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Nat Geo Renews ‘Brain Games,’ ‘Running Wild With Bear Grylls’ and ‘Life Below Zero’

National Geographic has renewed a trio of its franchise series.

The network has announced that “Brain Games” hosted by Keegan-Michael Key will be returning for another season, as well as “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” and “Life Below Zero.”

The renewals were announced by National Geographic Global Television Networks president Courteney Monroe during the network’s winter Television Critics’ Association press tour day. In addition, Monroe revealed the premiere date for season 2 of “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted,” a “Live Below Zero” spinoff series “Life Below Zero: The Next Generation,” and a new docuseries with “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot on board as an executive producer.

“’Brain Games,’ ‘Running Wild’ with Bear Grylls,’ ‘Life Below Zero’ and ‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’ are all emblematic of our unscripted programming strategy – highly entertaining, personality driven premium programming that lives up to the National Geographic brand,” said Monroe. “We are thrilled to greenlight the continuation of these franchises and to have Keegan-Michael Key, Bear Grylls, Gordon Ramsay, and fan-favorite Sue Aikens on our network.”

The Gadot series is titled “#impact” and follows inspiring young women living in communities marred by genocide, gang violence, poverty, discrimination and oppression, and yet who, against all odds, dare to dream, stand out, speak up and lead. The series is produced by Pilot Wave Motion Pictures, eOne and RPC Films. 

“I’m deeply honored to bring awareness to these young women who are the true heroes among us,” said Gadot. “By partnering with National Geographic, I’m tapping into their massive and unparalleled global reach to ensure that ‘#impact’ is followed by the largest audience possible. Together we’re making a true impact by sharing these incredible stories that will empower, lift and inspire women all over the world.”

Produced by Magical Elves and shot in front of a live studio audience, “Brain Games” challenges celebrities to use their brain power through interactive games, illusions and social experiments. The new season, premiering Jan. 20, will feature the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Drew Brees, Jordan Peele, Meghan Trainor, Anthony Anderson, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Jack Black, Mark Cuban, Kevin Hart and Rebel Wilson.

Running Wild With Bear Grylls” moved to Nat Geo from NBC for its current season, and the renewal comes just head of the season finale. The current season saw renowned adventurer Grylls traverse croc-infested mangroves in the Gulf of Panama with Brie Larson, experience the ancient art of trout tickling with Channing Tatum in the mountains of Norway, eat ants and then climb a mountain in the Swiss Alps with free soloist Alex Honnold, and drink milk directly from a goat’s udder with Armie Hammer in Sardinia.

The “Life Below Zero” pickup comes in the form of a three-series commitment deal between BBC Studios and Nat Geo comprised of two seasons of “Life Below Zero” and one new season of “Life Below Zero: Port Protection.” The deal also includes an eight-part spinoff “Next Generation” which is slated to premiere on National Geographic in 2021 and which will follow new individuals who, in a brave move, recently left their traditional lifestyle behind to face a challenging new world off the grid in the wilds of Alaska.

Finally, Nat Geo announced Chris Hemsworth will explore the limits of the human body in a new series titled “Limitless.” The series hails from Jane Root’s Nutopia and Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures.

“Limitless” will be produced for National Geographic by Nutopia and Protozoa Pictures. For Nutopia,
Root and Arif Nurmohamed are executive producers; Ruth Shurman is showrunner. For Protozoa Pictures, Aronofsky and Ari Handel are executive producers. Hemsworth and Ben Grayson are executive producers. For National Geographic, Matt Renner and Bengt Anderson are executive producers; Alan Eyres is senior vice president, production & development; and Geoff Daniels is executive vice president, global unscripted entertainment.

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