National Geographic has revealed its full upfront slate for the upcoming 2021-22 season, with “The Hot Zone: Anthrax,” starring Daniel Dae Kim and Tony Goldwyn, among the programs for the Disney-owned brand.
Nat Geo’s Content president Courteney Monroe touted the offerings during the network’s upfront presentation on Tuesday, which included previews from far-flung locales. Popular series such as “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” “Secrets of the Zoo” and “Life Below Zero” will be returning, while “SharkFest” celebrates its 10th anniversary. Garth Brooks will narrate “National Parks,” a new series that will showcase the grandeur of America’s various wildlife locations, and “Free Solo” star Alex Honnold will a climbing team up 1,000 feet of sheer rock on a remote island in the Amazon jungle for “Explorer.”
See National Geographic’s full 2021-22 Upfront Slate:
Blockbuster Natural History Series and Events
National Parks — New Series
Narrated by Garth Brooks, the new series will turn its state-of-the-art cameras on the country’s homegrown beauty and showcase the grandeur of America’s national parks. Each park offers something unique, from mountain lions on the precipice of the Grand Canyon to the active volcanoes in Hawaii. “National Parks” will give viewers an up-close and personal feel of the most spectacular vistas and wildlife over 10 spectacular locations across the country. From east to west and north to south, this series will awaken the sense of wonder and exploration in everyone. It’s the land that defined and inspired the American story, revealing to the world the diversity and wonder of the most beautiful continent on Earth. Brooks also serves as an executive producer for Wildstar Films alongside Dan Rees. Myles Connolly and Ben Wallis are supervising producers.
SharkFest — Renewed for Summer 2022
National Geographic’s 10th annual “SharkFest” will take a close look at one of nature’s most feared — and often misunderstood — predators. From the latest developments in shark research and preservation to new ways to predict shark attacks, the frenzy of “SharkFest” programming is sure to captivate viewers with truth that is stranger than fiction.
New Scripted Series
The Hot Zone: Anthrax — Limited Series
The six-hour scientific thriller “The Hot Zone: Anthrax,” the follow-up to National Geographic’s hit limited series “The Hot Zone,” will premiere on Nov. 28 and air as a three-night event. With the world still reeling after the attacks on 9/11, America faces a second wave — the anthrax letters. Targeting journalists and politicians, mail with anthrax powder kills five people and causes panic across the United States. While tracking down the killer, FBI Special Agent Matthew Ryker (Daniel Dae Kim) will find himself ensnared in an unstable web of psychological warfare. Bruce Ivins (Tony Goldwyn) is the brilliant microbiologist who becomes embroiled in the hunt. Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Jordan Sheehan, Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson serve as executive producers.
New Unscripted Series
Brain Games on the Road (Magical Elves)
In this half-hour fun-filled series, National Geographic takes fan-favorite “Brain Games” out of the studio and on the road, giving average Americans the chance to test their brainpower as they take on friends and family in an epic battle of the brains. In each episode, host Chuck Nice pits two teams of four players against each other in a friendly competition for all ages filled with mind-bending games designed for at-home play—guaranteed to make you smarter. The winning team takes home the coveted “Brain Games” trophy and, of course, bragging rights. “Brain Games” is executive produced by Casey Kriley, Jo Sharon, James Rowley, and co-executive produced by Lisa Pegnato for Magical Elves.
Called To The Wild (ITV Entertainment)
Would you trust your best friend with your life? In a brand-new adventure series, top human-dog teams depend on each other to survive and thrive in the wild. Each week three new teams of man or woman and their dogs embark on a 10-day wilderness challenge testing the limits of their survival skills and the strength of their indelible bond. The team that demonstrates the most teamwork, grit and ingenuity at the end of 10 days is declared the winner, proving they have what it takes when they are “Called To The Wild.” Produced by ITV America’s ITV Entertainment, “Called To The Wild” is based on an original format created by Marshal Bishop Productions. Executive producers are Jordana Hochman, Eric Hoberman and Steve Rankin for ITV Entertainment, as well as Mark Wescott and Duncan Gaudin for Marshal Bishop.
Into the Unknown (W.T.)
