Things are going to get a little wild for Fox Reality Channel: the 47-million household network will become Nat Geo Wild next year.
The spinoff of the National Geographic Channel will occupy the channel position currently occupied by Fox Reality Channel, which is expected to drop its programming slate on March 31.
With its evolution, Fox Reality Channel joins Fine Living and BET J as networks that are assuming rebranded identities. BET and MTV Neworks late last month coverted BET J into a 32-million subscriber network targeting African-Americans ages 25 to 54, competing against TV One. For its part, Scripps Networks Interactive last week announced that it would rebrand Fine Living into Cooking Channel, as a companion to Food Network in third quarter 2010.
Like Nat Geo Channel itself, Nat Geo Wild is a joint venture between Fox Cable Networks and National Geographic Ventures. It will place a heavy emphasis on nature and wild animal programming, which has been popular on Nat Geo. The animal-centric service already has a presence in about 50 countries around the world, with launches in France , Germany, Australia and Latin America in the past year.
The network, which will offer video-on-demand fare and be available in both standard- and high-definition formats, is the first to be imported from overseas to the U.S. market and programmed globally by a single executive. Geoff Daniels, senior vice president of development and production for National Geographic Channels International. Over the past four years, he has been in charge of programming for Nat Geo Wild, reporting to executive vice presidents of content for NGC and NGCI, Steve Burns and Sydney Suissa, respectively.
Stateside, Nat Geo Wild will be managed by Nat Geo Channel general manager Steve Schiffman.