National Geographic Renews ‘Life Below Zero’, ‘Wicked Tuna’ Franchises; Sets ‘Explorer’ & 10th Annual ‘Sharkfest’ Specials – Upfront
National Geographic will bring back a number of franchise titles for the 2021-2022 season. During its upfront presentation on Tuesday, National Geographic revealed that has handed renewals to its Life Below Zero and Wicked Tuna franchises. Also set to return for new seasons are adventure shows Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, and Trafficked with Mariana Van Zeller.
The documentary network has also set the return for its annual Sharkfest special, marking its 10th anniversary on Nat Geo. It was also revealed that Good Morning America co-anchors Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan will join National Geographic for Explorer, a special produced in partnership with ABC News.
See National Geographic’s complete renewal slate below.
GORDON RAMSAY: UNCHARTED
Renewed for Season Four (Studio Ramsay)
Gordon Ramsay laces his boots, grabs his knives and buckles up as he hits the road to embark on more exhilarating adventures, exploring world cultures through food in National Geographic’s GORDON RAMSAY: UNCHARTED. The multiple Michelin-starred chef and Ironman athlete feasts his way around the globe—risking life and limb in daring missions—in pursuit of culinary inspiration and edible excellence. In the most ambitious and far-reaching season yet, Ramsay partakes in culinary customs, learns about delicious delicacies and tastes fresh flavors unique to each region under the guidance of the local experts and food legends he meets along the way. GORDON RAMSAY: UNCHARTED is executive produced by Gordon Ramsay, Lisa Edwards, Jon Kroll and Tom Willis for Studio Ramsay.
LIFE BELOW ZERO, LIFE BELOW ZERO: NEXT GENERATION and PORT PROTECTION, ALASKA
LIFE BELOW ZERO Renewed for Season 15 (BBC Studios)
LBZ: NEXT GENERATION Renewed for Season Two
LBZ: PORT PROTECTION Renewed for Season Four
The common theme in LIFE BELOW ZERO and PORT PROTECTION, ALASKA is people who have left traditional society behind. They have chosen a different life, with varying degrees of danger and challenges, in their remote regions of Alaska. In LIFE BELOW ZERO: NEXT GENERATION, an all-new cast has abandoned contemporary life in favor of freedom in the brutal Alaskan wilderness. They speak to the growing dissatisfaction the current generation has with technology and convenience, which is ubiquitous in modern life. Cameras capture the cast members as they rush to prepare for and survive the frozen months of winter to the spring thaw. Executive Producers are Travis Shakespeare and Joseph Litzinger for BBC Studios.
RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS
Renewed for Nat Geo Season Three (Electus, a Propagate Company and The Natural Studios)
Last season, the hit outdoor adventure series RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS found its new home on National Geographic with bigger action and wilder destinations than ever before. World-renowned survivalist Bear Grylls returns for another season, leading a brand-new slate of celebrities into the wildest corners of the planet for epic, life-changing adventures that will challenge their perceived limitations. Each week, a new celebrity guest leaves the luxury of their homes to join Bear for a no-holds-barred journey through some of the most extreme environments in the world. Together, they must rely on bushcraft techniques to survive each dangerous location while pushing through both mental and physical limits to face ambitious obstacles that will make even the bravest shudder. RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS is produced by Electus, a Propagate Company, and The Natural Studios. For Electus and The Natural Studios, Bear Grylls serves as executive producer along with Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, Liz Schulze, Rob Buchta and Delbert Shoopman.
TRAFFICKED WITH MARIANA VAN ZELLER (Previously Announced)
Renewed for Season Two (Muck Media)
Award-winning journalist Mariana van Zeller continues her harrowing exploration into the underworld’s most dangerous black markets. Armed with National Geographic’s trademark inside access, each episode follows Mariana as she works her way inside a different black market or global trafficking network—from meth, marijuana and stolen cars to outlaw bikers clubs and Amazon mafias—where she meets the players and learns the business, all in an effort to understand the inner workings of the world’s multitrillion-dollar shadow economy. For Muck Media, executive Producers are Mariana van Zeller, Darren Foster and Jeff Plunkett.
WICKED TUNA and WICKED TUNA: OUTER BANKS
WICKED TUNA Renewed for Season 11 (Pilgrim Media Group)
WICKED TUNA: OUTER BANKS Renewed for Seasons Eight & Nine
National Geographic’s hit series WICKED TUNA is back on the high seas. Follow a group of salty commercial fishermen from the nation’s oldest seaport in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as they earn their living through rod-and-reel fishing in pursuit of the prized bluefin tuna. Later this year, the popular spinoff WICKED TUNA: OUTER BANKS returns. WICKED TUNA: OUTER BANKS follows a southern fleet of top captains battling to catch bluefin in the dangerous waters off the coast of North Carolina. This season, they face the most treacherous weather in the series’ history, and captains must work together to catch the elusive bluefin. WICKED TUNA is executive produced by Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols, and co-executive produced by Lorene Machado for Pilgrim Studios.
TENTH ANNUAL SHARKFEST
Renewed for Summer 2022
National Geographic’s 10th annual SHARKFEST takes you up close and personal with one of nature’s most feared—and often misunderstood—predators. The frenzy of SHARKFEST programming is sure to captivate viewers with truth that is stranger than fiction, from the latest developments in shark research and preservation to new ways to predict shark attacks.
(ABC News and Lincoln Square Productions)
National Geographic’s EXPLORER, a hallmark of Nat Geo storytelling since it first launched in 1985, is set to return this upfront season as a series of specials produced in partnership with ABC News, who will bring familiar faces to the series. GMA co-anchors Michael Strahan and Robin Roberts follow the progress of the expeditions, especially at critical turning points. Earlier this year, EXPLORER embarked on two groundbreaking scientific expeditions—one above the Earth and one below. An elite climbing team guided by Alex Honnold, the professional climber of critically acclaimed feature doc FREE SOLO, will be the first to ascent up 1,000 feet of sheer rock to the top of Tepui, a remote “island in the sky” deep in the Amazon jungle. Their mission is to deliver 80-year-old National Geographic Explorer and biologist Bruce Means in search of undiscovered species. Then in the other expedition, Dr. Bill Stone, one of the most experienced caver in the world, has a lifelong quest to hold the record for going deeper beneath the Earth than any human. Stone will lead an expedition to the bottom of the Cheve Cave, 8,000+ feet underneath Mexico’s Sierra Juarez mountains. EXPLORER will cover timely topics, a featured magazine story and more, further deepening viewers’ understanding of the world through provocative storytelling. For Lincoln Square Productions, Drew Pulley is executive producer, and Jeanmarie Condon is senior executive producer.
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