Nat Geo Renews ‘Brain Games’ & ‘Running Wild With Bear Grylls’ – TCA

Brie Larson Running Wild
Brie Larson and Bear Grylls in Panama for Season 5 of "Running Wild With Bear Grylls" Ben Simms/National Geographic

Nat Geo said at its TCA session today that it has picked up new seasons of the Keegan-Michael Key-hosted Brain Games and adventure docuseries Running Wild with Bear Grylls.

Brain Games [and] Running Wild with Bear Grylls are emblematic of our unscripted programming strategy – highly entertaining, personality-driven premium programming that lives up to the National Geographic brand,” National Geographic Global Television Networks President Courteney Monroe said. “We are thrilled to greenlight the continuation of these franchises.”

Keegan-Michael Key
Keegan-Michael Key Paul Zimmerman/Shutterstock

Produced by Magical Elves, the second season of Brain Games, with Key returning as host, was greenlighted ahead of its January 20 series premiere. Shot in front of a live studio audience, it challenges celebrities to realize their special brain power through fun and interactive games, illusions and social experiments that will reveal the “why” behind the “wow.”

Hollywood couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard will be featured in the premiere episode, going head-to-head in “Battle of the Sexes,” a series of games designed to reveal how men’s and women’s brains differ. Leading the second episode that night is Ted Danson, who learns how our brains distinguish fact from fiction.

Other stars set for Season 1 include Tiffany Haddish, Drew Brees, Jordan Peele, Meghan Trainor, Anthony Anderson, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Jack Black, Mark Cuban, Kevin Hart and Rebel Wilson.

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“Re-imagining Brain Games for Nat Geo has been the perfect project for Magical Elves.” Magical Elves Co-CEOs Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon said in a statement. “With Keegan as our host, the rebooted series is informative with infectious energy from the live studio audience, A-list celebrity guests, interactive games and truly fascinating science. We agree with Nat Geo – there’s so much more to explore in a second season as we continue to have fun playing with why our brains work the way they do.”

Running Wild with Bear Grylls, which moved to Nat Geo from NBC last year, is returning for its sixth season. The pickup comes ahead of its January 21 season finale. In the current season, world-renowned adventurer Bear Grylls traversed croc-infested mangroves in the Gulf of Panama with Brie Larson, experienced the ancient art of trout tickling with Channing Tatum in the mountains of Norway, ate ants and then climbed a mountain in the Swiss Alps with free soloist Alex Honnold and drank milk directly from a goat’s udder with Armie Hammer in Sardinia. The season finale will feature Zachary Quinto on a treacherous adventure through the dense Panamanian jungle during tropical storm season.

Nat Geo also said today that Season 2 of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted will premiere at 10 p.m. Sunday, May 10. Produced by Studio Ramsay, the series features Gordon Ramsay journeying across the globe to unearth world cultures through food and adventure.

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