PASADENA, Calif, — National Geographic announced Underdogs, a look at the “heroic underdogs of the natural world — the good, the bad and the frankly ugly,” the network said. Ryan Reynolds narrates. There will be 10 parts and the series is scheduled to premiere in 2025.
“From their hidden talents to their bold hygiene choices, unsavory courtship rituals, devious camouflage techniques and ‘tough love’ parenting skills, Underdogs will celebrate and champion the unique and unpredictable behaviors of a little-known and surprising cast of animal characters,” said Nat Geo. “These overlooked superstars come in all sizes, shapes and smells. They’re the outcasts and the troublemakers, brash, unsophisticated, flatulent, incontinent and often unhinged. But they’re also warriors, team players and evil geniuses. They’re out there 24-7 giving it maximum effort, keeping the natural world in working order for all those showboating polar bears, sharks and gorillas.”
"Underdogs represents an entirely fresh take on the natural history genre that is sure to delight and inform audiences of all ages,” said Courteney Monroe, Nat Geo content president. “With Ryan and Maximum Effort’s irreverent spirit and Wildstar’s award-winning expertise in wildlife storytelling, we have assembled the perfect team to tell the entertaining stories of nature’s unsung heroes with both humor and heart.”
Nat Geo said Reynolds brings “his distinctive voice and humorous take to the natural world through a groundbreaking partnership that bakes humor into the storytelling from the ground up.”
Underdogs is produced by Wildstar Films and Maximum Effort. For Maximum Effort, Ryan Reynolds and George Dewey are executive producers. For Wildstar, Vanessa Berlowitz, Mark Linfield and Dan Rees are executive producers; and Dave Denny is series producer.
“I love nature series and I love making things my kids can actually watch,” said Reynolds. “We’re already having a lot of fun trying to bring a new voice to animal docs. Wildstar has the expertise, experience and cutting-edge film tech to help us chew up that healthy National Geographic budget. We’ll deliver a show that is entertaining, surprising and will do justice to animals usually stuck as supporting cast.”
Talking about the project at TCA in Pasadena, Monroe promised “an entirely fresh take on the genre,” full of “mischief and attitude.” ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.