Nat Geo Gets Early 'Explorer' Play

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In a rare early-window agreement, National Geographic Channel will repeat an episode of MSNBC's National Geographic Explorer
three months ahead of the usual window.

The March 15 Explorer
episode — about an Afghanistan girl found 17 years after she first appeared on a memorable National Geographic
magazine cover — will air on NGC June 24, said executive vice president of programming, production and news Andrew Wilk.

Typically, NGC can't air Explorer
episodes until six months after they appear on the news-and-information channel, but Wilk said NGC can negotiate earlier windows for specific episodes deemed timely.

"We have certain provisions that allow us to get things earlier from MSNBC," Wilk said. "We'll look to get earlier windows for programming that's really topical."

MSNBC holds U.S. premiere rights to Explorer
through 2004, at which point the show is expected to move to NGC. For now, NGC will seek an earlier window for Explorer
episodes on a case-by-case basis, said Wilk.

Also on June 24, NGC will premiere a one-hour special featuring the plight of animals in Afghanistan's besieged Kabul Zoo, according to Wilk.

The Kabul Zoo Rescue
special is one of several original programs slated for the network over the next six months.

NGC will bow Extinct!, a two-hour special, beginning April 28. Formatted in four 30-minute episodes, the special will examine several extinct animal species using state of the art computer animation, Wilk said.

Also on tap is Pentagon, which provides an exclusive look inside the Washington D.C.-based compound, both before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The two-hour show premieres July 4, Wilk said.

In September, NGC will bow Phobia, an original weekly series exploring the origins and treatment of extreme fears. Each half-hour show focuses on a particular phobia and lets viewers experience the anxiety created by such fears from the phobic' s point of view, officials said.

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