National Geographic Channel has a new crop of shows on the horizon. Recently, the network announced they are developing three new scripted TV series, including The Birth of the Pill and The Hot Zone.
From R.J. Cutler, The Birth of the Pill chronicles the development of the first birth control pill and “follows feminist icon Margaret Sanger and philanthropist Katherine McCormick, who campaigned for women’s rights and championed birth control, enlisting the help of visionary scientist Gregory Pincus and Catholic OB/GYN John Rock.”
Based on the book by Richard Preston, The Hot Zone “recounts the terrifying true story of the origins of the Ebola virus, a highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest and its first arrival on U.S. soil.”
Nat Geo’s third, untitled TV project will explore how National Geographic Channel became a network. The scripted series will chronicle the 1960s production of Nat Geo’s first TV documentaries in Siberia and Australia.
Read more details about all three projects below:
(WASHINGTON, DC – April 19, 2017) – This past year, National Geographic, renowned for its original nonfiction storytelling, exemplified its rebranded “Further” tagline with the genre-busting part-scripted/part-documentary series MARS and the network’s forthcoming first-ever fully scripted series GENIUS. Now, the network reveals three new scripted development projects from some of the world’s most renowned storytellers and announces new showrunner Dee Johnson to oversee the second season of MARS.
“This scripted development slate further solidifies our commitment to developing diverse projects with themes and issues that resonate and are relevant to our audience. It proves that entertaining and smart are not mutually exclusive,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks. “We are working with the best storytellers in the world to tell these very human stories that we hope will create global conversation and change the way viewers look at the world around them.”
“The cornerstone of our scripted programming strategy is to work with the best creative minds in the industry to deliver the authenticity that is inherent to the National Geographic brand,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president and head of global scripted development and Production, National Geographic. “Whether we’re telling the dramatic history of the creation of the birth control pill, the terrifying true story of the discovery of the Ebola virus a stone’s throw from the White House or mining the complicated personal and professional life of a world-renowned genius, we want our fact-based scripted storytelling to reflect the complexity, unpredictability and entertainment value inherent in the best scripted drama.”
In the year ahead, the network’s slate of scripted development includes the following three titles, which chronicle true stories that have made headlines and redefined human experience and culture in the past century.
New Scripted Development Slate:
*All working titles
THE BIRTH OF THE PILL: HOW FOUR CRUSADERS REINVENTED SEX AND LAUNCHED A REVOLUTION (From Sonar Entertainment, Producer/Director R.J. Cutler and Executive Producers Denise DiNovi and Alison Greenspan)
It has been called the only product in American history so powerful that it needed no name. Today we know it simply as “the pill,” but it was made possible only through the efforts of four larger-than-life figures. Adapted from Jonathan Eig’s 2014 book, “The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution,” the series follows feminist icon Margaret Sanger and philanthropist Katherine McCormick, who campaigned for women’s rights and championed birth control, enlisting the help of visionary scientist Gregory Pincus and Catholic OB/GYN John Rock. Together, the four took on the scientific establishment, the church and cultural norms in their fight to make safe and effective contraception available to millions of women. The Birth of the Pill is a thrilling recounting of the development of a drug that forever changed medical and social history.
THE HOT ZONE (Lynda Obst Productions, Fox 21 Television Studios, Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Jeff Vintar and Scott Free Productions)
Based on the eponymous international bestseller by Richard Preston, The Hot Zone recounts the terrifying true story of the origins of the Ebola virus, a highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest and its first arrival on U.S. soil. In 1989, when this killer suddenly appears in chimpanzees in a scientific lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. — a stone’s throw away from the White House — there is no known cure. A heroic U.S. Army veterinarian, working with a secret military SWAT team, puts herself in mortal peril when she tries to head off the outbreak before it spreads to the human population. The Hot Zone is a dramatic, hair-raising account of a rare and lethal virus and its impact on the human race.
UNTITLED NAT GEO PROJECT (Skydance Productions, Erik Jendresen, Tiny Pyro Productions)
How did National Geographic become a network? This scripted series, from Marti Noxon’s Tiny Pyro Productions (“Sharp Objects,” “UnReal”) and writer Erik Jendresen (“Band of Brothers,” Killing Lincoln), travels back to the 1960s when an intrepid field producer is put in charge of two ragtag production teams shooting Nat Geo’s first TV documentaries in Siberia and Australia. Both teams must brave espionage, scandal and hostile environments in an attempt to bring Nat Geo’s arresting global storytelling to the new media age.
What do you think? Do you watch Nat Geo? Would you watch any of these series?
I will be very interested in the Hot Zone, read the book when it first came out almost 25 years ago, then last year when that latest outbreak happened.