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Upfronts 2017: Nat Geo Continues Scripted Series Exploration

National Geographic will step up its scripted series lineup with three new projects currently in development, the network announced during its upfront presentation Wednesday.

The new projects include The Birth of The Pill, which follows four crusaders who fought to make safe and effective contraception available to millions of women; The Hot Zone, which focuses on the origins of the Ebola virus; and an Untitled Nat Geo Project from Marti Noxon’s Tiny Pyro Productions (Sharp Objects, UnReal), which chronicles two production teams shooting National Geographic’s first TV documentaries in Siberia and Australia, said the network.

The shows joins the Albert Einstein-themed Genius, which was renewed for a second season (with different subject matter) prior to its April 25 premiere, and the blended drama and docuseries Mars, also renewed for a second season, in Nat Geo’s scripted series portfolio.

On the unscripted front, the network has teamed with Shawn "Jay Z" Carter and the Weinstein Company on a six-episode documentary series Race, which looks at systemic injustices in America, as well as with TV journalist Katie Couric on an as yet titled, six-part documentary series that focuses on interviews with thought leaders shaping pivotal topics across the globe. Also, actress Jane Lynch has been tapped to host Nat Geo’s Earth Live event airing July 9 on Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild, said network officials.

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(Photo Credit: Ben Hider/National Geographic/PictureGroup)

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.