TCA16: Nat Geo Sets First Scripted Series

Pasadena, Calif. -- National Geographic Channel will develop its first scripted series that will revolve around the global ivory trade, the network said Wednesday during its Television Critics Association press tour.

The series, Blood Ivory, will trace the global web of contraband animals and ivory and its connection to the trafficking of narcotics, people and weapons, said network officials. Joshua Brand (The Americans) has been tapped to write the pilot script. 

 “National Geographic has strived to bring the horrors of the ivory trade to the forefront of the global conversation in recent years,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO of the National Geographic Global Networks. “With Blood Ivory (wt), we are hoping to craft a smart, relevant and riveting drama series that will not only be entertaining under the guidance of some of the best storytellers working today, but also drive home the importance of ending a senseless war on the animal kingdom.”

The network also announced that it will team with Scott Rudin Productions to produce a series based on Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx’s upcoming novel Barkskins. Scott Rudin Productions will produce the series, which would premiere on the National Geographic Channel globally in 171 countries and 45 languages.

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.