National Geographic’s summer 2018 TCA announcements


“One Strange Rock” gets second season, Gordon Ramsay, Bear Grylls, Jeff Goldblum and much more

At National Geographic’s summer 2018 Television Critics Association (TCA) presentation on July 25, Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, looked back on another successful year for the brand with a purpose. She also turned the audience’s attention to what’s to come in the next year with several exciting programming announcements.

In recent months, National Geographic was named the first ever Webby Media Company of the Year, National Geographic magazine won the Ellie Award for Best Single-Topic Issue for its January 2017 edition devoted to gender, National Geographic won its first ever Cannes Gold Lion for its documentary “Breaking2,” and 18 total Emmy nominations were given to National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD. The last achievement places National Geographic as the second-most nominated ad-supported cable network behind FX Networks.

“To be in the company of these other mega-players – all of whom have content and marketing budgets that dwarf ours – is incredibly gratifying and evidence that our creatively ambitious, premium programming strategy is being rewarded,” Courteney said in her opening remarks.

She also underscored that National Geographic is a brand with a real purpose, one that reinvests 27 percent of its proceeds back into the National Geographic Society to support its efforts in research, conservation and education. Courteney also highlighted National Geographic’s recent “Planet or Plastic?” initiative and told the audience that the company donated 200 glass bottles for panelists to use on stage at the TCA press tour that day.

In addition to recounting National Geographic’s other achievements from the past year, Courteney made a number of programming announcements, gave the audience a 360-degree VR tour of the “MARS” set and introduced several panels.

Here’s an overview of National Geographic’s summer 2018 TCA announcements, as well as photos from the day’s panels and the network’s TCA kickoff party:

“One Strange Rock” gets a second season
National Geographic has greenlit a second season for critically acclaimed series “One Strange Rock.” Filmmakers Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel and Scott Franklin and their production company Protozoa Pictures, along with powerhouse producer Jane Root and Peter Lovering of Nutopia will being production this fall, with principal photography set to begin February 2019. The premiere season of the series that looked at what makes our planet unique in the universe, hosted by Will Smith, became the network’s fourth most-watched series globally, boasting 81 million viewers.

National Geographic partners with Gordon Ramsay
“Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted” will draw connections between exploration, adventure and food – and some competition. The new series, set to begin production this fall with a 2019 airdate, will expand on Gordon’s hit UK series “Gordon’s Great Escapes.” As the celebrated chef travels the world to unlock culinary secretes and track down local traditions and customs, he’ll also test his interpretations of regional dishes against tried-and-true classics. “A travel adventure show that celebrates global cultures through food, this series will showcase an entirely new and different side of Gordon,” Courteney said.

Bear Grylls hosts “Hostile Planet”
World-renowned adventurer and survivalist Bear Grylls will be the host and narrator of National Geographic’s new six-part nature docuseries “Hostile Planet.” Each episode of the new series will focus on one of the planet’s most severe environments and explore how animals acclimate to them. “Along with National Geographic and Plimsoll Productions, I hope we can not only celebrate the epic survival skills of these unique animals that live in these most hostile environments, but also underscore a sense of urgency to the effects of climate change,” Bear said. “Hostile Planet” is set to premiere in spring 2019 on National Geographic. Courteney showed the audience a trailer and said more would be revealed at winter TCA.

Greenlight for “The Curiosity of Jeff Goldblum”
In a new 12-part series from National Geographic Studios, National Geographic will join Academy- and Emmy nominated Jeff Goldblum on a journey across the globe to uncover the extraordinary stories behind the world’s most “ordinary” things. Each 30-minute episode will follow Jeff as he tackles experiments, busts myths and reveals the science that’s happening right in front of our eyes.

“The Hot Zone” with Julianna Margulies
Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies will headline National Geographic’s new scripted miniseries “The Hot Zone.” Based on the eponymous international best-seller by Richard Preston, the series will recount the true story of the origins of the Ebola virus. “The Hot Zone” represents a bold step forward in National Geographic’s scripted programming strategy. The scientific thriller will begin production this fall in Toronto and South Africa.

 “Valley of the Boom” gets Emmy Award-winning composers for its score
National Geographic’s upcoming scripted series “Valley of the Boom” has brought on Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the Emmy Award-winning composers who have worked on “Stranger Things.” Together they’ll create a soundtrack for the groundbreaking new series charting the rise and burst of the dot-com bubble. “Valley of the Boom,” from executive producers Arianna Huffington and Matthew Carnahan (“House of Lies”), will premiere this winter

“Inside the Internet: 50 Years of Life Online” and “1989: The Year That Made the Modern World”
National Geographic announced that it has greenlit two specials as companions to “Valley of the Boom”: two-hour special “Inside the Internet: 50 Years of Life Online” and six-episode miniseries “1989: The Year That Made the Modern World.” Both specials will explore the ways the web has changed our society. They are produced by National Geographic Studios and will premiere this winter.

“Live Below Zero” approaches 100 episodes
National Geographic’s hit documentary television series “Life Below Zero” will kick off its 11th season on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 9/8c on National Geographic. On Jan. 1, 2019, the Emmy Award-winning, Alaska-based series will air its 100th episode. The new 12-episode season will follow its Alaskan stars as they live off the grid and battle harsh elements and frozen terrain with limited resources.

Nat Geo WILD announces new series: “Fish My City with Mike Iaconelli”
On Oct. 12, at 10/9c on Nat Geo WILD will air the premiere of its newest series, “Fish My City with Mike Iaconelli.” The six-part series will be an urban fishing adventure following award-winning professional bass fisherman and TV personality Mike “Ike” Iaconelli as he searches for the world’s most iconic fish living near some of the world’s busiest cities.