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NatGeo maps tour of ‘National Parks’

'Wicked Tuna' ordered for second season; Billy Campbell to play Lincoln

In an ambitious programming move, NatGeo president Howard T. Owens is taking a stroll in the park.

Cabler has greenlit eight-part series “America’s National Parks,” which will feature iconic locations such as Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon in each episode. Skein will be produced by NDR Naturfilm/DocLights and is expected to launch in 2015.

Steve Burns, one of the project’s producers and former exec VP of content for Nat Geo, dubbed the undertaking “hugely ambitious.” Three-year production on “America’s National Parks” begins this summer.

Owens, who reports to CEO David Lyle, arrived at NatGeo in November. He was managing director at Reveille for nine years and began when Ben Silverman launched the company.

In other programming news, “Wicked Tuna” has been renewed for a second season. Series produced by Pilgrim Studios follows New England fishermen as they catch bluefin tuna. Filming of season two is under way and is expected to bow both nationally and internationally in early 2013.

NatGeo Wild has greenlit “Spoiled Rotten Pets.” Net ordered six half-hour episodes that will highlight outrageously spoiled animals and their owners. Show is produced by Picture This Television and will be hosted by Beth Stern, who also hosts HGTV skein “Mom Caves.”

NatGeo Wild has also commissioned a one-hour biopic on TV dog whisperer Cesar Millan. Titled “Cesar Millan: Pack Leader,” special will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the life of the animal behaviorist, from his life as an illegal immigrant to celebrity status as a dog trainer. Partisan Pictures is producing.

And in casting news, NatGeo’s two-hour telepic “Killing Lincoln” has found its Abe: Billy Campbell has been cast as Abraham Lincoln, and Jesse Johnson joins as John Wilkes Booth.

Other additions include Geraldine Hughes as Mary Todd Lincoln, Graham Beckel as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and Shawn Pyfrom as Private John W. Nichols. Production recently wrapped on the Scott Free-produced on the pic, which is expected to premiere in early 2013.

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