(Washington, D.C. – July 8, 2004) National Geographic Channel (NGC) today announced that the award-winning documentary series National Geographic Explorer will move to the network, with a new season premiering early this winter. The landmark series is known and respected for bringing to cable TV audiences provocative stories of adventure and exploration, world history, international culture, science and natural history.
“Explorer has been on the air for almost 20 years, and it’s far and away the most recognized and popular television franchise for National Geographic,” said Laureen Ong, President, National Geographic Channel. “This is a very important step in further establishing NGC as the primary destination for National Geographic programming, which has been our vision since launching the network.”
Explorer’s move to NGC is the latest milestone in the history of the 3 ½ year old network which now reaches more than 50 million homes across the US. In January, NGC launched a new campaign under the banner “Dare to Explore” and has since realized record ratings and growth, including achieving the network’s highest rated quarter, highest rated day average and highest rated show (“Return to Titanic”). In the most recent quarter, NGC’s average primetime audience was 73% larger than the same time a year earlier, with more than 400,000 people watching on average each night.
The terms of the new agreement include an exclusive three-year deal between NGC and Explorer’s producer, National Geographic Television & Film. “The series belongs on the National Geographic Channel and we’re thrilled to be bringing it home,” said Dennis Patrick, President, National Geographic Ventures. “Explorer’s longevity and continued relevancy is a tribute to the production team, led by Tim Kelly and David Royle.”
“We are continuing to build ratings momentum, and Explorer will be a cornerstone of our programming strategy moving forward. I’ve been a fan of Explorer for 20 years and we’re delighted to be bringing the series home. The entire Explorer team has done a terrific job. Our next step is to challenge ourselves to make this signature series even more powerful,” said John Ford, Executive Vice President, Programming, National Geographic Channel.
National Geographic Explorer, the longest running documentary series on cable TV, has earned more than 400 awards, including 52 Emmy Awards and13 CableACE awards, as well as being nominated for 2 Academy Awards. Additionally, Explorer received eight News & Documentary Emmy Award nominations announced today by NATAS – more than any other program on broadcast television or basic cable. The series premiered in 1985 on Nickelodeon, and moved to TBS in February the following year. In September 1999, the series moved to CNBC and relocated to sister-network MSNBC in October 2001. The series re-launched as “Ultimate Explorer” in June 2003 on MSNBC.
Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National Geographic Television & Film (NGT&F) and Fox Cable Networks. National Geographic Channel debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001, and has been one of the fastest growing networks in history. The Channel has carriage with all of the nation’s major cable and satellite television providers, making it currently available to 50 million homes. For more information, please visit www.nationalgeographic.com/channel.