This series takes audiences inside the minds of elite adventure athletes through transformative stories of confronting fear, devastating personal loss and Mother Nature at her harshest. Through intimate interviews and self-shot archival footage from surfers, climbers, snowboarders, polar explorers and kayakers, we witness the mental, physical and emotional toll of their high-stakes endeavors. Pioneering elite adventure athletes featured in the series include professional snowboarder Travis Rice and arctic explorer Sarah Landry. “Into the Unknown” is a front-row seat to adventure—and what it takes to adapt when something goes catastrophically wrong. Executive producers are E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Anna Barnes and Pagan Harleman
The ’80s: Top Ten (Nutopia)
Pop culture icon Rob Lowe takes viewers down memory lane with six entertaining and thought-provoking top 10 countdowns of 1980s pop culture, as voted by a panel of experts. Revisit the most memorable moments, gadgets, toys, fast foods, commercials and streetwear of this iconic decade, and see which items our panel put at the top of each list. With stories you’ve never heard before from stars who were at the heart of the action, from the launch of MTV and the Apple Macintosh to the tale of Teddy Ruxpin and Wendy’s Super Bar, this series will remind you why the aftershocks of the ‘80s are still felt today. “The ’80s: Top Ten” is executive produced by Lowe, Jane Root, Matt Edmonds, and Nicola Moody for Nutopia.
Explorer (ABC News and Lincoln Square Productions)
National Geographic’s “Explorer,” a hallmark of Nat Geo storytelling since it first launched in 1985, is set to return this upfront season as a series of specials produced in partnership with ABC News, who will bring familiar faces to the series. GMA co-anchors Michael Strahan and Robin Roberts follow the progress of the expeditions, especially at critical turning points. Earlier this year, “Explorer” embarked on two groundbreaking scientific expeditions—one above the Earth and one below. An elite climbing team guided by Alex Honnold, the professional climber of critically acclaimed feature doc “Free Solo,” will be the first to ascent up 1,000 feet of sheer rock to the top of Tepui, a remote “island in the sky” deep in the Amazon jungle. Their mission is to deliver 80-year-old National Geographic Explorer and biologist Bruce Means in search of undiscovered species. Then in the other expedition, Dr. Bill Stone, one of the most experienced caver in the world, has a lifelong quest to hold the record for going deeper beneath the Earth than any human. Stone will lead an expedition to the bottom of the Cheve Cave, 8,000+ feet underneath Mexico’s Sierra Juarez mountains. “Explorer” will cover timely topics, a featured magazine story and more, further deepening viewers’ understanding of the world through provocative storytelling. For Lincoln Square Productions, Drew Pulley is executive producer, and Jeanmarie Condon is senior executive producer.
Returning Adventure Series
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted — Renewed for Season Four (Studio Ramsay)
Gordon Ramsay laces his boots, grabs his knives and buckles up as he hits the road to embark on more exhilarating adventures, exploring world cultures through food in National Geographic’s “Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted.” The multiple Michelin-starred chef and Ironman athlete feasts his way around the globe—risking life and limb in daring missions—in pursuit of culinary inspiration and edible excellence. In the most ambitious and far-reaching season yet, Ramsay partakes in culinary customs, learns about delicious delicacies and tastes fresh flavors unique to each region under the guidance of the local experts and food legends he meets along the way. “Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted” is executive produced by Gordon Ramsay, Lisa Edwards, Jon Kroll and Tom Willis for Studio Ramsay.
Life Below Zero — Renewed for Season 15 (BBC Studios)
LBZ: Next Generation — Renewed for Season Two
LBZ: Port Protection — Renewed for Season Four
The common theme in “Life Below Zero” and Port Protection, Alaska is people who have left traditional society behind. They have chosen a different life, with varying degrees of danger and challenges, in their remote regions of Alaska. In “Life Below Zero: Next Generation,” an all-new cast has abandoned contemporary life in favor of freedom in the brutal Alaskan wilderness. They speak to the growing dissatisfaction the current generation has with technology and convenience, which is ubiquitous in modern life. Cameras capture the cast members as they rush to prepare for and survive the frozen months of winter to the spring thaw. Executive Producers are Travis Shakespeare and Joseph Litzinger for BBC Studios.
