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The Watchman: Nat Geo Ready to ‘Rock,’ Food ‘Exposed’ on Fusion

One Strange Rock debuts on National Geographic March 26, the 10-part event series telling the story of this planet we call Earth. Helping tell it is an assembly of astronauts, including Peggy Whitson, Mike Massimino and Leland Melvin.

“My fellow astronauts and I are your storytellers throughout the season,” Melvin said, “weaving our own personal experiences in space into each episode about our phenomenal Earth.”

Executive producer Jane Root said the idea to have astronauts host the episodes came from consulting executive Vanessa Berlowitz. The idea came to Berlowitz in the middle of the night. She reached out to Root, talking about the “people who have seen the planet in really original and different ways, who understood how wonderful and amazing it was” and people who have a “unique, emotional connection to the planet,” Root said.

Will Smith hosts One Strange Rock. Root said Smith was ideal to host because “he communicates joy in everything he does,” and “there’s a lot of joy at the heart of One Strange Rock.”

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky executive-produced One Strange Rock alongside Root. Having a big movie person on board — Aronofsky’s films include Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream — “pushed us to up our game in terms of visuals,” said Root.

And Food Exposed With Nelufar Hedayat premieres on Fusion March 27. Hedayat has a corps of celeb activists pitching in with reporting, including James Cromwell, Nicole Richie, Moby and Jeremy Irons. The engaging host described the show as a “passion call” for the stars.

She singled out Cromwell for always being willing to stand up for key issues. “He’s really passionate about his activism,” Hedayat said. “He’ll be chained to a tree, he’ll be arrested. His tenacity is infectious.”

The premiere investigates the amount of food that goes to waste around the globe, and includes a dumpster-diving excursion in Manhattan that shows just how much edible grub gets tossed out.

Afghanistan-born, U.K.-raised Hedayat said younger folks are “incredibly curious” about the food they eat. “Young people of all ages, colors and creeds are keen to know where their food comes from, and what it costs, in terms of what it costs the planet,” she said. “There’s definitely a yearning for information.”

Hedayat previously hosted The Traffickers on Fusion, and noted the impact the show had when it shifted to Netflix. “My social media blew up,” she said. “The Netflix effect is just astounding.”

She hopes Food Exposed will prompt viewers to learn more about the food they eat. “Whatever of these issues are important to you, Google it, find out more,” said Hedayat. “Find your tribe and get involved.”

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

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.