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February 20, 2019

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TCAs: What’s Coming Up in U.S. Factual
By Kristin Brzoznowski

***ZDFE Factual***The U.S. factual networks revealed a slew of new highlights during the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour last week, touting everything from live events to big-name presenters to buzzy wildlife docs.

Discovery Channel, for one, unveiled Serengeti, which comes from American Idol creator Simon Fuller and multi-award-winning wildlife filmmaker John Downer. The landmark series follows the stories of a cast of African wildlife over the course of a year, showcasing the dramatic moments that make each day of survival on the Serengeti a feat.

The channel is also planning the live two-hour multiplatform event Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live (working title). The programming stunt will be hosted by adventurer and explorer Josh Gates, who will be joined by Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt. It promises viewers a look inside the inner chambers of an excavation site, where archeologists recently uncovered a network of vertical shafts leading to an underground network of tunnels and tombs with 40 mummies believed to be part of the noble elite. Sure to be a highlight, there is a mysterious limestone sarcophagus that was found buried deep within the complex of chambers, and the identity of the mummy inside has been a mystery for 3,000 years—possibly until now.

National Geographic, meanwhile, revealed itself as the new home of Running Wild with Bear Grylls (which had been airing on NBC). Nat Geo already has a relationship with the well-known adventurer, as he serves as host and narrator of the network’s upcoming natural-history series Hostile Planet.

National Geographic is ramping up its natural-history programming as well. Among the additions to the lineup are America, a six-episode series that paints a portrait of contemporary America, and Planet of the Whales, which will be filmed for more than two and a half years, in 24 locations, to reveal the life of five different whale species.

Also looking to make some noise in the live space, Nat Geo is bringing back Yellowstone Live. The live broadcast that garnered 13 million viewers in its debut last summer will return to the nation’s most cherished national park this June. The four-night live event promises to showcase even more of the wildlife and vistas the greater Yellowstone ecosystem has to offer.

Nat Geo has teamed up with Procter & Gamble on Activate, a new multiplatform storytelling partnership and six-part documentary series. Premiering globally this fall on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages, the Activate series will focus on extreme poverty, inequality and sustainability issues to mobilize global citizens to drive meaningful and lasting change. It will be bolstered by custom content distributed across National Geographic’s social, digital, linear and print channels. The series will feature celebrity activists such as Uzo Aduba, Rachel Brosnahan, Hugh Jackman, Gayle King, Usher and Pharrell Williams.

This article continues here.

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Price Ranges: The high and low prices for a broad range of documentary and factual genres.
Analysis: Determining Prices: A look at how the price ranges are determined, and general trends in how broadcasters are valuing shows today.
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Analysis: Dealing with OTTs: Perspectives on working with nonlinear platforms and their evolving business models.

World Screen also offers Program Price Guides for scripted programming and kids' programming. The Factual Program Price Guide is available for $149, and all three reports are available to download for a special introductory price of $389.

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This Week's Top 5

Objective Media Group Teams with Shine’s Jonny Meenagh

Objective Media Group (OMG) is launching a brand-new creative label with Jonny Meenagh, Shine’s head of development, that will be dedicated to non-scripted content.

Serengeti, Wild Metropolis Score Global Presales

BBC Studios has signed up a raft of global presales on Serengeti, created by Simon Fuller, and Wild Metropolis, from the BBC Studios Natural History Unit.

MTV International Greenlights 4 Short-Form Digital Series

MTV and Viacom Digital Studios International have greenlit four new short-form originals, including a remake of Singled Out.

eOne Secures International Rights to Hulu’s Fyre Fest Doc

Entertainment One (eOne) has acquired the international rights to Fyre Fraud, Hulu’s feature-length original documentary about the failed music festival in the Bahamas.

Hulu Premiering Air Jordan Documentary

Hulu, through a deal with Lionsgate, has picked up Air Jordan documentary Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1, which began streaming exclusively on the platform today (February 14).


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