The deal will see the pair develop unscripted series and specials for the Disney-owned factual network as well as feature documentaries. It marks the first time the pair, who also co-produced the Academy Award-winning film, will move beyond feature docs.
They have also hired former Cinetic Media executive Anna Barnes to serve as Vice President of development and production of the new venture. Barnes will be responsible for overseeing the growth of the company, and will work closely with Vasarhelyi and Chin in identifying, developing and producing new projects.
Nat Geo has also commissioned the next feature doc project from the pair, which will be released by National Geographic Documentary Films, but has not revealed details.
The deal, which was brokered by WME, comes on the back of the success of Free Solo, which won the most number of Emmys for a documentary and was also Nat Geo’s most-viewed unscripted special ever.
“Chai and Jimmy are extraordinary filmmakers and tremendous partners, and we are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with them,” said National Geographic Global Television Networks President Courteney Monroe. “The success of Free Solo surpassed even our wildest expectations, and we cannot wait to embark on this exciting new chapter with the incredibly talented team behind it.”
“National Geographic offered unconditional support and enthusiasm for Free Solo from day one, and we truly could not have asked for better partners,” said Vasarhelyi and Chin. “We are excited to have an outlet to grow our production company’s work in television, expanding the stories we are able to tell, as well as a partner for our next feature doc.”