Washington D.C. based National Geographic launches a new TV network today focused on animals. The network, Nat Geo Wild, has been in existence since 2006 in other regions of The World and will be making it’s United State debut, replacing Fox Reality Channel in about 50 million homes.
With other networks already dedicated to programming featuring wildlife and animals. Nat Geo Wild benefits from the vast resources of National Geographic. The society already have a TV network in the U.S. in the National Geographic Channel. However the channel only featured wildlife in a small percentage of their programming as stated by National Geographic Channel general manager Steve Schiffman in a Christian Science Monitor article:
“National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. But while wildlife is at the core of our brand, NGC actually has had [only] a small percentage of natural-history programming among the diverse topics that we have covered…. So we are dedicating a new network to our favorite genre with Nat Geo WILD. We already have hundreds of hours of programming in development.”
My friends over at Nat Geo were kind enough to send me some materials prior to the launch; along with some screener DVDs I also got a pretty neat hat. I spent the weekend watching some of the new programs slated to be launched with the network in the next couple of weeks, here are the ones I liked:
Premieres Wednesday, March 31, at 8 PM ET/PT
Airs Weekly – Wednesdays at 8 PM ET/PT
In the Jaipur, India monkeys are both a nuisance and a sacred animal. Allowed to run freely about the city they scour streets and homes for food. This series covers the story of one gang of monkeys in a sort of Meerkat Manor meets Slumdog Millionaire.
It was interesting to see monkeys roam freely amongst a human city, clever enough to break into homes and ransack kitchens. The city employs a local “monkey catcher” so the series is bound to have some “man vs. monkey” stand-offs. The show appeared a bit scripted to me but still a fascinating situation in a country that is growing by the second.
Premieres Monday, April 5, at 9 PM ET/PT
Airs Weekly – Mondays at 9 PM ET/PT
Naturalist Casey Anderson’s best friend is Brutus, a 900-pound grizzly bear. Raised in captivity, Brutus lacks the skills most of his counterparts in the wild possess. Together the two trek to Alaska’s Kodiak Island, where Casey gets knee-deep in grizzly life in order to teach Brutus the ways of his wild relatives. The series continues with future treks through Yellowstone and shows viewers why Casey is called, “The Animal Magnet.”
The first episode I viewed is a little like reminded me a little bit like Wildboyz, with Anderson taking a DIY-approach on how to train your bear. Unlike your typical animal expert- Casey has an coolness about him which makes his adventures a bit more hip.
I still want to know however you get to have a bear as your best friend.
Premieres Monday, April 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Mireya Mayor immerses herself in the secret lives of wild gorillas, learning about new behaviors and group dynamics, such as the role of female choice and limited tool use. A formal Dolphins cheerleader, Mayor’s story from cheering on the sidelines to exploring the Congo is just as captivating as the special. The special really caught my interest by showing me how human-like these wild gorillas are. Mayor really takes the viewer up-close and personal to see some really amazing sights.
Locally the channel will be available to RCN customers in DC and to Verizon FiOS customers in Virginia. You can click here to see where Nat Geo Wild will be available in your area.