Nat Geo today announced the greenlight of new docuseries Chain of Command about the Secret Service and In Their Own Words, from Tom Jennings. In addition, Nat Geo announced the acquisition of Sundance and SXSW-winning feature documentary Science Fair, new live events Brain Games Live and Yellowstone Live, and two new specials, Mission To The Sun, which will document NASA’s first mission to the sun, and Apollo 50th Anniversary, leading into the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, as part of its Further Front upfront presentation in New York City.
The new series join previously announced scripted series The Hot Zone from Ridley Scott, Hostile Planet, from Plimsoll Productions and Oscar winner Guillermo Navarro, and Valley of the Boom from STX tv; and previously announced returning series Cosmos: Possible Worlds, Mars Season 2, along with new seasons of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, Explorer, Life Below Zero, StarTalk, Wicked Tuna and Wicked Tuna Outer Banks.
“A little over two years ago, we embarked on our biggest journey yet, an expanded joint venture with 21st Century Fox — allowing us to invest in bigger, bolder, more premium content than ever before. National Geographic is more vibrant and more clearly defined than at any time in modern history. We are amplifying great storytelling across our media portfolio, in hopes to spark curiosity, to help solve big problems and to push the boundaries of what we already know,” said Gary Knell, CEO, National Geographic Partners.
“National Geographic has become the destination for the best-in-class creatives, who want to partner with us on big, bold premium and entertaining content,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks. “Our upfront slate is evidence that our transformation is truly taking hold and reaffirms our commitment to amplify important topics that matter, to create dialogue and to use the power of storytelling to change the world.”
Details of Nat Geo’s new projects follows below:
NEW FACTUAL SERIES
In Their Words (1895 Films, in association with NHNZ)
On the heels of the success of National Geographic’s Diana: In Her Own Words and its Emmy award-winning Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes, the network once again partners with Tom Jennings for an immersive documentary series, In Their Own Words. Expanding on the unique storytelling techniques used by Jennings in Diana and Challenger, In Their Own Words will also weave stories together from original, long-forgotten audio and film recordings from around the world. Tentative topics for the first season of the series include the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the narco drug wars and the 2008 global financial crisis. Many of the interviews being cultivated for the series have never been heard or broadcast before. Each one is an extraordinary record on its own, but when combined into a single narrative they become a powerful and engaging format to experience the past as present.
Chain of Command: Secret Service (National Geographic Studios)
For every agent in the United States Secret Service, the most high-profile security assignment is to protect the president of the United States. In National Geographic’s documentary series Chain of Command: The Secret Service viewers will be immersed in the high-stakes world of a law enforcement agency that very few people know much about. Through rare access and partnership, Chain of Command: The Secret Service will follow USSS officers and agents in different field offices across the country, where viewers will see firsthand how the presidential security detail prepares and executes an elaborate security plan wherever the president travels, including on President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the Philippines. The second season of the Chain of Command franchise will premiere in early 2019 after National Geographic camera teams embed with the elite agency over the course of a year.
SCIENCE FAIR (FUSION and Muck Media)
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY CRISTINA COSTANTINI AND DARREN FOSTER
Winner of the audience award at both Sundance 2018 and SXSW 2018, SCIENCE FAIR has been described by Variety as an “immensely likable documentary that serves as an ode to the teenage science geeks on whom our future depends.” The documentary is an illuminating look at nine students from around the world as they prepare for the 2017 International Science and Engineering Fair, a highly competitive showcase of the world’s top young scientific minds. The film, from FUSION’s DuPont Award-winning and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaking team Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster along with Jeffrey Plunkett, offers a front seat to the victories, defeats and motivations of an incredible group of young men and women who are on a path to change their lives, and the world, through science.
INTO THE OKAVANGO (National Geographic Society)
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY NEIL GELINAS
The Okavango River Basin provides a vital source of water to about 1 million people; the world’s largest population of African elephants; and significant numbers of lions, cheetahs and hundreds of species of birds. However, this once unspoiled oasis is now under siege due to increasing pressure from human activity. Premiering at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, INTO THE OKAVANGO chronicles a team of modern-day explorers on an epic four-month, 1,500-mile expedition across three countries to save the river system that feeds the Okavango Delta, one of our planet’s last wetland wildernesses. From first-time documentary filmmaker Neil Gelinas and featuring stunning photography and aerial views of rarely seen vistas, this deeply moving film draws the world’s attention not only to the Okavango River Basin, one of the most important areas for biodiversity conservation, but to the little-known and vulnerable wilderness area in the Angolan highlands on which it depends.
BRAIN GAMES LIVE (National Geographic Studios)
Get ready to explore the amazing human brain with the return of Emmy-nominated hit show Brain Games in a new, live two-hour event full of mind-bending games, surprising revelations and new interactive activities that demonstrate just how easy it is to fool the human brain, and why things aren’t always as they seem. Over the course of two hours, viewers will participate in real-time, interactive games designed to mess with the mind and reveal the surprising inner workings of the brain. Brain Games Live will journey through the incredible science of what makes our brains tick with visually provocative experiences, capturing the attention of a live audience and leaving viewers at home holding their breath. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
YELLOWSTONE LIVE (Plimsoll Productions, Berman Productions and Bunim-Murray Productions)
Produced by the same team that brought you last summer’s unprecedented two-hour event EARTH LIVE comes YELLOWSTONE LIVE, a four-day live event that showcases the best of Yellowstone National Park’s wildlife in real time and in spectacular fashion. Over the course of four days, viewers will witness the earth’s greatest wildlife, shot by world-renowned cinematographers using cutting-edge technology. With up to 22 million acres, Yellowstone is a hot spot for volcanic activity with more than 300 animal species, dramatic canyons, lush forests, hot springs, gushing geysers and alpine rivers.
Mission to the Sun (Thoroughly Modern Media)
In July 2018, NASA will have its first mission to the sun. Mission to the Sun will celebrate this world-changing event, exploring the amazing science of our sun and going behind the scenes of the bold NASA mission to reach it. Timed to coincide with the arrival of the probe into the sun’s atmosphere in November 2018, this documentary special will mark a key moment in history — humanity’s first attempt to touch the sun. This documentary special will use expert interviews, observational footage of the build and launch, and NASA archive to explore the engineering and technology behind this pioneering world first. Using stunning real footage of the sun from NASA solar exploration telescopes and blue-chip CGI to explore the wider science of our star, the documentary special will bring a fresh perspective to our relationship with the sun on Earth.
Apollo 50th Anniversary (1895 Films)
Leading into the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission, Apollo will tell the entire story of the Apollo program in a new, exciting and unprecedented way. This epic story will be told with no narration and will weave together media reports from around the world with long-forgotten NASA recordings and images, both from Mission Control and onboard the Apollo space capsules, to bring to stunning life the missions to the moon in real time. No one else has access to the kind of material this documentary special will provide. This is an unprecedented approach that will allow audiences to experience what it was like when the world held its breath and watched in wonder as one of humankind’s greatest achievements unfolded before its eyes.