At National Geographic’s Television Critics Association session today, the channel made numerous announcements and revealed a first look at The Hot Zone: Anthrax. Read on for all the updates!
THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX
National Geographic revealed a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of the upcoming six-episode limited series The Hot Zone: Anthrax. Starring Daniel Dae Kim and Tony Goldwyn, The Hot Zone: Anthrax will premiere during a three-night event over Thanksgiving weekend, beginning on Sunday, November 28.
The first season of The Hot Zone anthology series, featuring Julianna Margulies, focused on the Ebola outbreak and became the network’s most-watched scripted series ever.
The behind-the-scenes clip for The Hot Zone: Anthrax showcases an early look into the making of the series, featuring filming moments and interviews with cast and crew, including Tony Goldwyn (“Bruce Ivins”), Daniel Dae Kim (“Matthew Ryker”), showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders, director Daniel Percival and production designer Britt Doughty.
With the world still reeling after the attacks on 9/11, America faces a second wave – the anthrax letters. Targeting journalists and politicians, mail with anthrax powder kills five people and causes panic across the United States. Limited series The Hot Zone: Anthrax follows FBI Special Agent Matthew Ryker (Kim) as he tracks down the killer, finding himself ensnared in an unstable web of psychological warfare. Bruce Ivins (Goldwyn) is the brilliant microbiologist who becomes embroiled in the hunt.
For The Hot Zone: Anthrax, Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson serve as executive producers and showrunners. Scott Free Production’s Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker are executive producers, with Jordan Sheehan also serving as executive producer.
Lynda Obst is an executive producer. Richard Preston is a co-executive producer on the series. The series is produced by 20th Television and Scott Free Productions.
TRAFFICKED WITH MARIANA VAN ZELLER
National Geographic today also announced the green light of the third season of Emmy-nominated Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller ahead of the winter premiere of the docuseries’ second season bow on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes will also be streaming the next day on Hulu, and filming for the third season will begin this fall.
“Filming a whole season of Trafficked during a global pandemic was extremely challenging, but there’s been an explosion of black markets over the past year, and I think we all quickly realized that this series has become more relevant than ever,” said van Zeller. ”With this second season, we’ve managed to dive even deeper and gain even more access into underworld networks around the world.”
Peabody and duPont 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 van Zeller as she works her way inside a different black market or global trafficking network 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.
The 10-part second season of Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller offers viewers a mission-driven adventure to places rarely seen, providing an intimate peek behind the curtain to provide a 360-degree view of these poorly understood trafficking networks.
Season one of Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller was a 2021 Gracie Award winner for Best Reporter/Correspondent – Mariana van Zeller and received a 2021 Critics Choice Real TV Award nomination for Best Crime/Justice Show. The series was also recently nominated for a 2021 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary.
The series is produced for National Geographic by Muck Media. From Muck Media, executive producers are Mariana van Zeller, Darren Foster and Jeff Plunkett. From National Geographic, Bengt Anderson is executive producer, Matt Renner is vice president of Production, and Alan Eyres is senior vice president of Production and Development.
ON THE EDGE WITH ALEX HONNOLD
Disney+ announced the greenlight of the three-part original docu-series from National Geographic, On the Edge with Alex Honnold. Produced by Plimsoll Productions, On the Edge with Alex Honnold sees Honnold embark on a lifelong dream – an epic climbing quest across the remotest and toughest walls and peaks of Greenland, a country on the frontline of the climate crisis.
Honnold, subject of white-knuckled Oscar-winning documentary, Free Solo (now available on Disney+), has always dreamt of exploring Greenland and summiting its most challenging and remote peaks. But this isn’t just adventure for adventure’s sake – along the way, as he attempts a once-in-a-lifetime climbing challenge that will push his physical limits, Honnold will meet the scientists working on the frontline of climate change and witness the impacts of the rapid melting for himself.
With an overabundance of virgin climbs, impossible walls, world class and deadly, Greenland is considered the world’s last great climbing frontier and has also become the crucible of the climate crisis. In 2020, 300 billion tons of Greenland ice disappeared, the biggest annual melt in recorded history. As Honnold explores the impact that has had, he and his team will face intimidating icebergs, dangerous moulins (sinkholes on glaciers), difficult rockfalls and ice storms.
His ultimate test will come from Peak 3342, to-date unclimbed and one of the highest peaks in Greenland. Though there’s more exposed rock and less snow and ice, this is uncharted territory and Honnold will need to draw on all of his experience to reach the top safely.
“I’ve always wanted to climb in Greenland – it has some of the most remote and epic walls in the world. But it’s also being tremendously affected by climate change,” said Honnold. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to explore the climbing while also sharing some of the local impacts of climate change with a global audience. Our changing climate is the biggest issue facing humanity and I hope that this will help inspire people to take action.”
On the Edge with Alex Honnold will be produced by Plimsoll Productions for National Geographic. For Plimsoll Productions, James Smith, Martha Holmes, Grant Mansfield and Saul Goldberg are executive producers. For National Geographic, Bengt Anderson is executive producer and vice president, production and Alan Eyres is senior vice president, production and development.
