NGC Stays Close to Brand with New Programming

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National Geographic Channel will look to build on its recent ratings success with a slate of new series and specials focusing on science, nature and technology.

President Laureen Ong said the 64 million-subscriber network will look to engage its target 25- to 54-year old audience with nature and science-based shows like its Explorer series that remain true to the National Geographic brand, but also employ science and popular-culture series like its popular Dog Whisper series that appeal to younger audiences.

The network also hopes build on its average 0.5 Nielsen Media Research household rating garnered through the first quarter to date. In a testament to its ratings prowess, 11 of its shows that have aired since January have drawn a 1.0 rating or better, including its March 18 Galapagos three-hour special.

Last year the network had a total of 12 shows reach that benchmark.

Original series slated to launch later this year include The Building, a limited series that follows the construction of a major Los Angeles skyscraper; and Situation Critical, which provides an in-depth view of some of the world’s most dangerous situations.

New original specials on the docket include Dino Autopsy, which chronicles the study of a recently discovered mummified dinosaur; Incredible Human Machine, a CGI-technology-enhanced show that takes an in-depth look at the human body; and Six Degrees That Will Change the World, which depicts the catastrophic consequences of global warming.

Other specials on tap include Seven Wonders of the Cosmos, which takes a look at the solar system; Superpride, which follows the habits and lives of a lion family; Human Footprint, which takes a look at how human behavior affects the world we live in; and Fight Science II, a sequel to the 2006 special that examines the physics behind combat fighting techniques, NGC executives said.

In other NGC news, the network is close to reaching an agreement with Cablevision Systems for distribution of its upstart HD channel, according to executives close to the deal.

Cablevision would join Comcast Cable, Echostar Communications and DirecTV in carrying the two-month old channel, which simulcasts the linear network in HD.

Officials from Cablevision and National Geographic would not comment on the matter.