Cape Town – National Geographic (DStv 181/StarSat 220/Cell C black 261) on Tuesday announced that it will be doing a new global competition show from the creators behind The Amazing Race, entitled Race to the Centre of the Earth.
Besides the new shows, National Geographic has renewed Brain Games for another season but adding celebrities, and Drain the Oceans for a third season, while it also ordered a Wicked Tuna spin-off entitled Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.
At its upfront in New York on Tuesday, National Geographic revealed that it has commissioned a new show, Race to the Centre of the Earth, with the 8-episode series that will be an adrenaline-fueled global competition reality TV competition, pitting four teams against one another in a nonstop sprint across the globe for a $1m prize.
Production is set to begin later this year.
Each team is challenged with navigating through its route, offering unique terrains, climates and cultures as the team makes its way to a central location.
The teams will face untamed jungles, frozen arctic, arid deserts, bustling cities, treacherous mountains and vast oceans to reach the location where all four routes intersect. The first team to arrive at the buoy wins.
"Our goal is to create a gripping, completely real experience that pushes the edges of adventure and embeds viewers in extreme action, breathtaking drama and stunning locations as we follow four highly skilled teams on the race of a lifetime," says Geoff Daniels, executive vice president of unscripted entertainment, at National Geographic Networks.
"Unlike other competition formats, Race to the Centre of the Earth will combine the grittiness of a survival show with the cinematic style of a feature film action-thriller dropping viewers into the middle of a heart-pounding journey unlike anything ever made for television."
Betram van Munster says "I'm thrilled to team up with National Geographic. Our rapidly changing world has allowed us to reimagine a new and exciting way to showcase adventure".
"What excites me most about Race to the Center of the Earth is that this partnership is such a natural fit. By combining our expertise in adventure competition series with National Geographic's legacy of exploration and unrivalled visual storytelling, this series promises to raise the stakes of this genre and deliver something totally unique, breathtaking and exhilarating."
WICKED TUNA AND WICKED TUNA: OUTER BANKS SPIN-OFF
Meanwhile Wicked Tuna will be back for another 15-episode season in 2020 on National Geographic, along with a brand-new spin-off entitled Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks that will have 13 episodes.
Wicked Tuna follows a group of salty commercial fishermen from the nation's oldest seaport, Gloucester, Massachusetts, as they make their living through rod-and-reel fishing in pursuit of the prized bluefin tuna.
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks follows a Southern cast of top captains along with the returning Northern cast, all battling to catch bluefin in the dangerous waters off the coast of North Carolina. In addition to unpredictable, treacherous conditions, the captains must contend with one another as well as experienced locals who will stop at nothing to beat them to the catch.
National Geographic has renewed Brain Games for another 8-episode season but is changing the format to incorporate American celebrities.
Keegan-Michael Key (The Lion King, Toy Story 4) will host the rebooted hit series.
These celebrities will "realise their special brain power" through interactive games, illusions and social experiments. The show is being "Hollywood"-fied further and will be done in front of a studio audience.
The in-studio audience and the viewers at home can play along, comparing their mental abilities against the first five celebrity participants who will be Kristin Bell, Dax Shepherd, Drew Brees, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Anderson.
Trafficked with Mariana Van Zeller is an 8-episode series set for 2020 and will explore the often-dangerous inner-workings of the global underworld of smuggling networks, and black and informal markets.
Journalist Mariana van Zeller is on a mission to track the chain of custody of trafficked goods; understand how to obtain the contraband; or see the 360-degree view of the trafficking world from the point of view of the smugglers, law enforcement and those caught in the crossfire.
As she meets the willing players and unwitting individuals who make, buy, sell and move goods, services and ideas, Mariana attempts - with characteristic boldness and empathy - to unearth the geopolitical circumstances and context that create the world's multitrillion-dollar shadow economy.
Lost Cities with Albert Lin - in this new 6-episode series the National Geographic Explorer Albert Lin will go on a high-tech adventure that will revolutionize archaeology across the globe.
Utilising ground-penetrating radar, LiDar and 3D scanning, Lin will work with boots-on-the-ground archaeologists to discover and re-create unexcavated worlds still hidden beneath the earth.
The ambitious approach will use high-tech imagery to uncover and resolve mysteries of the past in the most extraordinary sites of antiquity, including the Knights Templar in Israel, the Lost Kingdom of the Pacific in Micronesia, and the city behind the legend of El Dorado: City of Gold in Colombia.
China's Hidden Kingdoms - this 5-episode series will start in 2020 and take viewers into the secret wilderness of China to reveal the beauty of its hidden kingdoms.
With unique access to locations across the country, viewers go on a journey through these magical realms, exploring five very different worlds - high mountains, tropical jungles, bamboo forests, great plains and temperate forests.
Animals like the snow leopard, the giant panda, the Tibetan fox, the golden snub-nosed monkey and a stunning kaleidoscope of jungle creatures are found here. All these animals live within their own unique hidden kingdoms of habitats and landscapes, sharing their worlds with other fascinating creatures.
Using high-specification drones, camera traps and the latest 4K camera technology to engage with these special animals, the series brings China’s hidden kingdoms to life in the most dramatic ways possible.
Drain the Oceans - another 10 episodes are coming in 2020 for the series that has been renewed for a third season.
The series reveals the full scope of the shipwrecks, treasure, sunken cities, geology and technology at play on the floor of lakes, seas and oceans around the world, solving underwater riddles that have mystified generations.
Ghostly shapes beneath the waves are exposed in all their stunning glory, as the water is removed from the picture to tell stories that explain natural wonders and man-made catastrophes.
Combining the latest scientific data from underwater scanning systems with state-of-the-art digital recreations, this series crisscrosses the globe in search of slaves, pirates, American revolutionaries, heroic explorers, ancient cultures and world-changing battles; and it delves deep into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the icy waters of the Baltic, the terrifying icescapes of the Arctic, the shoreline of one of America’s premier cities, the mysterious Nile delta, and the underwater graveyards of the American Civil War in its quest for answers.
(Photos supplied: National Geographic)