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Nat Geo Specials returns to PBS

This fall, National Geographic Specials - Nat Geo's flagship series - resumes its place with PBS after a five-year hiatus. The move comes as something of a surprise due to the pending U.S. launch of the Nat Geo channel this winter....
June 1, 2000

This fall, National Geographic Specials – Nat Geo’s flagship series – resumes its place with PBS after a five-year hiatus. The move comes as something of a surprise due to the pending U.S. launch of the Nat Geo channel this winter. Under the terms of the two-year agreement, NG Specials will provide six installments per year (up from the previous commitment of four) and PBS will retain exclusive broadcast rights.

Specials aired on PBS from 1974-1994, until economic considerations forced a move. Michael Rosenfeld, the series’ executive producer, explains: ‘We had underwriting from Chevron – the business climate was very different than what it is today – Chevron decided not to underwrite anymore . . . it became a purely financial decision.’

In the interim years, Specials signed a five-year contract with NBC (a partner in Nat Geo Channels International, along with Fox and NGT), but the U.S. network did not renew. Says Rosenfeld, ‘NBC made a decision to pick up Explorer, our weekly show that had been on Turner Broadcasting, for CNBC.’ As a result, the door was open for a return to PBS.

The first special to air under the new agreement will be US$700,000-plus Return of the Wolf.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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