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.
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel is entering the scripted series arena with Act Of Valor, a drama from Relativity and Tandem Communications inspired by Relativity’s successful 2012 Navy SEAL feature. The project, which also marks Relativity’s first scripted series, will begin production in early 2014. Written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers), Act Of Valor the series focuses on pararescuemen, also known as PJs, who are the unsung heroes tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is expected to address the project in his MIPCOM Media Mastermind Keynote in Cannes on Tuesday. “Relativity’s unique model allows us to successfully transform a film such as Act Of Valor into a highly engaging television series,” he said. “We could not ask for a better home for the series than National Geographic Channel.” This marks the second Relativity movie to spawn a series, following the 2010 documentary Catfish, which led to MTV’s successful reality series of the same name.
Discovery Channel raced this morning to announce it would document the raising of the Costa Concordia, and get it on the air lickety split — this Friday at 10 PM ET. As Discovery put out the word, engineers in Giglio, Italy, on Monday had begun raising the cruise ship that ran aground nearly two years ago during what was supposed to be a weeklong Mediterranean cruise, killing 32 of its 4,229 passengers and crew members. Discovery learned the hard way last year the price of delay when it comes to cruise-ship disaster docus, after getting bloodied in a major battle with National Geographic Channel.
Back in January 2012, just days after the cruise ship ran aground off the Tuscan island, Discovery Channel had announced it would “dissect the anatomy” of the Friday the 13th disaster — with the quiet confidence of a network long used to being the only game in town — and said the docu would air “this spring.” But on the same day an Italian court refused to lift the house arrest order for the ship’s captain, Discovery nemesis National Geographic Channel attacked, announcing it had hired the producers of the quick-turnaround British documentary Terror At Sea: The Sinking Of The Concordia — which had already aired on the UK’s Channel 4 — to rework it for this market, rename it Italian Cruise Ship Disaster: The Untold Stories, and slap it on the air that Sunday, beating Discovery’s Cruise Ship Disaster: Inside The Concordia by a week. “Just announced! National Geographic Channel to air first U.S. documentary detailing the Italian cruise ship disaster moment-by-moment,” NatGeo bragged back then.
National Geographic Channel chose today — which would have been the diamond wedding anniversary of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and John Fitzgerald Kennedy — to announce the premiere date for its JFK assassination movie. Anyone else creeped out by that? Anyway, Killing Kennedy, based on the book of same name by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, will premiere on Sunday, November 10. It’s timed to the 50th anniversary of the assassination. Killing Kennedy will be released globally in 171 countries, in 48 languages. NatGeo’s first original feature, Killing Lincoln, premiered in February to a crowd of 3.4 million, which made it the most-watched program in the network’s history. Killing Lincoln also was based on a book of same name also by O’Reilly and Dugard. (Watch an exclusive clip from Killing Kennedy after the jump.)
UPDATED: National Geographic Channel is committed to live extreme-event programming. To that end, Nat Geo announced two such projects this morning on the first day of the TCA Summer TV Press Tour. Bob Ballard, aka “the guy who found the Titanic,” will make a dive into an underwater volcano off the coast of Granada. The volcano is so treacherous — a “ticking time bomb,” NatGeo calls it — that no ships are allowed within 10 miles of it, said National Geographic Channels CEO David Lyle. The live dive, Volcano Dive: Live will be telecast Sunday, November 17 and will cap Nat Geo’s celebration of the National Geographic Society’s 125th anniversary.
Additionally, rock climber Alex Honnold will climb one of the world’s highest skyscrapers, without a safety line, this fall, the network also announced. The news comes on the heels of Discovery’s recent special in which Nick Wallenda crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge. NatGeo will cover Honnold — a rock star in rock climbing circles — live on his ascent of some, as yet unknown, really tall building. That announcement:
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 …
National Geographic Channel has upped Heather Moran to exec VP programming and strategy for Nat Geo Channel U.S. At the same time, Brad Dancer has been upped to SVP program planning and research for the networks. In her new gig, Moran will oversee the network’s programming, strategy, and content, as well as development and production. (Moran had been SVP of global programming and strategic development, responsible for developing programming and sked strategies for NGC, National Geographic Channels International, and Nat Geo Wild.)
Dancer — one of NGC’s first 10 employees at its May 2000 launch — will now oversee distribution of NGC and Wild content across linear and non-linear platforms; he’ll also oversee day-to-day scheduling and long-term schedule planning at both networks, and will continue to manage all consumer research. (Before the promotion, as SVP of audience and business development, Dancer headed up all areas of research in support of the network’s program development and strategy, scheduling, ad sales, consumer and promotion. He was also the guy who oversaw all “non-linear” revenue sources for the channel: games, apps, music, merchandising, digital distribution, etc. Here’s the announcement:
National Geographic announced this morning it will telecast The Secret Life Of Predators on both National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild on Friday, September 20 and Friday, September 27. The programming will air as part of its Night of Exploration programming block, with naturalist Boone Smith hosting. Nat Geo’s announcement:
(WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 1, 2013) — National Geographic Channel (NGC) CEO David Lyle today announced the channel’s next sweeping natural history event: The Secret Life of Predators. From the networks that brought viewers Untamed Americas and Great Migrations, this four-part blue-chip event from National Geographic Television will be simulcast on both National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD on Friday, September 20 and Friday, September 27 during the “Night of Exploration.” Naturalist and big cat tracker Boone Smith is the host.
National Geographic Channel, which is coming off posting a record-setting first quarter and its highest-rated new series premiere with Brain Games, is rolling out a large-scale consumer brand campaign, …
Hoping to piggyback on the success of National Geographic Channel‘s take on Bill O’Reilly’s best-seller Killing Lincoln, the network is again partnering with Ridley Scott and O’Reilly on Killing Jesus: A History, O’Reilly’s recently announced book that he co-authored with Martin Dugard. The book will be published by Henry Holt and Company on September 24. Today’s announcement comes as the network is in pre-production on O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy: The End Of Camelot expected to air worldwide on Nat Geo Channels later this year. “I am thrilled to once again be partnering with National Geographic Channels and Scott Free Productions on my next book,” said O’Reilly. “Jesus is the most famous person that has ever lived — and is worshipped today by more than 2.2 billion people”. Killing Jesus tells the story of Jesus of Nazareth as a beloved and controversial young revolutionary brutally killed by Roman soldiers and recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable and the changes that his life brought upon the world for the centuries to follow. “O’Reilly has proven with Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy that the public is fascinated with the tragic tales of these renowned historical figures, and this is one of the most dramatic stories ever told. We are privileged to once again work with National Geographic Channel to bring Bill’s vision to the screen,” said Scott. Production is set to begin this fall. Click over to read today’s release.