National Geographic is launching a slate of new series that will showcase the natural world, exotic wildlife, and a veteran Nat Geo photographer in action in the field. The channel will launch “America,” a new series using high-end camera tech to offer a new portrait of the U.S.; “Planet of the Whales,” a landmark series on the planet’s largest mammals; and “Photo Ark,” which looks at National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s ongoing effort to document and save rare species.
The cameras will also head back into Yellowstone after last year’s live broadcast from the national park garnered 13 million viewers. “Yellowstone Live” will run for four days this June. British shingle Plimsoll Productions and U.S. producer Berman Productions are making the show. There is also the previously announced Bear Grylls-fronted, Plimsoll-produced “Hostile Planet.”
Nat Geo recently solidified its leadership ahead of ownership shifting to Disney as part of the Mouse’s deal for a raft of Fox assets. Courteney Monroe re-upped as president and CEO, and Geoff Daniels was upped to EVP, global unscripted entertainment.
“Audiences are hungry for knowledge about our world – whether it be themes of conservationism or capturing the diverse wildlife in places they’ve never before been – and we continue to be the most trusted brand to deliver these stories in entertaining, authentic and unique ways across all of our platforms,” Monroe said.
“We are demonstrating how you can take natural history programming and, with bold, innovative, ambitious storytelling from the most creative minds in the business, inject this genre with renewed vigor,” Daniels added.
He said the use of groundbreaking cameras and innovative technology has been a game-changer for producers. “America” uses a new generation of gyro-stabilized gimbals to capture never-before-seen shots of animal behavior, and specially designed night cameras to deliver color images in 4K in virtual darkness. The six-part series will bow in 2021.
“We’ve filmed in over 100 countries and on every continent for series like ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘Frozen Planet,’ but America surpasses them all with the greatest variety of landscapes and wildlife of anywhere we’ve been,” exec producers Mark Linfield and Vanessa Berlowitz told Variety.
“Planet of the Whales,” also for 2021, will condense more than two years of filming different species of whales into four episodes. The filmmakers, from Red Rock Films, will show the family networks and relationships and attempt to use motion technology to give a whale’s-eye-view of their aquatic habitats.
From National Geographic photographer Sartore and WGBH-Boston, “Photo Ark” will drop on Nat Geo in 2020. Running as a pair of two-hour event specials, it will follow Sartore as he tries to save everything he can through photography. Each installment will also focus on the animals themselves with sequences that add context.
The new shows will play out across Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild’s 172-country footprint. National Geographic talent and execs will present the shows at the channel’s TCA session on Sunday.