National Geographic Channel, hoping to maintain ratings momentum, has for the first time renewed three original series.
The network, also preparing to roll out several other new series this fall, will air sophomore seasons of Megastructures, Naked Science and Seconds From Disaster, said executive vice president of programming John Ford. The 13-episode renewals mark the first time Nat Geo has commissioned new installments of an existing series.
“We’ve had both critical and ratings success for all three strands, which allowed us for the first time to renew our original-series efforts,” Ford said.
Household ratings for Megastructures in 2005 were up 28% over the same time period in 2004, with viewership ahead 43%, according to network officials. Naked Science has scored a 36% ratings gain and a 50% jump in 2-plus delivery, while Seconds from Disaster has recorded advances of 32% and 39%, respectively.
The shows have helped the network — which generated record-breaking ratings performances for five consecutive quarters through the first quarter of this year — stay hot. The record-topping streak ended in the second quarter, but Nat Geo posted a 100% increase to a 0.4 primetime household average in the period.
“It’s an exciting place to be right now, and you can see it in the programs,” Nat Geo senior vice president of production Michael Cascio said. “The network is not only gaining in the ratings, but the quality [of programming] is deep. We bring a lot of depth and detail to the shows.”
This September, Nat Geo will add the 13-episode Science of the Bible. “It’s a series that applies forensic historic and scientific techniques into Biblical times as an attempt to answer the questions about what really happened and what it was really like,” Ford said.
Also premiering this fall: Is It Real?, which puts supernatural phenomena under a scientific magnifying glass.
Ford said the new and recurring series build a solid base of originals from which to attract viewers to specials and other event programming.
Next month viewers will see Inside 9/11, a four-hour miniseries that goes beyond what’s been widely reported about the 2001 terrorist attacks to reveal a clearer picture of the tragic events. “We wanted to take a broader and longer term look at what really happen in the years leading up to and on Sept. 11,” Ford said. “We will do more comprehensive definitive miniseries on important events.”