Technically, John Ford will no longer be a broadcasting maverick come this August, when he steps down from his post as EVP of programming and production at Nat Geo for the wattle and daub world of independent production. Ford will set out to produce both factual and fictional features through a prodco called Bassett Ridge Productions.
After a 14-year stint at Discovery, Ford took the programming reins at Nat Geo in 2003, and has been integral in turning the channel into a viable net from both the viewers’ and advertisers’ point of view. (It should be noted that he did similar things for TLC before coming to Nat Geo.) Consider a few of the programs Ford is, or has been, attached to and you begin to understand the scope of his influence on the channel: The Dog Whisperer, MegaStructures, Explorer, In the Womb, Naked Science, and even Inside 9/11, to name only a scant few. Needless to say, Nat Geo has experienced a significant growth in its ratings base since Ford came aboard.
If success is a function of good sense and better connections, look for Ford to make lots of noise in the indie world.