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.’