National Geographic Renews ‘Trafficked With Mariana van Zeller,’ Orders ‘Life Below Zero’ Spinoff and More

Jody Potts from the cast of
National Geographic

National Geographic has renewed “Trafficked With Mariana van Zeller” for a third season ahead of its second season premiere, which comes Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. Additionally, the network ordered three new unscripted series: “Life Below Zero: First Alaskans,” “The 7 Toughest Days on Earth” and “Appetite for Adventures.”

The second season of “Trafficked” was produced amid the COVID-19 pandemic and consists of 10 new episodes; the third season will begin production this fall. Each episode of the series will continue to follow the titular Peabody and duPont Award-winning journalist as she works her way inside a black market or trafficking network to expose the business, the players and the inner workings of the shadow economy. In Season 2, those businesses include romance scams, a meth superhighway, California’s marijuana black market, a stolen car smuggling route, outlaw motorcycle gangs, black market plastic surgery, supremacy, and more.

“Filming a whole season of ‘Trafficked’ during a global pandemic was extremely challenging, but there’s been an explosion of black markets over the past year, and I think we all quickly realized that this series has become more relevant than ever,” said van Zeller. ”With this second season, we’ve managed to dive even deeper and gain even more access into underworld networks around the world.”

The series is produced by Muck Media with van Zeller, Darren Foster and Jeff Plunkett executive producing alongside Nat Geo’s Bengt Anderson. Nat Geo’s Matt Renner is vice president of production, and Alan Eyres is senior vice president of production and development.

“Life Below Zero: First Alaskans” not only expands the network’s “Life Below Zero” franchise but also marks the first nonfiction series on the network to feature a cast of Native Americans. Similar to how the flagship series focuses on daily hardships of living off of the land (and water), the new series will showcase the same harsh conditions but be dedicated to how the native peoples of those Alaskan locations live. The show will feature their customs and cultures on-screen and also boasts cultural consultants and native crew members on the production as well.

“Life Below Zero: First Alaskans” will begin production in September. Travis Shakespeare and Joseph Litzinger are executive producers for BBC Studios; Kevin Tao Mohs is executive producer and Eyres is senior vice president of production and development on behalf of Nat Geo. The show is venture from National Geo and BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production arm.

“The 7 Toughest Days on Earth” centers on Dwayne Fields, an explorer who became the first Black British citizen to “conquer the magnetic north pole.” The new series will follow him as he’s dropped into extreme locations around the world for a week at a time. His mission in each is to lead himself and his small film crew to an extraction point.

“The 7 Toughest Days on Earth” will begin production this winter. The show is produced by Nutopia, and executive producers from that company are Jane Root and Sam Bagnall, while Chris Kugelman is executive producer on behalf of Nat Geo. Nat Geo’s Anderson and Ayres are also attached to this series.

Appetite for Adventure” follows Big Moe Cason, a Navy veteran and award-winning barbecue pitmaster, as he travels around the world to find the rarest flavors. With roots in the American South, Cason will be looking to cook comfort food over an open flame, learning local customs and infusing the spirit of their location into each new dish.

“Appetite for Adventure” begins production in October. It is produced by Hit + Run, whose Rob Shaftel executive produces. For National Geographic, Lauren Thompson is an executive producer, while Renner and Eyres are also attached. Cason is represented by The Burke Management Firm.

“These new series are exciting additions to our stable of popular, returnable, scalable series led by charismatic personalities,” said Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Content. “The talent at the center of each of these series have unique voices and perspectives that will undoubtedly inspire the explorer in all of us.”

All three new shows will have a second window on Disney Plus, while “Trafficked With Mariana van Zeller” streams on Hulu.