Since its U.S. launch in 2010, Nat Geo WILD has been one of television's fastest-growing networks. Breakout series such as The Incredible Dr. Pol and Cesar Millan's The Dog Whisperer have helped make Nat Geo WILD a home for premium nature programming that is both enlightening and entertaining.
Geoff Daniels, the General Manager of Nat Geo WILD since 2012, has had a key role in its success. Daniels oversaw the channel's U.S. launch, and since then, he has supervised the commission of countless original series, specials, and events for broadcast on WILD globally. In a new interview with io9, Daniels speaks about his experience in content development at Nat Geo WILD, the unique identity that the National Geographic brand has created, and content's relationship with inspiration.
"We have a responsibility to figure out how to make authentic science in all of its different guises entertaining, relevant, real, relatable, [and] resonant with a broad audience... and not chase, if you will, the lowest common denominator," Daniels tells io9's Jason G. Goldman. "If we stay committed and focused and disciplined - taking the harder path, telling great science stories in a way that's entertaining, [not resorting] to cheap tricks and to false promises - in the long run, we will be stronger and we will be rewarded."
Daniels also spoke about WILD's unique position to deliver on National Geographic's commitment to provide wildlife programming that inspires people to care about the planet.
"Ultimately what I want WILD to be is more than a television channel," Daniels says. "In some ways, I want it to be a lifestyle, I want it to be an ethos, I want it to be something that basically becomes a destination for people in all sorts of different platforms and in different arenas that is really about the positive things that we can take away from our relationship with the natural world and with animals."
Each year, the Environmental Media Awards honor film and television productions that convey environmental messages in creative ways, and at this year's awards ceremony, FOX Broadcasting Company will receive the special EMA Green Production Award. The award recognizes FOX for its efforts to raise awareness and funds for environmental causes through the FOX Fall Eco-Casino Party.
FOX has been celebrating the premiere of its fall television season with the Eco-Casino Party for the past ten years, and in that time, the event has raised more than $250,000 for environmental charities. FOX also works to make each event carbon neutral, including using LED lights, recycling all paper, cans, bottles, and cardboard, composting food and beverage waste, serving sustainable foods, renting event furniture and equipment, and measuring the carbon footprint to offset all remaining CO2 emissions.
In addition, FOX continually works with its partners to encourage them to implement green initiatives. For example, Sweetwater Video Productions, FOX's main supplier of audio/visual equipment, has changed its entire fleet of trucks to run off more eco-friendly B20 bio-diesel, and it powers its facility with solar power. These types of efforts affect industry-wide events.
"We are incredibly proud of our friends at FOX Broadcasting Company for the work they have done with the FOX Fall Eco-Casino Party," said EMA President Debbie Levin. "When millions of fans around the U.S. are excited and focused on the new fall season and their new favorite shows, FOX captures this attention to showcase essential environmental messages with a beautiful and high-end sustainable event. It represents the best in what EMA strives to do each day and we're excited to honor the network this year."
FOX's content also received two nominations at this year's awards: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey in the Reality Television category and New Girl in the Television Comedy category. In addition, 21st Century Fox businesses Fox Film and Twentieth Century Fox Television received nominations for Rio 2 and Modern Family.
The EMA Awards, presented by Toyota and Lexis, will take place on October 18th at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. The Environmental Media Association, founded in 1989 by Cindy and Alan Horn and Lyn and Norman Lear, is dedicated to harnessing the power of celebrity and the media to promote sustainable lifestyles and believes, through positive role modeling, the entertainment community can inspire consumers to take action. For more information on the Environmental Media Association, visit ema-online.org.
After months of carefully reviewing projects and allowing the public to vote for their favorite, the National Geographic Channel has found the winner of its Expedition Granted contest, a nationwide search to find the next generation of great explorers. Charlie Engelman, a biologist and filmmaker based in Chicago, was announced yesterday as the winner, and he will receive a $50,000 grant toward his dream expedition, a cross-country journey to create an educational film series about America's forests.
