Today’s announcement of the upcoming launch of Nat Geo Wild in spring of 2010 draws to an end the speculation regarding Fox Cable Networks’ plans to replace its Fox Reality Channel, which ends its run on March 31 of next year.
In an interview with realscreen, Fox Reality Channel president David Lyle confirmed that the new channel coming to Fox would be ‘a channel that’s based on a brand that is known.’ While some of the rumors surrounding the new channel had placed it squarely as a branded entertainment initiative, Lyle said that it would be ‘a subset of a brand that would in itself appeal strongly and immediately to an audience.’
The new cabler, stemming from the Nat Geo Wild brand that’s already well established in Europe and Asia, is a joint venture between Fox Cable Networks (FCN) and National Geographic Ventures (NGV). It will be dedicated to a mix of blue chip programming and series that the partners call ‘extraordinary natural history programming,’ available in both standard and HD live feeds and video on demand to all distributors.
‘The domestic launch of Nat Geo Wild is another step in the strategic evolution of our national cable channels,’ said Fox Cable Networks president Rich Battista. ‘We continually look to develop content extensions for our diverse portfolio of networks, and National Geographic is one of the world’s iconic brands – offering a slate of exceptional shows that can be enjoyed by the entire family.’
‘Technological developments, especially high definition, have allowed us to tell fantastic stories of our natural world in more compelling and engaging ways than ever before,’ said David Haslingden, CEO National Geographic Channels Worldwide and Fox International Channels. ‘I’m delighted the channel is coming to America and enormously optimistic about its growth here and around the world.’
Geoff Daniels, senior vice president of Development & Production for National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) for four years, has been named executive in charge of programming for Nat Geo Wild. He’ll repor to executive vice presidents of content for NGC and NGCI, Steve Burns and Sydney Suissa, respectively. The new channel will be managed in the United States by GM Steve Schiffman.
Among the programs slated for the channel’s launch are: Africa’s Lost Eden, Casey Anderson Programs, Rebel Monkeys, Mystery Gorilla and National Geographic’s Wildest Moments.