Running Wild With Bear Grylls — Renewed for Season Three (Electus, a Propagate Company and The Natural Studios)
Last season, the hit outdoor adventure series “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” found its new home on National Geographic with bigger action and wilder destinations than ever before. World-renowned survivalist Bear Grylls returns for another season, leading a brand-new slate of celebrities into the wildest corners of the planet for epic, life-changing adventures that will challenge their perceived limitations. Each week, a new celebrity guest leaves the luxury of their homes to join Bear for a no-holds-barred journey through some of the most extreme environments in the world. Together, they must rely on bushcraft techniques to survive each dangerous location while pushing through both mental and physical limits to face ambitious obstacles that will make even the bravest shudder. “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” is produced by Electus, a Propagate Company, and The Natural Studios. For Electus and The Natural Studios, Bear Grylls serves as executive producer along with Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, Liz Schulze, Rob Buchta and Delbert Shoopman.
Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller — Renewed for Season Two (Muck Media)
Award-winning journalist Mariana van Zeller continues her harrowing exploration into the underworld’s most dangerous black markets. Armed with National Geographic’s trademark inside access, each episode follows Mariana as she works her way inside a different black market or global trafficking network—from meth, marijuana and stolen cars to outlaw bikers clubs and Amazon mafias—where she meets the players and learns the business, all in an effort to understand the inner workings of the world’s multitrillion-dollar shadow economy. For Muck Media, executive Producers are Mariana van Zeller, Darren Foster and Jeff Plunkett.
Wicked Tuna — Renewed for Season 11 (Pilgrim Media Group)
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks — Renewed for Seasons Eight and Nine
National Geographic’s hit series “Wicked Tuna” is back on the high seas. Follow a group of salty commercial fishermen from the nation’s oldest seaport in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as they earn their living through rod-and-reel fishing in pursuit of the prized bluefin tuna. Later this year, the popular spinoff “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” returns. The series follows a southern fleet of top captains battling to catch bluefin in the dangerous waters off the coast of North Carolina. This season, they face the most treacherous weather in the series’ history, and captains must work together to catch the elusive bluefin. “Wicked Tuna” is executive produced by Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols, and co-executive produced by Lorene Machado for Pilgrim Studios.
Best of NGC Week — Premieres December 2021
National Geographic ends 2021 with a week of special encore presentations of its wildly popular programming, including “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted,” “Running Wild With Bear Grylls,” “Life Below Zero” and more!
Earth Day — April 22, 2022
National Geographic celebrates Earth Day by showcasing series and specials, such as the brand’s landmark natural history programming, to engender a deeper love of the Earth that enables fans to see the world like they never have before.
National Parks Week
America, get ready for your close-up. National Geographic’s new series will turn its state-of-the-art cameras on the country’s homegrown beauty and showcase the grandeur of America’s national parks. “National Parks Week” will give viewers an up-close and personal feel of the most spectacular vistas and wildlife in the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Hawaii Volcanoes… just to mention a few.
See National Geographic Wild’s full 2021-22 Upfront Slate:
The Incredible Dr. Pol — Season 19 Returns Summer 2021 (National Geographic Studios)
In this season of “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” the doctor and his team tackle a caseload like no other. The action is non-stop as they treat the large and the small, from hustling to save a flailing Arabian horse to caring for a tiny Chihuahua left immobile after a major car accident. A variety of critters, including chinchillas, guinea pigs and geckos, keep the vets busy. The crew’s dedication is far-reaching, from customized house calls to around-the-clock critical care. There’s never a dull week, especially one that includes back-to-back emergency treatment for two dogs from the same home—a lab with a mangled leg on one day followed by life-threatening labor complications just days later for the other dog.
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet — Season 10 Returns Fall 2021 (Lucky Dog Films)
Making house calls in the far reaches of the Great North is a daunting task in the least, considering hundreds of miles may separate the houses. That challenge doesn’t stop Dr. Michelle Oakley from performing her many duties as a veterinarian in one of the most rugged environments on Earth. In addition to running an animal clinic in Haines, Alaska, she makes house calls, sometimes driving for long stretches through desolate wilderness to check on a patient. This series documents how Dr. Oakley juggles being a full-time vet, wife and mom with a sense of humor and devotion.
