Reality television already boasts shows about entitled housewives, aspiring chefs and strict nannies — so why not bring natural history and wildlife into the mix?
Indeed, Fox Cable Networks and the National Geographic Channel just inked a deal to launch a new cable network that will focus on programs about animals in the wild, The New York Times reported. The service, a spinoff of the National Geographic Channel, will replace the programming on Fox Reality Channel at the end of March.
Nat Geo Wild, as the new service will be called, will be a product of both Fox and National Geographic ventures. And, it will build on the most popular offerings of National Geographic’s magazine and TV programming: wildlife coverage. Nat Geo Wild first launched three years ago in Europe and Asia, so the new American service will have access to National Geographic’s substantial library of natural history programs, in addition to new shows for an American audience that will feature up-close-and-personal footage of wildlife.
Already on the roster for a spring debut are programs including: Rebel Monkeys, about monkeys in India; a program featuring the naturalist Casey Anderson, who lived with grizzly bears in Montana; Africa’s Lost Eden, about the relocation effort of hundreds of zebras, wildebeest, impala, buffalos and hippos; and Mystery Gorilla, with the female Indiana Jones, Mireya Mayor.
The new channel will be an “extension of the legacy of the brand,” Steven Schiffman, National Geographic Channel’s general manager and executive vice president told the Times. Nat Geo Wild will look very different from the “core Nat Geo channel,” but not all natural history programs will be replaced, he said.
Nat Geo Wild will start this spring, Schiffman said, and will reach an estimated 50 million homes once the program is accepted by cable system operators. Fox executives said they are “very confident” the transition would be smooth and that Nat Geo Wild would be “highly profitable.”
"National Geographic is dedicated to inspiring people to care about the planet by presenting the most compelling and visually dynamic science, exploration and history across all our media platforms," said John Fahey, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, as quoted in Earth Times. "Wildlife programming is core to our brand and with the urgent conservation challenges facing wildlife, this is the right time for us to focus on what is a favorite genre for many."