At the Television Critics Association summer tour yesterday, National Geographic announced specials about Amelia Earhart, Jane Goodall and China.
National Geographic Explorer-at-Large Dr. Robert Ballard, best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic shipwreck, is setting out to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance. The scientific expedition is jointly funded by National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society. National Geographic Society’s archeologist-in-residence, Fredrik Hiebert, joins Ballard and will lead a team to search for signs of Earhart on land following clues that may lead to the location of her bones.
The ocean search will be conducted aboard EV Nautilus, owned by the Ocean Exploration Trust under the direction of Chief Operating Officer and Expedition Leader Allison Fundis. Ballard has assembled a group of Amelia Earhart experts, scientists and technicians for the monthlong journey that departs from Samoa to a remote Pacific atoll called Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati on Aug. 7, 2019.
Nikumaroro is part of the Phoenix Island Protected Area, the largest and deepest mid-ocean World Heritage site. Ballard and his team, equipped with the latest in technology and scientific expertise, will explore the waters surrounding the island using remotely operated underwater vehicles and autonomous surface vessels. The archaeological team will investigate Earhart’s potential campsite using bone-sniffing dogs, DNA sampling and good, old-fashioned digging.
For news about the expedition, including today’s announcement, click here.
The expedition will be featured in a two-hour special titled Expedition Amelia that will premiere Sunday, Oct. 20, on National Geographic. The special also follows clues gathered over the past 30 years by Ric Gillespie and The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) – clues that have led Ballard to Nikumaroro. And perhaps most importantly, the film delves into Amelia Earhart herself and how she became one of the most intriguing and inspirational figures in history. The documentary will premiere globally in 172 countries and 43 languages.
Also announced, from producer Lucky 8, was Jane Goodall: The Hope, which celebrates Goodall’s work and explores the ways in which her passion for wildlife has changed the world for the better. This new perspective illustrates the obstacles that Goodall has faced throughout her career and shows how, with a dedicated team and unshakable drive, she has overcome those obstacles to become one of the most important names in wildlife conservation.
Jane Goodall: The Hope is currently in production and will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages. The special is timed to the 60th anniversary of the beginning of Goodall’s work in Gombe in July 1960 and pays homage to the important impact her work has had on the world.
This story begins where Jane left off and showcases Goodall’s impact through her commitment to protect chimpanzees living in the wild — through the Jane Goodall Institute’s community-centered conservation program, TACARE (now active in six African countries) — and to improve the well-being of chimpanzees in captivity and at sanctuaries such as the Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of the Congo. Told through a combination of archival footage, present-day stories and on-camera interviews, Jane Goodall: The Hope is an inspirational story that explores Goodall’s vast legacy and charts the many paths that stem from one woman’s hope for a better future.
And Nat Geo and Nat Geo WILD announced the new two-hour wildlife special The Hidden Kingdoms of China, which premieres this winter in 172 countries and 43 languages. Spanning from China’s highest of mountains and plateaus to its thickest jungles and bamboo forests, The Hidden Kingdoms of China reveals the mysteries of the country’s wildlife, some of which rarely have been captured on film, until now.
With unique access to sites throughout the world’s most populous country, The Hidden Kingdoms of China transports audiences to five very different worlds – the high mountains, tropical jungles, bamboo forests, great plains and temperate forests. “Stars” of these kingdoms include iconic and charismatic animals – the snow leopard, the giant panda, the Tibetan fox, the golden snub-nosed monkey and a stunning kaleidoscope of jungle creatures.
Using high-specification drones, camera traps and the latest 4K camera technology to engage with these special animals, The Hidden Kingdoms of China brings China’s magical realms to life in the most dramatic ways possible. Both sweeping in scale and touchingly intimate in its depictions of wildlife, the special takes a closer look at a wild paradise that is like no other on Earth.