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Nat Geo greenlights natural history trio

The second season of Running Wild with Bear Grylls will air on Nat Geo

US cablenet National Geographic has unveiled three new natural history series and specials as well as a renewal for summer event series Yellowstone Live.

The slate is led by America, a six-part series slated to premiere in 2021, being produced by Mark Linfield, Vanessa Berlowitz, Dan Rees, Hugh Pearson and Tom Stephens.

The series will travel across America from the frozen north to the Pacific coast and wild west, looking at their distinctive characters and wildlife.

Planet of the Whales, meanwhile, is also set for a 2021 premiere and is produced by National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry and Red Rock Films.

The four-part series is being filmed over two-and-a-half years in 24 locations, looking at the lives of five different whale species.

Photo Ark is a two-hour event special due to air in 2020 from National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore and public broadcaster WGBH-Boston.

The special follows Sartore’s Photo Ark campaign, a 25-year documentary project designed to save species and habitat.

Aretha Franklin

UK-based indie Plimsoll Productions will again work on Yellowstone Live this summer, with a four-night event series premiering in June.

The announcements came ahead of National Geographic’s presentation to the TCA winter tour over the weekend. Shows unveiled in that presentation included Activate, a six-part docuseries coproduced by Global Citizen and RadicalMedia which focuses on extreme poverty, inequality and sustainability in global populations.

Each episode in the series features activists such as Hugh Jackman, Uzo Aduba, Common, Pharell Williams and Rachel Brosnahan, who delve into a different issue connected to the root causes of poverty, chronicling real-life stories and making calls to action.

The Right Stuff is the factual network’s latest dip into scripted programming, meanwhile.

The adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s best-selling book, from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television, recounts a pioneering chapter in the space race.

Production begins in the autumn and the show will focus on the lives of three ambitious astronauts who become instant celebrities through the Project Mercury competition run by Nasa at the height of the Cold War in 1958.

Subsequent seasons of The Right Stuff will carry through to the Apollo programme, which led to man walking on the moon, and missions beyond.

The new season of NBC’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls will get its second run on Nat Geo, while Grylls is also fronting previously announced original commission Hostile Planet for the network.

A third instalment of Nat Geo’s Genius franchise is in the works, focusing on singer Aretha Franklin, with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard again executive producing and Fox 21 Television Studios producing. Previous seasons had focused on Einstein and Picasso.

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