WASHINGTON (Nov. 26, 2012)—Brooke Runnette has been named president of National Geographic Television (NGT), it was announced today by John Fahey, National Geographic Society chairman and CEO, to whom Runnette will report. She succeeds Maryanne Culpepper, whose departure was announced earlier this year.
Runnette is an Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning producer who recently joined the National Geographic Channels from Discovery Channel, where she was executive producer and director of development for specials, including Shark Week. She will transition over the next month from her current position as vice president, development and special projects, at the Channels into the role at NGT.
“Our top priority at National Geographic Television is finding and producing the best content and original programming to support the international growth and influence of our cable channels around the world,” said Fahey. “Brooke joined the National Geographic Channels just as we were searching for the right executive to lead our television production group, and we quickly realized that she was the perfect fit for that key role — with the passion, drive, experience and industry knowledge that can continue and build the National Geographic Television franchise. Brooke’s track record speaks for itself, and we are excited to have her on our team.”
“We were thrilled to have Brooke join National Geographic Channels, and this next step will further our important partnership with National Geographic Television,” added David Lyle, CEO, National Geographic Channels. “The role of NGT in expanding upon our recent success will be critical, and Brooke is exactly the partner we will need to make this happen.”
“I am beyond excited at this incredible opportunity,” said Runnette. “The power of the National Geographic brand is unparalleled, and I look forward to working with the team at NGT in producing relevant, entertaining and powerful programming that becomes part of the television zeitgeist.”
One of Runnette’s first assignments at the National Geographic Channels was related to the network’s key spring 2013 series “The 80’s: The Decade That Made Us,” from Jane Root’s Nutopia, and she will continue to executive produce this important series as she transitions to NGT.
As president of NGT, Runnette will oversee innovative series, big special events and live programming that bring the stories of National Geographic’s scientists, explorers and unique storytellers to the National Geographic Channels. Her vast experience and reputation with the best nonfiction producers and production companies worldwide will enable her to deliver creative, groundbreaking content.
While at Discovery, Runnette put greater emphasis on natural history as part of Shark Week and increased Shark Week ratings. Under her direction, the 2010 Shark Week was the highest rated in the 23-year history of the annual event. She also led efforts within Discovery to work more closely with scientists and conservation organizations such as Oceana and the Pew Charitable Trust’s Global Shark Conservation group.
Other landmark specials Runnette oversaw while at Discovery included “The Kennedy Detail” (nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy Award), Discovery Channel’s 25th Anniversary Week, the Amelia Earhart expeditions and current affairs programming such as “Secrets of Seal Team 6.”
Prior to joining Discovery Channel, she worked at TLC as executive director of programming, where she was executive producer of the hit series “Little People, Big World.”
Runnette was a producer for ABC News’ “Nightline,” and also produced for “Frontline,” CBS’s “60 Minutes II” and for Peter Jennings at ABC News, among others.
About National Geographic Television
National Geographic Television (NGT) is the documentary TV production arm of the National Geographic Society (NGS), known around the world for its remarkable visuals and compelling stories. NGS is one of the largest global scientific and educational organizations, supporting field science on every continent. In 1963 NGT broke ground by broadcasting on American network television the first moving pictures from the summit of Everest. Since then, NGT has continued to push technology to its limits to bring great stories to television audiences worldwide. With more than 138 Emmy Awards and nearly 1,000 other industry accolades, including recognition from the Peabody Awards, DuPont Columbia Awards and highest honors from natural history film festivals, NGT programming can be seen globally on the National Geographic Channels, as well as terrestrial and other cable and satellite broadcasters worldwide, and also on PBS in the United States. Globally, National Geographic Channels are received by more than 440 million households in 38 languages in 171 countries.