Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, and Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, today completed the sweeping changes at the top of the National Geographic Channels that started yesterday with the announcement that the channels’ president Howard Owens will be leaving in June. “Today, the worst kept secret is over — I am taking my leave as CEO of National Geographic Channels,” David Lyle, who had served as National Geographic Channels CEO since 2011, wrote in an internal memo (read it in full below the post.). “I am exhilarated but somewhat saddened also.” Lyle will be replaced by a marketing executive, Courteney Monroe, who has served as Chief Marketing Officer for National Geographic Channels’ domestic networks since 2012 and is now being upped to CEO. She will report to the Board of Directors of the National Geographic Channels. Additionally, David Hill, Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox and a member of the National Geographic Channels Board of Directors, will now add the title of Chairman of National Geographic Channels U.S. His role is described as “providing counsel to the executive and programming leadership team.” Coming from marketing, Monroe has no production experience. Hill, who had an oversight of NGC prior to Lyle’s 2011 hire, will remain a member of the NGC Board and also continue to oversee production of American Idol.
The moves continue to expand the domain of Hill, who is one of Rupert Murdoch’s trusted lieutenants. In 2012, the long-time chairman and CEO of Fox Sports was elevated to senior EVP for News Corp. Then last summer, following the departure of Fox alternative chief Mike Darnell, he was put in charge of the network’s The X Factor and American Idol. Since then, X Factor has been cancelled while American Idol is finishing up its lowest-rated season. Meanwhile, the National Geographic Channels have done very well under Lyle and Owens. “I’m exhilarated that NGC and NG WILD are in rude health with EBITDAs (profits) at all-time highs, and with programming featuring the most watched specials, series and year in the channels’ history,” Lyle wrote in his memo. That makes the executive housecleaning puzzling. It follows speculation about a discord between Hill and NGC’s leadership team of Lyle and Owens who turned the network around in the past three years. When Hill gave up direct oversight of NGC in 2011, the move was explained with a clash of cultures between him and the team at National Geographic.
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Days after the death by snake bite of reality show star Pastor Jamie Coots, National Geographic Channel has set a special tribute episode of Snake Salvation to air tomorrow, February 20. Coots was … Read More »
UPDATE, 11:15 AM: With the first season fully filmed National Geographic had no plans for a second season of Snake Salvation, says a network rep. Now in the wake of Jamie Coots‘ death NatGeo is working up a special tribute episode “so people can understand Pastor Jamie and his method of worship and see that he died doing what he believed was his calling.” Here’s NatGeo on Coots’ passing:
National Geographic joins his family, friends and community in mourning the loss of Pastor Jamie Coots. In following Pastor Coots for our series Snake Salvation, we were constantly struck by his devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced. Those risks were always worth it to him and his congregants as a means to demonstrate their unwavering faith. We were honored to be allowed such unique access to Pastor Jamie and his congregation during the course of our show, and give context to his method of worship. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
PREVIOUSLY, 9:54 AM: Jamie Coots, one of the stars of National Geographic‘s reality show Snake Salvation, died Saturday of a venomous snake bite. According to reports he refused medical attention after being bitten in his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Kentucky and died shortly thereafter in his home. The show debuted last Fall centered on two Pentecostal preachers who handle deadly snakes as part of a century-old Appalachian practice originating from a Bible passage that suggests those anointed by God will not be harmed by a poisonous snake bite. Coots had previously been bitten nine times and lost a finger to a rattlesnake bite. He starred on Snake Salvation alongside Tennessee Pastor Andrew Hamblin, both of whom claim serpent handling is their First Amendment religious right. The pair have come under fire from authorities for hunting and collecting deadly snakes for their church services. Last year Coots pled guilty to illegally possessing and transporting three rattlesnakes and two copperheads in Tennessee after the state seized them in a traffic stop as he was driving them from Alabama to Kentucky. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel is building a franchise around one of its highest-rated series, Wicked Tuna. The cable network has greenlighted a spinoff series, Wicked Tuna: North vs. South (working title). Produced by Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, which is behind the original series, the spinoff will begin filming off the coast of the Outer Banks in North Carolina this winter and will premiere in the U.S. and globally this summer. Additionally Nat Geo has set a premiere date for Season 3 of Wicked Tuna, which will unspool on February 16 on National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Mundo, and premiering on the National Geographic Channel internationally in March. Season 2 of Wicked Tuna averaged a 0.6 in adults 25-54, up +23% from Season 1, and 976,000 Total Viewers. Read More »
National Geographic Channel has set Live From Space, a two-hour television event to be broadcast live from the International Space Station (ISS) and Mission Control in Houston this March, coinciding with Seth MacFarlane’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a Fox/Nat … Read More »
National Geographic Channels International today made it official, announcing the launch of Nat Geo People. From today’s anouncement:
Scheduled to launch early next year in 50 countries, Nat Geo People represents the next progression in National Geographic Channels International’s expanding portfolio of networks. Nat Geo People replaces Nat Geo Adventure in markets where Nat Geo Adventure currently broadcasts. The network will be available in HD and both linear and non-linear formats across Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Nat Geo People will feature stories of notable individuals and fascinating subcultures found across the globe through programmes like David Rocco’s Dolce Vita, Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet, Ladyboys, Don’t Tell My Mother and Hook, Line & Sisters.
