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Nat Geo Channel has U.S. debut…finally!

After promises throughout 2000 for a launch before the year's end, the National Geographic Channel managed to hit the U.S. airwaves a few days after the dawn of 2001.
January 17, 2001

The National Geographic Channel launched in the U.S. on January 7 to an estimated 10 million households. The premiere presentation was a one-hour program titled Heroes for the Planet – A Tribute to National Geographic. Opening night numbers were not available, according to VP of communications Russell Howard, who also claims the channel will not be rated during its first year. The tribute was simulcast on CNBC and re-broadcast later the same evening on Fox News Channel.

Andrew Wilk, executive VP of programming, production and news, says the U.S. National Geographic Channel will eventually differentiate from the international channels but not significantly in the short term. ‘We’re just a little bit younger in our evolution here. We have the brand-new riches of the Geographic archives, as well as the NGT programming that’s been produced under the former banner of PEG. So, we’ve got a bit of a honeymoon period that we’re very happy about.’

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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