Nat Geo ‘Explorer’ finds a new home

After two years with CNBC, National Geographic 'Explorer' will switch over to MSNBC in October.
August 2, 2001

National Geographic’s adventure strand ‘Explorer’ will end its two-year run on cable channel CNBC in October, when it shifts over to sister cablecaster MSNBC. According to an MSNBC spokesperson, the impetus behind the decision was compatibility. ‘It made sense to switch ‘Explorer’ from CNBC, which is primarily a business news channel, to MSNBC,’ he says. ‘It’s a better fit with a 24-hour news channel that depends on long-form programming when we’re not in a major news cycle.’ He also notes that ‘Explorer’ is better suited to MSNBC’s audience demo, which skews younger (adults 25 to 54) than CNBC’s (55, on average).

While the decision to switch broadcast outlets was initiated by NBC, David Royle, senior VP of production and ‘Explorer’ exec producer, sees the move as a positive one. ‘It’s certainly one of my goals to make sure our programming appeals to a younger audience and this will help us to do that.’

The terms of the agreement will not change, and National Geographic remains committed to producing 48 new episodes of ‘Explorer’ this year. Royle says the upcoming season will be marked by more stylistic variety, ranging from classic wildlife shows to investigative journalism. With a cautious nod to the influence of reality TV, he adds, ‘['Explorer'] is a bit more rough and real than National Geographic would have done perhaps 10 or even five years ago… You see when people are worn down and fed up. It is not an expedition that is covered as if everything goes well.’

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.