Nat Geo taps Original, Pilgrim for series

U.S. cable net National Geographic Channel has greenlit two new series: Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? (working title), from Thom Beers' Original Productions, and Wicked Tuna, from Pilgrim Studios.
January 16, 2012

U.S. cable net National Geographic Channel (NGC) has greenlit two new series: Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? (working title), from Thom Beers’ Original Productions, and Wicked Tuna, from Pilgrim Studios .

Original, the Emmy-award winning producers of Deadliest Catch, turn their attention to the American Boy Scout in the new six-episode series, which is slated to premiere later this year.

Production of the series begins this spring, with adults from all walks of life competing with the country’s top Boy Scouts for merit badges in challenges based on the Scouts’ 100-year-old handbook, which includes setting up a campsite, starting a fire and cooking dinner as fast as possible.

Beers said: “I was three badges short of my Eagle Scout badge, and I know I am not alone. This series is going to allow people like me one more chance to achieve such an incredible milestone.  Plus, it’s authentic, has a fun and interesting set of circumstances and underdog characters with a story to tell. And frankly, who doesn’t love the Boy Scouts?”

NGC exec VP of programming Michael Cascio added:  “Partnering not only with Thom Beers, but also with an organization as renowned as the Boy Scouts of America is an incredible opportunity for us to try something different. This series will showcase our passion for adventure and exploration in a whole new way.”

Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout? is executive produced by Beers and Philip D. Segal for Original Productions, while for National Geographic Channel the executive producer is Richard Wells.

Meanwhile, Wicked Tuna, from Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, takes on the cutthroat world of blue-fin tuna fishing in Glouchester, Massachusetts. With a spring premiere set for the U.S. and a global debut later this year, Wicked Tuna follows the captains and crews who invest in catching the elusive fish in hopes of a big cash payout from their sale.

The series focuses on the crews of Tuna.Com, The Bounty Hunter, Hard Merchandise and Odysea. Executive producer Craig Piligian said: “Commercial tuna fishing is brutally competitive.With its limited season, the intelligence and prowess of the fish, and the sheer fact that they’re worth so much, the livelihood of each vessel’s crew can be made or broken in a month.

“Pairing that kind of pressure with the harsh environment of Gloucester makes this one of the most intense and compelling series Pilgrim has ever produced.”

NGC president Howard T. Owens added: “As a huge fan of the movie The Perfect Storm, I have always wanted to make a series that captured the raw authenticity of the characters in that movie. “The tuna crews in this series immediately draw you in to their struggles and triumphs as they fight to make a living. One fish can literally be the difference between feeding your family or filing for bankruptcy.”

Wicked Tuna is executive produced by Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols, while for the National Geographic Channel the exec producer is Lynn Sadofsky.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.