Nat Geo digs ‘Deep’ for series

Channel orders 13 new series

National Geographic Channel has ordered 13 new series for the 2011-12 season, along with numerous specials and events including “Alien Deep,” a five-part sea-life miniseries featuring Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard.

Cabler is also moving “Dog Whisperer” from Nat Geo to animal-centric sister net Nat Geo Wild, which has ordered 10 new segs for 2012. Wild will also get six new series and several specs, including the three-part “Animal Superpowers” hosted by Patrick Stewart.

Media sales head Rich Goldfarb said Wild in particular had seen increases in carriage agreements since taking over the real estate previously occupied by Fox Reality. “One of our first agreements was with Cablevision,” Goldfarb said. “And they didn’t carry Fox Reality at all.” Wild’s distribution has climbed to 53 million homes, from 48 million at launch last year.

New series on Nat Geo include “American Knights in the U.S.,” a jousting competish hosted by Navy SEAL Charlie Andrews; “The Indestructibles,” about the unlikely survivors of near-fatal accidents; and “Rocket Men,” in which NASA and several aerospace concerns work with local geniuses in a rural Alabama town on science’s big questions.

Steve Burns, NatGeo’s exec veep of content, said that the net is constantly looking to monetize the mission of the National Geographic Society by using its scientists’ missions as springboards for programming. “Often it’s something that can be very commercial and great for television,” Burns said.

Net is renewing 10 properties, including its perennial “Explorer” (18 new hourlongs), “Alaska State Troopers” (13 hourlongs) and “Beat Hunter” (seven hourlongs), as well as 10 hourlong eps of “Shark Men.”