"It's with great esteem that we grant Charlie Engelman's winning expedition, 'Get Pumped about Nature,'" said NGC CEO Courteney Monroe. "At National Geographic Channel, we believe in pushing boundaries and forging new paths, and were thrilled to receive such a wide and innovative variety of video entries. After three months of submissions, advisor input and community voting, we are honored to name the 2014 Expedition Granted Explorer."
Nat Geo launched Expedition Granted in June, accepting project proposals from virtually any field, including art, music, food, science, technology, and more. The program's goal was to democratize the concept of exploration to show that in the 21st century, explorers can come from all backgrounds and disciplines and anyone with curiosity and passion can be an explorer. After receiving more than 700 entries, a group of Expedition Granted advisors, including Brain Games host Jason Silva, author Ainissa G. Ramirez, and journalist Thayer Walker, selected a group of ten finalists to compete for the $50,000 grand prize. The public was then allowed to vote for the top project, and they selected Engelman as the winner.
Engelman will partner with Black Hawk Paramoter and the Cornell Tree Climbing Institute to produce an online film series about the wonders of America's forests, and he hopes that his expedition will help young people all over the world "get excited" about nature.
"This is absolutely amazing," said Engelman. "The support I received from my family, friends, neighbors, classmates and professors was just incredible. Thanks to the voters and National Geographic, I can now produce the nature series of my dreams."
To learn more about Engelman's project, follow him on Twitter and Tumblr, and visit ExpeditionGranted.com. Expedition Granted was developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society, 21st Century Fox, and sponsors the Jeep brand and Dos Equis.
For the third year in a row, the Ailes Apprentice Program has partnered with Fox & Friends to create a special interview series to honor Hispanic Heritage Month. The series, which highlights remarkable stories from the Latino community, will run until Friday, October 10th.
FOX News correspondent Alicia Acuna will host weekly interviews with prominent Latin-Americans, including Mayorga Coffee founder Martin Mayorga, Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez, and Francisco Nunez, Director of the Young People's Chorus of New York City. Acuna's interview with pop star Jose Feliciano, the first installment in this year's series, is available on FoxNewsInsider.com.
Since its founding in 2003, the Ailes Apprentice Program has been a driving force in supporting and promoting diversity in broadcast and cable journalism. Each year, AAP selects a group of individuals to participate in the 12-month program, which includes a full-time job and comprehensive mentorships with key Fox executives. For more information on the program, visit AilesApprentice.FoxNews.com.
In 2009, the Emmy Award-winning drama series 24 became the first ever television production to go completely carbon neutral. The production team pioneered a set of innovative sustainability measures that have since become common practice in the industry, prompting a featured story in The New York Times. Dana Walden, Co-Chairman/CEO of the Fox Television Group, told the Times that she hoped the result would be "a more gratifying viewing experience, even if it is at a more subconscious level." This year, the show returned as the 24: Live Another Day event series, and the team at Twentieth Century Fox Television seized the opportunity to continue the groundbreaking green production work they had begun five years before.
However, the new season of 24 presented a new set of sustainability challenges. While past seasons had been filmed in Los Angeles, the series would now be shot on location in London at a vacant Gillette razor factory built in 1937, preventing the team from taking advantage of the green production programs already in place on the Fox Studios Lot. Yet, this change allowed them to expand the scope of the project beyond carbon emissions tracking to include waste management, responsible set design, and sustainable food purchasing.
Each department was able to integrate sustainability into its daily operations. Sets were constructed using 100% FSC-certified lumber and were either recycled or sold to other productions after filming wrapped. In addition, the team was able to divert 98% of the production's waste from landfill by replacing plastic water bottles with refillable bottles, donating all leftover food and drinks to local charities, and recycling or donating leftover props and costumes. Efforts to minimize air travel and replace generators with grid power tie-ins also helped decrease the production's carbon footprint.
24: Live Another Day will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the US on Tuesday, September 30. For a preview of a behind the scenes look at Green Production, which will be included on the DVD and Blu-Ray, watch the video above. Click here to read the full case study on 24's green production.
