National Geographic Channel has greenlit three high-profile science programs, including a late-night talk show hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson (pictured).
Due to premiere globally in April, Star Talk is being billed as the network’s first talk show. It is based on the Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey host’s podcast of the same name and will be taped in front of a studio audience at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium (where Tyson serves as director).
The format will feature celebrities, comedians and scientists discussing “cosmic topics” such as space travel, extraterrestrial life and the environment. National Geographic Studios is producing.
In addition to the official announcements, president of original programming and production Tim Pastore and CEO Courteney Monroe confirmed to reporters during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena yesterday (January 7) that National Geographic Channel will bring back the documentary series Explorer this summer. The Emmy-winning program aired for 25 years before being pulled five years ago.
In recent years, National Geographic Channel shifted its programming focus to character-led docuseries but execs are now signaling a renewed interest in science. Monroe told the Associated Press that the network is “going to get back into that business and claim what is rightfully ours.”
The two-hour special Dino Autopsy will mix visual effects with palentology expertise to build and then dissect a full-size, anatomically correct Tyrannosaurus Rex with the aid of veterinary surgeons, anatomists and paleontologists. The special is being produced by Impossible Factual and will air globally this summer.
National Geographic Studios is also teaming up with Silicon Valley producer Altschuler & Krinsky Works, and Parks and Recreation prodco 3Arts Entertainment, on the miniseries The History of the World.
The show, which is slate to premiere in the fall, is still in the early stages of production. It will combine comedy, animation and documentary storytelling to recount how the world came into existence, how it was populated, the evolution of man and the origins of spirituality, money, leisure, sports, hygiene and entertainment.
Finally, the premiere of Star Talk will be accompanied by the one-hour special Hubble’s Cosmic Journey, which will mark 25 years since the Hubble Space Telescope began orbiting earth. The special is narrated by Tyson and is being produced by Bigger Bang. It will air globally on National Geographic Channel this spring.
“As we continue to develop and evolve our brand, we’re always looking to push style and format boundaries,” Pastore said in a statement, “and History of the World is the perfect example.”
Since becoming National Geographic Channel’s president of original programming and production last year, Pastore has worked to broaden the channel’s scope into food programming with the miniseries Eat: The Story of Food, and action and adventure by lining up a slew of survival series for 2015.