafted storyline, calling her the “White House intern whose relationship with Bill Clinton led to her becoming a legal target in an investigation and a media target like the world had never seen before.”
This year, Lewinsky re-emerged, having penned a piece about her victimhood — regrets the affair, dreads a Hillary Clinton run in 2016 because the paparazzi are sure to stalk her, etc. – for Vanity Fair. The left thinks the piece was orchestrated by the right, to embarrass presumed presidential candidate Clinton, but Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne, has told Fox News Channel she believes it was orchestrated by Hillary’s camp to get it out of the way now.
Other newly named docu participants joining Lewinsky in the newly released Unanticipated Brushes With Fame-rs list include:
UPDATE: NatGeo Adjusting Upcoming Episode Of ‘Alaska State Troopers’ After Pair Killed In Confrontation
UPDATED: National Geographic Channel is working on an add to Thursday’s episode of Alaska State Troopers to pay tribute to the two troopers killed this week in a confrontation in a remote Alaska village. Sgt. Patrick Johnson and Trooper Gabriel Rich, who have been featured in the show in the past, were not with a film crew when they were killed, a network rep said. The two men, who were among an ensemble of troopers who participated in the series, had not been scheduled to appear in future episodes. Alaska State Troopers had returned to the network on April 10 for its sixth season. A NatGeo rep says the network is going through its schedule of franchise repeats to pull episodes that featured the two men, out of respect for their families.
“National Geographic Channel is incredibly saddened to learn of the loss of two Alaska State Troopers yesterday in the village of Tanana, Alaska,” the channel said in a statement. “We have a long and proud association with the troopers, and consider them a member of our extended channel family. We send our deepest condolences to their families and the entire Alaska State Trooper force”.
National Geographic Channel is expanding its East Coast development team, adding Nicole Reed as VP development and Igal Svet director, development. In addition, Naimah Holmes is relocating to New York as director, development, Heather Moran, EVP programming and strategy said today. Reed and Svet will report to Charlie Parsons, head of East Coast development, based in Washington, D.C.; while Holmes will report to Reed. They will be responsible for the development and the greenlight of new series and specials for the network, as well as building relationships with East Coast- and UK-based production companies. Reed joins Nat Geo Channel from A&E where she served as director, nonfiction and alternative programmings. She most recently developed and served as exec producer on upcoming series The Herbert Brothers and Big Smo (w.t.) and three seasons of A&E’s original series Barter Kings. Svet most recently served as VP development at 2C Media, a Miami-based production company behind Travel Channel’s Airport 24/7: Miami and Animal Planet’s Swamp Wars. Svet also produced cable network series including including truTV’s Full Throttle Saloon, History’s Top Gear and Lifetime’s Love Handles.
In a move that Fox Networks Group says complements its previously announced restructuring of its business and legal affairs team, it has named Clara Kim EVP Business and Legal Affairs for National Geographic Channels and National Geographic Channels International. She will be based in Nat Geo’s Washington DC offices and will report to FNG EVP and General Counsel Rita Tuzon. In the newly created position, Kim will work with Courteney Monroe, newly-upped CEO of National Geographic Channels U.S., and Ward Platt, CEO of National Geographic Channels International and COO of Fox International Channels and will be responsible for business and legal affairs pertaining to National Geographic Channels’ domestic and international businesses. Kim will oversee a business and legal affairs group charged with negotiating programming, development, acquisition and production agreements for both the U.S. and international channels and also will be responsible for the business and legal aspects of U.S. channel operations and ancillary businesses.
Kim’s appointment comes on the heels of the news last week that Howard Owens would be stepping down as President of National Geographic Channels U.S. in June, the exit of David Lyle as CEO of Nat Geo Channels, and the upping of Monroe to CEO.
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel wants to stay in business with Rob Lowe. After starring as President John F. Kennedy in last year’s Killing Kennedy and narrating The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us last spring, NGC has signed Lowe to narrate the sequel. The ’90s: The Last Great Decade? will premiere over three nights in July on NGC in the U.S., followed globally in 171 countries and on Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo “I’m excited to be back working with the team at National Geographic Channel, who continue to show their commitment to creating great, entertaining and thought-provoking television programming,” said Lowe. “No one has really examined the ’90s like this before, and I think viewers will be fascinated by the dramatic changes we’ve seen in even the small amount of time that’s passed since Y2K.”
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:
Coming off its most-watched year in network history, the National Geographic Channel today unveiled its 2014-2015 slate of six new and ten returning series along with five events/specials, including the four-hour Killing Jesus mini, at its upfront presentation. The new series include Crowd Control, a hidden camera show featuring innovative and fun experiments that test and curate social behavior; You Can’t Lick Your Elbow, which teaches surprising body hacks like how to hold your breath for four minutes, hosted by NFL Today analyst Tony Gonzalez; Cabin Fever with Nate Heim and his timber-loving team who make childhood dreams come true in the form of rustic hideaways and massive mountaintop mansions; Meat Heads hosted by LA chef Eric Greenspon who travels the U.S. in search of the most mouthwatering, meatiest recipes around; The Primitives, featuring individuals and families who are turning back the clock a few hundred years and living the old-fashioned way; and Remote Survival, a new twist on the survival format that tests the tenacity and techniques of individuals dropped in the middle of nowhere. Returning series include Wicked Tuna, The Legend of Mick Dodge, Ultimate Survival Alaska, Drugs, Inc., Alaska State Troopers, Life Below Zero and Building Wild.