In June, the National Geographic Channel launched Expedition Granted, a nationwide competition in the U.S. to find and fund the next generation of explorers. After receiving more than 700 entries in disciplines as diverse as science, technology, conservation, adventure, arts, and more, the judges at Nat Geo have selected 10 finalists to compete for the grand prize. Now, it's up to the public to vote for the winner.
Expedition Granted aims to show that explorers can come from all backgrounds and fields, and that anyone with curiosity and passion can be an explorer. The winner of the competition will receive a $50,000 grant toward his/her dream expedition and will be featured on-air on the Nat Geo Channel. Voting runs through Monday, September 29, and the winner will be announced on September 30. Finalists range from environmental conservation and healthcare research to climate change studies and education for women and girls. You can learn about each of their projects and cast your vote by visiting ExpeditionGranted.com.
"The passion and ingenuity that went into the hundreds of videos submitted for consideration were truly inspiring," said NGC CEO Courtney Monroe. "The 10 selected finalists really embrace our vision of pushing boundaries and forging new paths with their thoughtful submissions. We welcome the public to help narrow down our ultimate winner and 2014 Expedition Granted Explorer."
Expedition Granted was developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society, 21st Century Fox, and sponsors the Jeep brand and Dos Equis. For more information on the contest including how to vote, watch the video above, visit ExpeditionGranted.com, and follow the conversation on social media at #expeditiongranted.
For the sixth consecutive year, the environmental nonprofit CDP has commended 21st Century Fox for the transparency and thoroughness of its corporate sustainability program. CDP assesses the depth and quality of companies' climate change data each year, and the organization's latest report ranks 21st Century Fox among the top 7% of S&P 500 companies, placing it on the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index. 21st Century Fox is the only media company awarded a spot on the CDLI, receiving a score of 99 out of a possible 100 and a Carbon Performance Band grade of B.
CDP provides a voluntary reporting system for companies to report their greenhouse gas management and public disclosure activities around the world. Participating companies complete an annual questionnaire that addresses total energy use and carbon emissions across their operations, as well as strategy and governance in assessing and managing risks and opportunities from climate change. 70% of S&P 500 companies participated this year.
The Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) scores companies' performances on a scale of 0 to 100, based on the level of disclosure of carbon emissions measurement techniques and subsequent public disclosure. The Carbon Performance Band grades companies' overall response to climate change. Companies are classified in Bands A through D, with "A" being the best overall grade and "D" being the worst. 2014 marks 21st Century Fox's sixth straight year on the CDLI, a track record surpassed by only three other companies.
Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, says: "The need for disclosure of corporate climate change impacts and strategies to reduce them has never been greater. For this reason, we congratulate those businesses that have achieved a position on CDP's S&P 500 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index. These companies are responding to the ever-growing demand for environmental accountability and helping to inspire others to follow suit."
21st Century Fox has disclosed its emissions and carbon reduction strategy with CDP since the launch of the Global Energy Initiative in 2007. CDP works with 767 institutional investors representing nearly $92 trillion in assets. The complete S&P 500 and Global 500 reports can be found at CDP.net.
Fox Audience Strategy, the company's cross-divisional group promoting diverse voices across the Fox entertainment businesses, continues to support the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a world-renowned American modern dance company based in New York City. Their work together has become a signature platform in Fox Audience Strategy's efforts to reflect and represent the country's diverse communities.
The partnership began last summer, when Fox Audience Strategy partnered with FOX's So You Think You Can Dance and the Kaiser Foundation's "Greater Than AIDS" campaign to raise awareness of the continued AIDS crises and the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS has had on the African American community. The So You Think You Can Dance All Stars worked closely with the Ailey dancers to learn "Home," a performance piece created by Tennie Harris that pays tribute to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, as well as Alvin Ailey himself, who died from AIDS in 1989.
