Nat Geo builds out team for rebooted ‘Explorer’

National Geographic Channel has tapped former Comedy Central EP Lou Wallach and The IFC Media Project's Nick McKinney and Meghan O'Hara to oversee the revamped series. (Pictured: host Richard Bacon)
July 12, 2016

National Geographic Channel is rebooting flagship science series ‘Explorer‘ as a talk show with help from a former Comedy Central exec.

Lou Wallach, who has worked on The Colbert Report as well as AMC’s The Talking Dead, will showrun and exec produce the series alongside The IFC Media Project co-creators Nick McKinney and Meghan O’Hara.

As previously reported, the new version is due to launch this fall and will be filmed before a live studio audience in New York City with host Richard Bacon (pictured). It will feature a mix of field pieces, in-studio performances, interviews with celebrity and expert guests and roundtable discussions.

Formerly a senior VP of original programming and television and digital development for Comedy Central, Wallach also worked on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Chappelle’s Show.

Meanwhile, McKinney’s television and film credits include The Al Franken Show, Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days, Michael Moore’s The Awful Truth and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

O’Hara has worked on several films with Moore, including the 2004 Cannes Palm d’Or winner Fahrenheit 9/11, and she also directed the upcoming theatrical doc The C Word.

Correspondents set to appear on the new ‘Explorer’ are Bryan Christy (Explorer: Warlords of Ivory), Ryan Duffy (Vice, AOL/Huffington Post), Francesca Fiorentini (AJ+, Al Jazeera Media Network), Jena Friedman (Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Late Show With David Letterman), Justin Hall (Explorer: Battle for Virunga), Billie Mintz (Jesus Town, USA), Tania Rashid (Current TV, Vice News), Tim Samuels (BBC Television) and Baratunde Thurston (Daily Show With Trevor Noah).

The studio-version of ‘Explorer’ is the second reimagining of the long-running documentary strand in the past year.

Last year, Nat Geo brought back ‘Explorer’ as a 12-episode documentary series with episodes pegged to a story in National Geographic magazine. The premiere episode, Explorer: Warlords of Ivory, looked at the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa and last November’s climate change-focused episode starred TV scientist Bill Nye and actor/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The series originally premiered in 1985 and ran for 24 seasons until it was cancelled in 2010 amidst a shift in programming to character-led docuseries.

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Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.