“Running Wild with Bear Grylls” heads to Nat Geo; NG Wild preps “Animal ER Live”

After four seasons in primetime on American commercial broadcaster NBC, survival and adventure series Running Wild with Bear Grylls has found a new home on National Geographic. Developed by Grylls and Delbert ...
February 11, 2019

After four seasons in primetime on American commercial broadcaster NBC, survival and adventure series Running Wild with Bear Grylls has found a new home on National Geographic.

Developed by Grylls and Delbert Shoopman, each episode of the series features Grylls as he brings a different celebrity along on his adventures in an attempt to push them beyond their limits and see if they can endure the harsh wilderness. The upcoming season will journey to remote locations across the world, including the cliffs of Sardinia, Italy; a glacier in Iceland; the jungles and remote islands of Panama; and the deserts and canyons of Utah.

Running Wild with Bear Grylls is produced by Electus, a Propagate company, and Bear Grylls Ventures. Season five is currently in production and is slated to premiere across Nat Geo in December 2019.

For Electus and Bear Grylls Ventures, Bear Grylls serves as executive producer alongside Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, Rob Buchta and Delbert Shoopman. Bengt Anderson is executive producer for National Geographic.

“I’m so proud to have joined the National Geographic family, whose brand is synonymous with adventure,” said Grylls in a statement regarding the Sunday (Feb. 10) TCA announcement. “Sharing an epic wilderness journey with these world-renowned celebrities and getting to know the human side of them along the way is the magic of this show. Ultimately, we aim to inspire people to break free from their comfort zones and embrace the adventurous spirit that we all possess.”

“This season has the DNA to be the most action packed one yet with bigger and bolder physical challenges, more of Bear’s totally innovative, spur-of-the-moment survival tricks and plenty of gut-wrenching and unforgettable field-inspired ‘dining’ experiences. In addition, we’re creating the most visually immersive, exotic, harrowing and downright beautiful looking season to date,” added Geoff Daniels, EVP of global unscripted entertainment for National Geographic Channels.

Elsewhere, wildlife and natural history Nat Geo Wild has unveiled a forthcoming programming slate featuring new series and specials, returning hits and big stunts.

Anchoring the slate is Animal ER Live, which follows animal emergencies at six of the top animal hospitals across the country in real time. Produced by Big Fish Entertainment, an MGM company, the series is scheduled to premiere Saturday and Sunday nights beginning March 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Animal ER Live is executive produced by Big Fish’s Dan Cesareo, Lucilla D’Agostino, Meghan Spielberg and Richard Hall. For Nat Geo Wild, Tracy Rudolph is executive producer.

The Showrunner Productions-made World’s Cutest, meanwhile, will gather together some of the world’s most adorable animals in an attempt to answer which is the cutest of them all. The 12-part series will debut in June 2019.

The tentatively titled Red Zone Dogs from High Noon Entertainment will document dog behavior specialist Matt Beisner and his work to alter the behaviors of dangerous, aggressive and misunderstood dogs throughout the U.S. The six-part series is scheduled for July 2019.

Painless Television’s six-part Out There with Jack Randall will follow the former Steve Irwin apprentice and zoologist as he searches for exotic, endangered and iconic species – from crocodiles and pythons to endangered green turtles and feral camels – in some of the most unforgiving environments on the planet, including the Australian outback. Out There premieres July 2019.

One-off specials heading to Nat Geo Wild include NHK’s hour-long event special Hunt for the Giant Squid (March 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT), in which marine biologists utilize deep-sea submersibles equipped with cutting edge cameras to explore Antarctica’s Southern Sea for the rarely-seen giant squid; and the two-hour event India’s Wild Cats (Felis Creations; July 2019), which journeys across India to paint an intimate portrait of the country’s disappearing wild cats.

The annual BarkFest weekend celebration of “fur-ever” friends will return for its fifth year with a new Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things special, which will feature funny viral animal videos and never-before-seen clips of animals doing adorable and amazing things. Season two of  Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things will premiere in June 2019.

BarkFest, which returns April 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT through to April 27, will also feature episodes of Unlikely Animal Friends, Alpha Dogs and Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet.

Deadliest Week Ever, meanwhile, will return with head-to-head standoffs and the top battles of the animal kingdom beginning Memorial Day weekend. The week-long event begins on May 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Returning series include season 15 of the National Geographic Studios-made The Incredible Dr. Pol (July 2019); season seven of Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER (Spectrum Productions; Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT); season two of Secrets of the Zoo (Spectrum Productions; May 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT); and season four of Monster Croc Wrangler (WFD Productions; Fall 2019).

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