At last year's upfront, National Geographic Channel was in
the midst of transitioning its programming strategy from one-off specials to
character-fronted series, and having seen its ratings grow 22% among adults
25-54 in 2012, it enters this year's upfront with something new - returning
The network on Monday announced five series to return for
the 2013-14 season: Doomsday Preppers,
Wicked Tuna, Diggers, Alaska State
Troopers and Night of Exploration.
It has also preemptively renewed two series yet to premiere - April's Brain Games and May's Ultimate Survival Alaska - for second
In the hopes of building on that momentum, Nat Geo has also
ordered four new series including Building
Wild, the network's take on a DIY show where Paul DiMeo (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) helps
people build wilderness retreats. Other series are Die Trying, featuring men and women pushing the limits of adventure,
endurance and possibility in the name of science; cutting edge inventions pitted
against each other in Showdown of the
Unbeatables; and The Legend of Mick
Dodge following the titular man who lives off the land and off the grid in
the Pacific Northwest, and whom execs hope will be a transformative character
for the channel.
"I think every channel needs them in today's competitive
marketplace. We think that Mick Dodge is that guys for us," NGC president
Howard T. Owens says of the man who has lived in the wild for the last 25
years. "I like to think of [the series] as Forrest
Gump meets Middle Earth."
Nat Geo will follow up on 2012's record-breaking Killing Lincoln movie with Killing Kennedy, also based on the book by
Bill O'Reilly, which details the events leading up to the assassination of JFK.
Also on tap is the special Miracle on the
Hudson, which goes inside Captain Sully's historic landing on the Hudson
Lincoln was Nat
Geo's first scripted production and as it ranked as the network's highest-rated
broadcast ever, it "proved that we could offer up National Geographic Channel
subject matter in a variety of contemporary ways," said Nat Geo CEO David Lyle.
As such, NGC has ordered the scripted American Blackout, a found-footage style movie which explores what happens
after a cyberattack takes out the East Coast power grid. Fittingly, the
two-hour event will lead in to the third season premiere of Doomsday Preppers.
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