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Nat Geo Channel Developing ‘How to Survive a Plague’ Miniseries, Renews ‘Mars’ for Season 2

National Geographic Channel is developing “How to Survive a Plague” as a scripted miniseries with producer Scott Rudin. The cabler has also given a second season pickup to its hybrid docudrama “Mars,” from Imagine Entertainment and RadicalMedia.

Nat Geo unveiled the “Plague” deal and “Mars” renewal on Friday during its portion of the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

“Plague” is based on David France’s acclaimed nonfiction recount of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, the rise of the underground drug market and the activist movement that drove research and innovations in treatment options for people with HIV.

“This medical thriller about the community that fought AIDS through its own form of grassroots advocacy and scientific research is the perfect fit for National Geographic,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks.

France also directed the 2o12 documentary of the same name. He will exec produce the miniseries with Scott Rudin. Nat Geo is already working with Rudin on a series adaptation of Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Barkskins.”

“Mars” is a futuristic story about the first manned mission to the Red Planet. The series was showcased across all Nat Geo outlets in 172 countries. Nat Geo said it reached about 36 million and racked up the most time-shifted viewing of any program in the channel’s history. Monroe called the series “emblematic of our new breed of premium programming.”

Imagine principal Ron Howard emphasized the hope that the show would spark renewed interest in viewers for space exploration.

“We wanted to stimulate the imagination of audiences and continue to fire the belief that space exploration is an important, inevitable aspect of the human experience, inspiring the next generation of astronauts,” Howard said.

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