National Geographic Channel renewed seven shows, and introduced five newcomers as part of its 2015-16 Upfront slate, the network announced Wednesday.
Explorer, cable’s longest-running documentary series, will return after a one-year hiatus to dig deeper into topics covered in the magazine such as Teddy Roosevelt, the Congo’s Virunga Park and the human eye. Other series returning to the National Geographic Channel include Life Below Zero, Drugs, Inc., Wicked Tuna, Live Free or Die, Brain Games, and Startalk.
One of five new shows for the network, Breakthrough will bring Hollywood visionaries to direct each of its hour-long episodes. Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, and Brett Ratner will direct the first six installments. Breakthrough will cover leading scientists and their inventions and advancements that changed our lives. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, and Mark Dowley are the show’s executive producers.
NGC also revealed premiere dates for its major summer events American Genius and The 2000s. The eight-part miniseries American Genius will premiere June 1, and The 2000s: A New Reality, will take place over two nights on July 12-13.
Events Saints & Strangers, America’s National Parks and History of the World…For Now also join the lineup. National Geographic’s Sunday night WILD specials Wings of Love, Deep Blue, and Oceans will be narrated by Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, and Pierce Brosnan, respectively.