TCA 2018: National Geographic Taps Julianna Margulies for New Scripted Series

Beverly Hills, Calif.—National Geographic continues to ramp up its scripted lineup with The Hot Zone, starring Julianna Margulies, the network announced Wednesday during the its Television Critics Association summer press tour session.

The drama series—based on the international best-seller by Richard Preston—recounts the terrifying true story of the origins of the Ebola virus, and follows a U.S. Army scientist (Margulies) who put her life on the line to head off the outbreak before it spread to the human population, said network officials.

“Julianna is dream casting for the role of Dr. Nancy Jaax,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive VP, global scripted development and production, National Geographic in a statement. “Her rare combination of warmth, strength, humor and intelligence are the perfect recipe to make this terrifying true story feel relatable, grounded and human.”

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The Hot Zone will be produced by Lynda Obst Productions, Scott Free Productions, Kelly Souders & Brian Peterson, Jeff Vintar and Fox 21 Television Studios.

The Hot Zone joins the network’s other scripted series including the Emmy-nominated Genius: Picasso and Mars.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.