Channel commissions wide range of specials

The National Geographic Channel has renewed three of its bellwether series — “The Final Report,” “Ultimate Factories” and “Naked Science” — and commissioned specials on prisons, antiquity fraud, Jesus between the ages of 12 and 30 and how Tokyo accommodates so many residents.

The network is pushing hard on fresh product at least in part because its total-viewer numbers in primetime grew by only 2% during the second quarter after a steady stream of double-digit quarterly gains since 2003.

National Geographic is picking up “The Final Report” for a third season of eight one-hour episodes from Towers Prods. The topics of the show’s investigations include the TWA Flight 800 crash and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

“Ultimate Factories,” which began as a miniseries, will get six new one-hours; the factories are Corvette, BMW, Caterpillar, Winnebago, Pierce Fire Truck and UPS.

“Naked Science” comes back for a fourth season of 10 one-hours on topics ranging from the Grand Canyon to the Hubble Space Telescope. Pioneer Prods. and Steadfast TV are the producers.

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