Secrets of the Zoo: Columbus — Season Five Returns Winter 2022 (Remedy Television)
“Secrets of the Zoo” is back with a fifth season of unprecedented access to one of the nation’s largest and most popular zoos: The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! Featuring the dramatic, hilarious and heartwarming stories of what it takes to care for the zoo’s 10,000 animals across almost 12,000 acres of facilities, this series takes viewers behind the scenes to witness America’s favorite zoo at work. This fan-favorite shines a light on veterinary care, feeding, live birth and expanding habitats, along with all the wildlife and wild people who work together to make it all happen!
Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa — Season Three Returns Winter 2022 (Remedy Television)
“Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa” embraces the wild side of the Sunshine State with a stellar zoo team devoted to an exotic cast of animals, from black bear cubs to otters, panthers to manatees, and more!
Heartland Docs, DVM — Season Four Returns Spring 2022 (Glass Entertainment)
In Hartington, Nebraska, Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder put thousands upon thousands of miles on their truck as they crisscross America’s Heartland, employing their expertise to treat all creatures great and small. From furry pets at the clinic to herds of cattle by the hundreds, few vets have the skill and heart to take on the unique challenges that come their way every day. Whether they are up against intense summer heat, bitter cold, white-out blizzards or impassable roads, the Schroeders will do whatever is necessary to treat animals in distress, including opening their clinic on the weekends with the help of their sons Chase and Charlie or making farm calls in the middle of the frigid night. The Schroeders’ dedication to their hometown, and the animals that are a part of it, is what makes them invaluable members of their local community.
Critter Fixers: Country Vets — Season Three Returns Spring 2022 (Hit + Run)
Lifelong friends Drs. Vernard Hodges and Terrence Ferguson are back for another wildly extraordinary new season of their hit series “Critter Fixers: Country Vets.” The docs, who own and operate Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospitals, located 100 miles south of Atlanta, work around the clock with their loving staff to bring heart, soul and a lot of humor to their treatment and care of more than 20,000 patients a year. Between emergency visits to the office and farm calls throughout rural Georgia, this special team constantly encounters unique cases. For the Critter Fixer team, there is no such thing as “normal.”
New Specials and Stunts
Vet Appreciation Week — Week-Long Event In June
Nat Geo Wild is dedicating an entire week to the hardworking professionals who spend their lives improving the health and welfare of animals of all kinds. This programming event celebrates the professionals behind its top veterinary series, including “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” Drs. Erin and Ben Schroeder of “Heartland Docs,” “DVM,” Dr. Hodges and Dr. Ferguson of “Critter Fixers: Country Vets” and “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet.” Vet Appreciation Week uncovers the grueling work, specialized skills and heartfelt dedication it takes to become a veterinary hero.
Vetsgiving — Weekend-long Event from Nov. 25-28, 2021
This weekend-long event features the heartwarming network vets, including “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet,” the vet duos of “Heartland Docs,” “DVM” and “Critter Fixers: Country Vets;” the network’s top series, “The Incredible Dr. Pol” and the fan-favorite “Secrets of the Zoo.” Highlighting these seasoned professionals and their empathy, love and devotion, Vetsgiving is the ultimate viewing feast to enjoy with the ones you love.
Big Cat Week — Winter 2022
Partnering with the National Geographic Society’s initiatives to safeguard big cats and their critical habitats, Nat Geo Wild kicks off its 11th Big Cat Week in Winter 2022. Recognizing how big cats are continuing to face big challenges, Nat Geo Wild’s Big Cat Week sheds light on the issues that could trigger many species’ extinction. Headlining the event is the premiere of “The Way of the Cheetah (WT)” from world-renowned big-cat filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers Beverly and Dereck Joubert. Other titles featuring the Jouberts include “Relentless Enemies,” “Ultimate Enemies,” “Eye of the Leopard,” “Big Cat Odyssey,” “Living With Big Cats” and “Eternal Enemies.”