Sibling Nat Geo Wild’s 2014-2015 upfront slate includes new series Pond Stars and Dr. K: Exotic Pet Vet (wt); the return of its No. 1 show, The Incredible Dr. Pol, and newest veterinary face, Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet; and events Big Cat Week, Sharkfest and Dogs Rule! (wt). Here are descriptions of Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild’s new series:
EXCLUSIVE: After two very successful movies, National Geographic‘s Killing movie franchise is adding a miniseries. The third installment in the series, Killing Jesus, will be a four-hour mini. Law & Order veteran Walon Green has been tapped to write and executive produce the project, based on the book Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Nat Geo is expected to make the announcement at the network’s upfront presentation tomorrow in New York. Returning for Killing Jesus is the team behind the Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy movies: executive producers O’Reilly and Scott Free Productions’ Ridley Scott, David Zucker and Mary Lisio.
O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus, which chronicles the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, was published in September. Like the previous entries in Nat Geo’s Killing franchise, Killing Jesus will combine historical insights with dramatic storytelling. The mini is expected to begin production this summer for a 2015 premiere globally on National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages. For National Geographic Channels, exec producers are Howard T. Owens, Charlie Parsons and Teri Weinberg. Last year’s Killing Kennedy became the most-watched program in Nat Geo’s history and …
Fox and Nat GEO‘s reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos series is getting some White House lift-off. President Obama will be introducing the series premiere episode this Sunday, March 9 at 9pm ET/PT. A preview of the series screened at the White House as part of their inaugural White House Film Festival on Friday, February 28. Release is below:
Seth MacFarlane’s passion project will get an unprecedented global launch next month, but first it has a date in D.C. Fox and National Geographic Channel said today they will screen a preview of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Friday as part of the inaugural White House Film Festival. Writer-director-exec producer Ann Druyan will introduce the screening. The 13-part series, a sequel to Carl Sagan’s influential Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980), premieres March 9 on multiple Fox Network Group outlets then continues on subsequent Sundays on Fox on with expanded editions Mondays on Nat Geo. In other White House film fest news, the American Film Institute said today it will collaborate on the event, which screens winning short films created by K-12 students. President Obama will deliver the opening remarks Friday to a crowd of more than 100 students, teachers and parents in the East Room.
EXCLUSIVE: Act Of Valor, inspired by Relativity’s successful 2012 Navy SEAL feature, was announced in October as the network’s first scripted series. That is no longer the case. “NGC is unfortunately not moving forward with Act Of Valor in favor of other scripted projects we have under consideration that will be announced soon,” the network said in a statement to Deadline. I hear that at the time of the series green light, Nat Geo had a formal deal with Relativity and well as Studiocanal’s Tandem Communications, which was to act as the studio and handle international distribution. The Bandito Brothers, the creative team behind the feature who had partnered with Relativity in 2012 to develop a TV series inspired by the film, had a preliminary, handshake agreement but no deal in place. In the months following Nat Geo’s announcement, I hear it became clear the Bandito Brothers, Nat Geo and Relativity had different visions for what the series should be. Because of that, a deal with the Bandito Brothers could not be reached and the project was ultimately scrapped. Nat Geo made a successful entrance into scripted television with the feature SEAL Team Six, which became the network’s highest-rated program of 2012. It was followed by the highly rated Killing movie franchise.
EXCLUSIVE: In show business, many start as agents before segueing to a career in the executive ranks. J.C. Mills is taking the opposite route, joining ICM Partners‘ International Television and Media Department in New York today. He is expected to be focused on non-scripted but also cover other aspects of the international TV marketplace. Mills comes from National Geographic Channel where he spent the past two years as a development executive, shepherding unscripted pilots, specials and series and working with oversees producers on international formats. Before joining Nat Geo in January 2012, Mills was VP Acquisitions & Business Development, North America for Zodiak Rights and prior to that was a sales executive at Shine International in the UK. In the agenting ranks, Mills joins his wife, Ashley Davis Mills, who is a New York-based TV agent at rival CAA. Here’s the official release announcing his hire that ICM Partners just sent out:
Scott Free and Bill O’Reilly‘s Killing movies are becoming a formidable franchise for National Geographic Channel. Last night, the second installment in the series, Killing Kennedy, pulled 3.354 million viewers and 1.1 rating in adults 25-54. Killing Kennedy edged the first movie, Killing Lincoln (3.351 million), in total viewers to record NGC’s largest audience in history and tied Killing Lincoln‘s 1.1 25-45 rating, also an all-time record for the channel. In households, Killing Kennedy posted a 2.8 rating, second highest ever behind the documentary Inside 9/11. Additionally, NGC says that #killingkennedy was the No. 1 trending topic in the U.S. during the telecast, with the network’s website experiencing record traffic. “Killing Kennedy demonstrated once again that our constant efforts to expand the type of programming National Geographic Channel presents is paying off,” said NGC President Howard Owens. Killing Kennedy stars Rob Lowe (President Kennedy), Will Rothhaar (Lee Harvey Oswald), with Michelle Trachtenberg (Marina Oswald) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Jackie Kennedy). It was produced by Scott Free Prods and executive producer Ridley Scott, and based on the best-selling book by O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Production on the third film in the series, Killing Jesus, based on O’Reilly’s latest book, is set to begin in early 2014.