National Geographic has seven new series on tap for 2020-21, including Genius: Aretha, starring Cynthia Erivo, as well as four feature-length documentary premieres, said Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Television Networks, on Thursday.
Besides the third iteration of Nat Geo’s anthology series, Genius, the network also will debut six-part docuseries 9/11 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks; Breaking Bobby Bones, featuring radio personality Bones; a reimagined version of the Explorer series, which first debuted in 1985; reality-competition series, Race to the Center of the Earth, from the creators of The Amazing Race; and Trafficked with Mariana Van Zeller, premiering in January.
Nat Geo had planned to debut Genius in May but pushed its premiere to fall after production was shut down due to the pandemic.
In addition, the network has Planet of the Whales, featuring the decades-long work of National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry, debuting in April 2021 in tandem with Earth Day.
On the feature doc side, Nat Geo has three coming this fall and one in the winter. Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested’s Blood on the Wall; Rebuilding Paradise, about the deadly fires that swept the Northern California town in 2018; and Saudi Runaway about a young Saudi woman looking to escape her restrictive life are all slated for fall release. Torn, about the journey to reclaim the body of climber Alex Lowe from the Himalayas’ Mount Shishapangma, debuts in January 2021.
“When it comes to our television programming, we are doubling down on what we do best, which is to deliver premium, creatively ambitious programming that connects audiences to the world around them, satisfies their curiosity and transports them to places they may otherwise never go,” said Monroe in a statement.
Sister network Nat Geo Wild will introduce two new series in the fall: Cesar’s Way, starring Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan and Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina. These new series join six returning series, including popular vet show The Incredible Dr. Pol, and a new event, The Puppy Draft, this spring.
According to National Geographic, which was acquired by Disney along with all of 21st Century Fox in March 2019, it reaches 770 million global consumers each month and is the number-one brand on social media with nearly 500 million followers across its platforms. On Instagram alone, Nat Geo claims more than 213 million combined followers across its feeds.
“People’s understanding of the world around them has been shaken. And they are coming to National Geographic in record numbers, I believe, because particularly in times of uncertainty, people flock to brands that they trust. And National Geographic is one of the most trusted and beloved brands in the world,” said Monroe.