National Geographic has solidified the leadership team of its TV wing with new deals for top executives in advance of the company’s move to Disney as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets.
Courteney Monroe has renewed her contract to remain president and CEO of National Geographic Global Networks. Carolyn Bernstein will add oversight of Nat Geo’s feature documentaries in addition to scripted programs in her new role as exec VP of global scripted content and documentary films . Geoff Daniels, formerly head of the Nat Geo Wild channel, has been promoted to exec VP of global unscripted entertainment. Monroe and Daniels are based in D.C. while Bernstein works in Los Angeles.
The Nat Geo group is expected to operate with autonomy after the Disney transaction is complete, just as it has within the Fox fold for the past two decades. Nor is there expected to be much post-merger disruption within Monroe’s group is there is little overlap with existing Disney operations. Monroe continues to report to Gary Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners, the joint venture of Fox and the National Geographic Society that Disney will inherit.
“We’re very excited to build on Courteney’s successful strategy, which has resulted in year-over-year growth, generated unprecedented critical acclaim and significantly raised the profile of National Geographic,” said Knell. “I have no doubt that Courteney will continue to drive growth and success for our brand around the world.”
Monroe joined Nat Geo as head of marketing in 2012 and was promoted to leading the channel in 2014. She has spearheaded the drive to develop big scripted and unscripted programs with marquee talents that can be heavily promoted as events, such as the “Genius” limited series franchise and the docu-drama hybrid “Mars.” Nat Geo has also embarked on more ambitious and upscale unscripted series and documentary projects on Monroe’s watch, such as the Darren Aronofsky-helmed “One Strange Rock” and the Jane Goodall biopic “Jane.”
“It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to lead the transformation of the National Geographic television business,” Monroe said. “I’m incredibly grateful to (Fox’s) Peter Rice and Gary for their ongoing support and leadership and I look forward to taking our brand and business to even greater heights as part of Disney’s expanded media portfolio.”
(Pictured: Courteney Monroe, Carolyn Bernstein and Geoff Daniels)