Nat Geo Gets Its First Scripted Series


LONDON: National Geographic Channel (NGC) has signed on for its first scripted program, Blood Ivory (working title), while also unveiling its plans for the film event series One Strange Rock and the six-parter Original Sin: How Sex Changed the World.

NCG has inked a development deal with DNA Films & TV (28 Days Later) and FX Productions (Louie) for Blood Ivory, a tentatively titled thriller focused on the massive global ivory trade. The show will mark the network’s first scripted series. The pilot is being penned by Joshua Brand (The Americans).

“National Geographic has strived to bring the horrors of the ivory trade to the forefront of the global conversation in recent years,” said Courteney Monroe, the CEO of the National Geographic Global Networks. “With Blood Ivory (wt), we are hoping to craft a smart, relevant and riveting drama series that will not only be entertaining under the guidance of some of the best storytellers working today, but also drive home the importance of ending a senseless war on the animal kingdom.”

NCG has teamed up with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel and their production company Protozoa Pictures (Requiem for a Dream), along with producer Jane Root (America: The Story of Us) and storytellers Arif Nurmohamed (How to Build a Planet) and Peter Lovering (The 90s: The Last Great Decade) of Nutopia Pictures, for the cinematic event series One Strange Rock. The project, exploring the fragility and wonder of Earth, will film for 100 weeks around the world and in outer space using micro- and macro-photography technology.

“With the superbly creative minds and talents of Darren, Jane, Arif and Peter, we’re going to transport viewers on a mind-bending and thrilling visual adventure that will amaze and surprise,” noted Courteney Monroe, the CEO of National Geographic Global Networks.

One Strange Rock explores how intricate, interwoven and fragile life as we know it is on Earth and how rare it may be in the universe,” said Aronofsky. “The more we appreciate how awe-inspiring the development of life on this planet has been, the more likely we are to become inspired stewards of the home that sustains it.”

“We’re thrilled to once again partner with National Geographic to tell an incredible story about our strange planet,” added Root. “We’re going to combine dramatic visual storytelling and real science to tell the story of our planet Earth and focus on the unbelievable ‘coincidences,’ and the complex, unlikely connections that all had to happen to create complex life.”

In addition, NGC has commissioned World of Wonder to produce the new global series, Original Sin: How Sex Changed the World (working title), which takes a look at the influence of sex in the modern age. The series will use archival footage, animation and interviews with sex experts. It will air globally on Nat Geo this year in 171 countries and 45 languages.

Tim Pastore, the president of original programming and production for National Geographic Channel, stated: “Clearly, sex is necessary for the continuation of our species, but its influence goes well beyond the need to procreate. In the footsteps of our decades-defining series about how pivotal moments, people and innovations shaped the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, we now turn our attention to a subject that was once taboo, but that impacts everything around us. This series will explore the myriad ways sex has evolved in public, from ancient art to being front and center in best-selling novels, technology and politics.”

Fenton Bailey, co-CEO of World of Wonder, added: “Sex is all around us, but it’s something that we seem reluctant to talk about. People decry it, moralize about it and get upset about it, but there are few attempts to understand this powerful and most fundamental of life forces. We feel it is time to cast aside modesty and examine without embarrassment the impact that sex has on our lives.”