National Geographic Global Television Network outlined the company’s upcoming television slate this week. Courteney Monroe announced additional season pickups of the new series “Brain Games,” and the shows “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” and “Life Below Zero,” which have quickly become fan-favorites. The network also confirmed another season of “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted,” which will return with new episodes on May 10th on National Geographic. Gordon Ramsay’s new show is the network’s top unscripted new series to launch since 2016, with “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” following in second. Over 20M viewers have tuned into Bear Grylls’ series across linear and nonlinear platforms, and 25M for Gordon Ramsay’s, according to the network. Since its 2013 debut, “Life Below Zero” has received 11 Emmy nominations; has won four Emmys for its craft in cinematography and picture editing, including one in 2019; and has become a National Geographic Channel fan favorite.
“Brain Games, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Life Below Zero and Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted are all emblematic of our unscripted programming strategy – highly entertaining, personality driven premium programming that lives up to the National Geographic brand,” said Monroe. “We are thrilled to greenlight the continuation of these franchises and to have Keegan-Michael Key, Bear Grylls, Gordon Ramsay, and fan-favorite Sue Aikens on our network.”
Keegan-Michael Key will return to host the second season of “Brain Games.” The series challenges celebrities to realize their “special brain power” through fun and interactive games, illusions, and social experiments. On January 20th, you can catch two back-to-back episodes, featuring Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, as they go head-to-head in the “Battle of the Sexes.” That series is designed to reveal how men’s and women’s brains differ. That show serves as a lead-in to the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series with Ted Danson, as he teaches us how our brains distinguish fact from fiction. Other guests headed to “Brain Games” include Tiffany Haddish, Drew Brees, Jordan Peele, Meghan Trainor, Anthony Anderson, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Jack Black, Mark Cuban, Kevin Hart, and Rebel Wilson.
National Geographic will also host the popular series “Running With Bear Grylls.” In the current season, Bear Grylls traversed croc-infested mangroves in the Gulf of Panama with Brie Larson, experienced the ancient art of trout tickling with Channing Tatum in the mountains of Norway, ate ants and then climbed a mountain in the Swiss Alps with free soloist Alex Honnold, and even drank milk directly from a goat’s udder with Armie Hammer in Sardinia. In the season finale on January 21st, Grylls will take Emmy-nominated actor Zachary Quinto on a treacherous adventure through the dense Panamanian jungle during tropical storm season.
BBC Studios and National Geographic partnered on a three-series commitment deal that expands the “Life Below Zero” brand in the United States, Canada, and Caribbean Basin. The deal includes an all-new eight-part spinoff series called “Life Below Zero: Next Generation,” which is slated to premiere on National Geographic in 2021. The new series will follow new individuals who recently left their traditional lifestyle behind to face a challenging new world off the grid in the wilds of Alaska. The three-series commitment deal also includes two additional seasons of “Life Below Zero” and an additional season of “Life Below Zero: Port Protection.” The common theme in “Life Below Zero” and “Life Below Zero: Port Protection” is the cast of people who have left traditional society behind. “In Life Below Zero: Next Generation,” the all-new cast members have tried contemporary life and rejected it in favor of a life of freedom in the brutal Alaskan wilderness.
As I mentioned earlier, National Geographic also announced a second season of “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted,” which will premiere on May 10th. The all-new episodes will feature Gordon Ramsay continuing his journey across the globe, embarking on missions to unearth world cultures through food and adventure, familiar ground for Ramsay following his hit U.K. series “Gordon’s Great Escapes.”
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