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National Geographic Channel Strategic Opportunities - September 2007



Series are the by-word at National Geographic Channel (or is it "buy-word"?) more than almost any other network.  They have strands, but need the kinds of series and characters that the DOG WHISPERER is and the viewer identification he can command.  Then again, the more science-y and crime-y programs are  gaining in popularity, too, and are a bigger (and getting bigger) part of their schedule.

Producers should not narrow themselves to the natural history dimension of National Geographic, the Magazine.  Look well beyond"¦and get to know their very diverse schedule.  Science drives it as much as anything. Again, lately, lots of terrorism-related specials, CIA, jailhouse, gang, Biblical, behind the scene-stuff.  HITLER still scores well"¦and anything with ULTIMATE, EXTREME, AMAZING, ASTONISHING. MEGA, FINAL, INSIDE, SECRET, DANGEROUS "¦.all seem to be on their list of programs work better with that kind of prefix."¦.though some that are essentially Nat Geo clip shows are showing some signs of wear. And Crime isn't nearly as wanted as the Steve Burns era begins.


The key here is a fully formed idea with all the sources (as credible as can be, because fact-checking is as thorough as it should be) and a story arc with new information along the way. Without all of that, it will go through too many courteous meetings and reviews, trying to get it to what they need, and it's not, you'll get frustrated trying. Key subject areas remain: Science, natural history, exploration, and history.


Very little on the acquired side, but they will take a look on anything that fits into their remit.


National Geographic prefers to get proposals e-submitted. To submit to National Geographic, visit the website Here are the latest marching orders:

"Welcome to - the place to submit programming ideas to the National Geographic Channel - United States (NGC-US) and National Geographic Channels International (NGCI).

Both networks have gone paperless which means is now the only way to submit your proposals."
Wouldn't bother with a pilot or presentation tape, unless talent is involved (then it's a big YES!)


Like too many other channels these days, National Geographic is going through some personnel changes, too.  Just last  month, Steve Burns made the jump from Discovery to replace John Ford (   (then Ford announces he's returning to Discovery).  As with any change at the top, there might be others behind it, but certainly some sort of change of direction.   No announcements yet, and at MIPCOM, the need still seemed to be in the Science, Technology area.

Take the past mantra as a prologue:  "Natural history, programs to fill the NAKED SCIENCE Strand, a support for DOG WHISPERER, programs like SECONDS FROM DISASTER, etc.""¦And from what we see, that ought to be true. The new prison stuff is great, but one would think they'd want another take on the subject   Crime is on the outs, but religion, archaeology/anthropology and animals of the deadly sort still work and are at the heart of what's being developed.  )

And one animal    came though again, big time:  BEARS.  As we've seen over the past year, almost any bear-related program does above the net's average.  If TABOO is any indication, anything culturally anthropological should have a good shot.

Other topics that were above the average in September:  SCIENCE OF OBESITY; MOONSHINE; ALASKA (does well on Travel Channel, too); extreme weather like GLACIER MELTDOWN; ULTIMATE TSUNAMI (a theme that is globally popular these days) and, of course, TABOO: NUDITY and BODY MODIFICATION and THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE BRA.  Then there are the animals: MONSTER CROC; MONSTER FISH.

Don't forget this"¦in spite of a sister international network with the name ADVENTURE, Nat Geo US is clearly NOT looking for adventure-ish programming.  Nix on travel, too.  And if you have animals, make sure they attack.   Plenty of opportunities for more takes on jails (especially) and that neo-crime stuff.  Animals are fine, and DOG WHISPERER needs more character-driven programs surrounding him, if they're going to continue that show.

So take it from there"¦be very, very patient"¦and try to keep in mind:  This is a BRAND, with a capital "B""¦.and they really are good guys!


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