The SYTYCD All Stars performed the piece live in Los Angeles at the end of the AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven-day cycling event from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises funds and awareness for the fight against HIV/AIDS. For more information on this event, visit FoxAudienceStrategy.com, and be sure to watch the video above for a detailed look at the All Stars' collaboration with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.
Through a partnership with the National School Boards Association, New Regency, and Penguin Books, Fox Searchlight announced this week that it will distribute copies of 12 Years a Slave, winner of Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards, to public high schools around the U.S. Director Steve McQueen and television personality Montel Williams organized the initiative as a way of educating young people about the "brutal truths" of American history.
"When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful education tool," Williams said in a press release. "This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream of a better and brighter future."
Teachers hoping to include the film in their curricula can request an "Educator's Toolkit" by visiting 12YearsASlave.com. The toolkit contains a DVD copy of the film edited for teen audiences, with a disclaimer and parental consent forms, as well as a Penguin paperback copy of Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir on which the film was based, a detailed study guide, and a letter from McQueen.
"Solomon Northup's powerful story needs to be shared and remembered for generations to come," said McQueen. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our youth to learn about the past."
A launch event will take place on September 25 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., honoring the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. McQueen, Williams, and NSBA representative David Pickler will participate in a town hall moderated by political analyst Michelle Bernard to discuss their plans to make 12 Years A Slave and Solomon Northrup's memoir essential components of the high school history curriculum.
For more information on 12 Years a Slave's education initiatives, watch the video above and visit 12YearsASlave.com.
After its groundbreaking first season in 2012 and a successful second season earlier this year, STAR India's hit series Satyamev Jayate, or "Truth Alone Prevails," will return with new episodes on Sunday, October 5th. In addition, STAR will also premiere SMJ Live, a series of live specials in which viewers can interact with host Aamir Khan directly through social media. This initiative is the latest in STAR's effort to establish SMJ as a platform through which Indians' voices can be heard.
The series features Bollywood star Aamir Khan discussing some of the most pressing social issues facing India today, from female feticide and child sex abuse to alcoholism and political corruption. Yet, despite its sensitive subject matter, the show has become one of India's most watched programs. STAR estimates that more than 500 million Indians saw the show in its first season, and the groundswell of grassroots movements that have come about as a result have had tangible effects on Indian culture.
Since its 2012 debut, SMJ has led to several new and revised laws, both in national and local governments. Indian Parliament passed the country's first ever child protection from sexual abuse bill, and the Rajasthan high court created a fast-track court to prosecute cases of female feticide. Recently, Aamir Khan met with the newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the various issues he covered on SMJ, indicating that the series has become a centerpiece of the national conversation.
"There has been a significant shift in attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, and behavior," said Gayatri Yadav, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications at STAR India. "Over the last two-years, Satyamev Jayate has redefined the role of TV as a positive change agent."
The new season's tagline Mumkin Hai, or "It is possible," speaks to this emphasis on change. Sharing impacts like these is essential for STAR, and the company is launching its new digital initiative to better communicate with its audience.
Digital has long been a key component in SMJ's attempts to facilitate an ongoing dialogue with its viewers. The series' website encourages viewers to post their stories about how they have encountered these issues in their own lives, and the conversation on Twitter was so large that SMJ became the first Indian series to reach 2nd place on Twitter's top 10 global trends. Now, viewers will have the chance to use social media to interact with Aamir Khan directly through hour-long live specials that will air following each new SMJ episode.
"This was based on feedback that our viewers wish to interact and have their voices heard," Yadav said. "Digital will be a key medium for this, where people can ask questions and share their views through social media, and this will be broadcast live on STAR Plus. SMJ Live is one more step in taking the show closer to viewers and making it a people's brand."
Satyamev Jayate's new season will premiere on STAR channels in India and around the world on Sunday, October 5. The series is sponsored by Airtel and Axis Bank. Visit STAR on YouTube to watch the complete first season and SatyamevJayate.in for the second. Click here for more information on STAR, Satyamev Jayate, and SMJ Live.