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New York was named Magazine of The Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors last night, while National Geographic took four Ellies, including a pair for digital media. Among the notables honored: The Mother Jones exclusive that featured the now-infamous “Romney 47 percent” video that helped define the 2012 presidential election won in the Video category, and The Atlantic won for Website. Stephen King won his second National Magazine Award, this one for the Harper’s Magazine fiction piece “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation”. Here’s the full list of winners:
NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS 2013 WINNERS
Magazine of the Year
Adam Moss, Editor in Chief
Ben Williams, Online Editorial Director
May 28, October 22 and November 12 Print and iPad Editions
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National Geographic’s Killing Lincoln premiered to a network record-breaking 3.4 million viewers last night. Based on Fox News channel host Bill O’Reilly’s book of the same name, the show is the first original factual drama from the network.
(WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 18, 2013) National Geographic Channel’s Sunday night premiere of KILLING LINCOLN – the network’s first original factual drama – proved to be the perfect way to honor President’s Day Weekend with stellar ratings that averaged a whopping 2.6 HH rating – tied for the second highest HH in network history – and a 1.1 P25–54 on Sunday, February 17, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
KILLING LINCOLN also averaged 3.4 million persons 2+ over the entire two-hour premiere, the highest total viewership in NGC’s history!
Furthermore, the 1.1 P25–54 is the highest rated P25-54 since the premiere of SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden in November 2012 (1.4 P25-54), and is more than 175% higher than NGC’s Sunday 8–10 p.m average so far this year (.4 P25–54).
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John Stockwell’s Seal Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden will make its world premiere on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday, November 4 two days before the Presidential election. Produced by Oscar winner Nicolas Chartier (The Hurt … Read More »
Billy Campbell, who plays troubled mayoral candidate Darren Richmond on AMC’s The Killing, is signing on for more killing. He has been set to play Abraham Lincoln in National Geographic Channel‘s … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: At its upfront presentation last month, National Geographic unveiled Deepsea Challenge, a 3-D feature documentary/special chronicling director James Cameron recent one-man dive last month to the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep, the ocean’s deepest point. Now the network has added a half-hour interview special with Cameron, James Cameron: Voyage to the Bottom of the Earth, which will premiere this Sunday at 9 PM. In the special, which incorporates CGI animation to illustrate the scale of the trip, Cameron recalls the highs and lows of the more than seven-year design phase of the spherical sub (called Deepsea Challenger). Read More »
James Cameron will attempt to reach the world’s furthest underwater depth, nearly 7 miles beneath the ocean’s surface. The dive to the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean will take place in a specially designed submersible in the coming weeks as part of the newly launched Deepsea Challenge, a joint scientific project by Cameron and the National Geographic Society to “conduct deep-ocean research and exploration to expand our knowledge and understanding of these largely unknown parts of the planet.” Here’s the release: Read More »
The Reveille cohorts are back in business together. In one of his first major deals since taking the reins of National Geographic as president, Howard Owens has signed a three-for-one project deal with Ben Silverman’s Electus. It includes the development … Read More »