THREE NEW UNSCRIPTED ADVENTURE SERIES
Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Content, announced today the greenlight of three new linear unscripted series, featuring all-new storytellers with riveting tales to share, all in the name of exploration. All three of these series will also have a second window on Disney+.
To expand on the successful Life Below Zero franchise is Life Below Zero: First Alaskans, the first nonfiction series on National Geographic with a cast of Native Alaskans at its core, including representation on the production team. The 7 Toughest Days on Earth will feature natural-born survivor Dwayne Fields, the first Black British citizen to conquer the magnetic north pole, as he aims to survive the most extreme elements on the planet. Award-winning BBQ Pitmaster and former U.S. Navy veteran Big Moe Cason will grab his grilling mitts and hit the road to explore the rarest flavors around the world only found in remote locations in Appetite for Adventure.
“These new series are exciting additions to our stable of popular, returnable, scalable series led by charismatic personalities,” said Monroe. “The talent at the center of each of these series have unique voices and perspectives that will undoubtedly inspire the explorer in all of us.”
LIFE BELOW ZERO: FIRST ALASKANS
From the multiple Emmy award-winning team behind the Life Below Zero franchise is Life Below Zero: First Alaskans. Life Before Zero has provided viewers with unprecedented access to the daily hardships of living off the land (and water) in some of the most extreme conditions on Earth. Now, in dedicating an entire series to the native peoples of this harsh landscape, our cameras have been invited into a whole new world of storytelling, cultures and customs.
Life Below Zero: First Alaskans will follow all-new series subjects: Alaskan Natives who are focusing on their right to preserve their threatened ways of life, doubling down on ancient wisdom to ensure its survival for the next thousand years. The strength of this new series is featuring native representation throughout the on-camera cast of indigenous people, but also prioritizing diversity within the production team, crew, and cultural consultants who have deep connections to Alaska.
When the Russians arrived by the 18th century, Alaskan Native peoples had been there for thousands of years, developing sophisticated ways to thrive in the harshest environments and passing down their traditions and methods from generation to generation. Life Below Zero: First Alaskans will begin production this September 2021. Life Below Zero: First Alaskans marks the latest expansion of the long-term production partnership on the Life Below Zero franchise between National Geographic and BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production arm.
For BBC Studios, Travis Shakespeare and Joseph Litzinger are executive producers. For National Geographic, Kevin Tao Mohs is executive producer, and Alan Eyres is senior vice president of production and development.
THE 7 TOUGHEST DAYS ON EARTH
Dwayne Fields grew up around violent gangs and is a natural-born survivor who’s stared death in the face his entire life. He escaped the inner city to become an explorer, where he conquered the brutal magnetic north pole, becoming the first Black British citizen to achieve this accomplishment. His unmatched resilience, unique spirit and optimism have him determined to push himself to the absolute edge.
The 7 Toughest Days on Earth will follow Fields as he’s dropped into some of the most extreme places on Earth — at their deadliest time — for seven whole days when epic natural forces combine to supersize external threats. His task is to keep himself and his small film crew alive and lead them to an extraction point, revealing incredible moments on Earth only a few have witnessed. Production on The 7 Toughest Days on Earth will begin in winter 2021.
Fields is living proof that no matter what life throws at you or where you come from, you can overcome anything. The 7 Toughest Days on Earth is produced by Nutopia, the team behind Nat Geo’s One Strange Rock and Limitless with Chris Hemsworth.
From Nutopia, executive producers are Jane Root and Sam Bagnall. For National Geographic, Chris Kugelman is executive producer, Bengt Anderson is vice president of production, and Alan Eyres is senior vice president of production and development.
APPETITE FOR ADVENTURE
Decorated pitmaster and U.S. Navy veteran Big Moe Cason is leaving his culinary comforts of the American South behind and heading off with an Appetite for Adventure, embarking on an epic global journey to seek out the planet’s most mouthwatering mythical dishes cooked over an open flame.
After competing in over 260 BBQ contests in 35 states, he’s ready to hit the road in search of other ways people around the globe are cooking with fire, meeting with stewards of fantastic flavors, walking in their boots, and learning the impact these flame broiled dishes have on bonding their community. As someone whose culinary spark came from his grandmother cooking for big family meals, Big Moe will focus on cooking hearty comfort food over an open flame, with dishes that speak to the traditions and local spirit of each location.
Big Moe will discover that no matter how difficult the struggles are to reach these locations and be mentored on new techniques, some things in life are worth the extra effort. Appetite for Adventure will begin production in October 2021.
Appetite for Adventure is produced by Hit + Run, the team behind Nat Geo Wild’s fan-favorite series Critter Fixers: Country Vets. For Hit + Run, the executive producer is Rob Shaftel. For National Geographic, Lauren Thompson is executive producer, Matt Renner is vice president of production, and Alan Eyres is senior vice president, production and development. Big Moe Cason is represented by The Burke Management Firm.