U.S. net Nat Geo Wild is teaming up with BBC Worldwide America to coproduce a six-part natural history event, 24/7 Wild, and has separately secured carriage in Canada via Shaw Media.
The 24/7 Wild deal comes as UK public broadcaster BBC1 will this month broadcast one of its biggest wildlife television events to date, Planet Earth Live. Billed as resulting from more than 10 years of innovation in techniques and formats, the special event will broadcast animal stories from around the world live, as “critical events in the animal kingdom” unfold, with more than 150 wildlife experts and filmmakers strategically positioned around the globe.
As part of the coproduction deal, Nat Geo Wild has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the series in the United States. Domestically, the programming event will be called 24/7 Wild and the U.S. broadcasts will air live-to-tape shortly after the international premieres, beginning May 7 at 9 p.m. EST.
Matt Forde, exec VP of sales and coproductions for BBC Worldwide, said: “This outstanding new format is sure to pique the interest of natural history fans with its compelling as-live, voyeuristic component. Nat Geo Wild is the perfect coproduction partner to help bring these stories to life.”
Meanwhile in Canada, Nat Geo has secured carriage for Nat Geo Wild via Shaw Media, after more than two years of negotiations.
Shaw originally had its April 2010 application to launch the channel rejected, following objections from HDTV and CTV that the new net would compete with their respective Oasis HD and Animal Planet channels.
The digital channel will now launch on May 7, with a launch slate including Human Shark Bait (premiering May 8), Wild Mississippi (May 21), America the Wild (May 17) and Live like an Animal (June 4).
“Canadians have a remarkable appetite for family-friendly wildlife programming,” said Paul Robertson, president of Shaw Media. “No other channel offers such spectacular cinematography and stunning HD picture quality as National Geographic provides.”
Finally, Nat Geo Wild has commissioned UK indie Windfall Films to produce Animal Superpowers (3 x 60-minutes), a series hosted by actor Sir Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation).
The series investigates the abilities of some of nature’s deadliest animals; from shape-shifting octopuses that change the color of their skin to salamanders that have the ability to re-grow lost limbs. The series begins premiering this month on Nat Geo Wild in both the UK and U.S.
“While mutants and superheroes may dominate the summer blockbuster scene, we need look no further than our own natural world to find some of the most extraordinary, calculating abilities – from electrifying eels to colossally strong alligators,” said Nat Geo Wild senior VP Geoff Daniels, who commissioned the series.
“And we couldn’t ask for a better guide than Sir Patrick Stewart to introduce Nat Geo Wild’s audience to the planet’s most amazing, real-life Animal Superpowers.”
The series is executive produced by Carlo Massarella and David Dugan, and produced and directed by Tom Cook and Roeland Doust for Windfall Films.