Panel Discusses Live Events, Risks, What’s Ahead

Moderator, Al Berman, President of Berman Productions led the discussion with the primary question of how these networks plan to “break through the noise,” with the over 500 scripted reality series, etc.

EVP and General Manager of Nat Geo Wild, Geoffrey B. Daniels joined the panel with the SVP Development of Peacock Productions, Benjamin Ringe and Discovery Channel’s VP Development and Production, Howard Swartz.

Live television events, such as Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walks on Discovery were a component of how Discovery intends to continue to cut through the noise.

“It’s important for us to be able to not just create these big great must-see events here domestically, but we can also travel the brand globally in over 220 countries,” said Swartz.

Berman questioned what some of the great ideas were ahead for Peacock Productions.

Ringe is starting to tell his developers to instead look back at 1986, when they received 30 million viewers for the show, The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault. He went on to say the critics were not a fan of, but it was a syndicated hit.

“We’re looking at that show as a model, because we can’t just keep doing death defying stuff. If something were to go wrong, we can’t have that on us,” Ringe said.

Live events on Nat Geo Wild tend to take a different angle, however sometimes can prove to be just as dangerous. Daniels noted how the network is never going to be able to throw the amount of money into these big events, like HBO does for its concerts.

“We’re not going to be able to sort of out Wallenda, Wallenda or afford to get into death defying stunts,” Daniels stated.

For Nat Geo Wild, Daniels stressed the network is trying to reiterate their level of authenticity, brand and access to best reach their audience. The network will be presenting Safari Live in a new light with a livestream, giving viewers access to be on a real life safari twice a day for three months.