This afternoon we unveiled an exciting line-up of new specials and series at The Television Critics’ Association (TCA) press tour in Pasadena, CA. In case you were wondering, TCA is an organization of about 120 major television critics, reviewers and bloggers that get together twice a year to find out what cable and broadcast networks have lined up. We didn’t want to leave our loyal fans out of the loop. So, here’s a recap of what went down and what YOU have to look forward to watching in the coming months!
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
National Geographic Channel | Premieres Spring 2016
In The Story of God, host Morgan Freeman embarks on an epic exploration of and intimate reflection on God, immersing himself in religious experiences and rituals around the world. He’ll also become a test subject in scientific labs to examine how the frontiers of neuroscience and cosmology are intersecting the traditional domain of religion. Each episode centers on one big question about the divine, from the mystery of creation, to the true power of miracles, to the promise of resurrection. These timeless and universal mysteries impact people from every faith, from Christians to Buddhists, Muslims to Hindus. Freeman goes on the ground to some of humanity’s greatest religious sites, such as Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, India’s Bodhi Tree and the Lakewood megachurch in Texas. He’ll also travel with archaeologists to uncover the long-lost religions of our ancestors, such as the 10,000-year-old ruins at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and Mayan temples in Guatemala.
National Geographic Channel | New Season Premieres Sunday, Feb. 14
The new season of the Emmy®-nominated series Brain Games will challenge and engage viewers, taking them on visually awe-inspiring expeditions in search of answers to some of the most perplexing and fascinating questions in modern neuroscience. Wonder junkie Jason Silva (@JasonSilva) heads to the gritty backstreets of New Orleans, traipses deep into the woods of America’s National Park System and conducts experiments in high-tech laboratories at the world’s top institutions — visually illustrating the “wow” behind the “why” to better understand the science. In his quest to explore topics like the seven deadly sins, God, survival, hidden senses, the regions of the brain and how your brain ages, Silva teams up with some of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, psychologists, cognitive scientists and specialists. The mind-bending journey they take through the twists and turns of gray matter makes for a profoundly entertaining and enlightening exploration of the most complex organ in the human body.
He Named Me Malala
National Geographic Channel | Commercial-Free Global Television Premiere Monday, February 29
He Named Me Malala, directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim, tells the extraordinary story of 18-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban at age 15 for speaking out in support of girls’ education in the Middle East. Her story of survival and vow to continue her fight for girls’ education have inspired millions, eventually earning her the distinction of being the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The film delivers an inside glimpse into this extraordinary young girl’s life — from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the United Nations, to joking around at home with her parents and brothers. Fox Searchlight released the film on October 2, 2015, and the National Geographic Channel will air the world television premiere without commercial interruptions on Monday, February 29.
No Man Left Behind
National Geographic Channel | Premieres Spring 2016
To be trapped behind enemy lines is every soldier’s worst nightmare: a situation all soldiers train for, few experience and even fewer survive. From the producers of Locked Up Abroad, new series No Man Left Behind combines gripping personal testimony with vivid re-enactments and archival footage to shed light on the modern war heroes, stranded in enemy territory, who took survival into their own hands to get out alive. The premiere episode, The Real Black Hawk Down, tells the extraordinary true-life story of the downing of two Black Hawk helicopters during a deadly battle in Mogadishu between U.S. forces and Somali militia. Reunited for the first time, the pilot of the downed helicopter and two of the soldiers involved in the battle recount the intense details of one of the most horrific scenes in U.S. military history since the Vietnam War.
National Geographic Channel | Premieres March and June 2016
National Geographic Channel, in a multiplatform partnership with the National Geographic Society, proudly re-launched the critically acclaimed documentary series Explorer in August 2015. Each monthly episode goes deep into a story ripped from the pages of the current issue of National Geographic magazine. In the March episode, Fighting ISIS, award-winning National Geographic writer Neil Shea goes on a journey to the edge of Kurdistan, where shopping malls promise a Western way of life, and into the war zones of Iraq and Syria, where that promise may meet its demise at the hands of ISIS. His adventure takes him from university cafes to the front lines of battle, where he joins Americans who have come to help Kurdistan because they believe their fight is our own. If these U.S. soldiers and the Kurds fail, the rise of ISIS terror may become unstoppable. And in June, Explorer ventures into Congo’s Virunga National Park to take an intimate, compelling look at how Emmanuele de Merode, a Belgian prince and the fearless new warden there, is fighting poachers to save his park. Correspondent Justin Hall talks to de Merode about his enemies — some of whom have attempted to assassinate him — and also embeds with the poachers themselves, the notorious Mai Mai, who consider poaching critical to their survival.
Fish Bowl XXL
Nat Geo WILD | Premieres Sunday, Feb. 7
Goldie the goldfish is back to celebrate the Super Bowl’s golden 50th anniversary with a supersized 50-gallon fish bowl, hosting a motley crew of friends including clown fish, puffer fish, seahorses, eels, sting rays and even a shark. Fish Bowl XXL is your Zen alternative to the clash on the gridiron. Tune in to stabilize your blood pressure and watch some of the finest fish in the sea. Fish Bowl XXL premieres Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7, from 6/5c to 8/7c and again from 10/9c to 12/11c.
Animal Storm Squad
Nat Geo WILD | New Series Premieres Friday, March 11
Every year, thousands of pets are injured, trapped or displaced as a result of natural disasters. Traditional first responders are not equipped to aid animals, leaving them helpless in the wake of catastrophe. Until now. Animal Storm Squad follows a team of dedicated meteorologists, storm chasers and animal experts who rescue trapped and injured pets after natural disasters. Meet the heroes — led by Karissa Haden, a vet tech with a heart of gold — who save animals’ lives in the worst of times.