National Geographic (American TV channel)

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National Geographic
National Geographic Channel logo
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaWorldwide
HeadquartersManhattan, New York City, U.S.
Picture format720p HDTV
(downscaled to 480i for the SDTV feed)
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company (73%) and National Geographic Society (27%)
ParentNational Geographic Global Networks (Disney Entertainment) and National Geographic Partners
Sister channels
LaunchedJanuary 7, 2001; 23 years ago (2001-01-07)
Former namesNational Geographic Channel (2001–2016)
Streaming media
Service(s)YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, Vidgo, DirecTV Stream

National Geographic (formerly National Geographic Channel; abbreviated and trademarked as Nat Geo or Nat Geo TV) is an American pay television network and flagship channel owned by the National Geographic Global Networks unit of Disney Entertainment and National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (73%) and the National Geographic Society (27%),[1][2] with the operational management handled by Disney Entertainment.[3]

The flagship channel airs non-fiction television programs produced by National Geographic and other production companies. Like History (which is 50% owned by Disney through A&E Networks) and Discovery Channel, the channel features documentaries with factual content involving nature, science, culture, and history, plus some reality and pseudo-scientific entertainment programming[citation needed]. Its primary sister network worldwide, including the United States, is Nat Geo Wild, which focuses on animal-related programming, including the popular Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.

As of February 2015, National Geographic is available to approximately 86,144,000 pay television households (74% of households with television) in the United States.[4]


In the United States, the National Geographic Channel launched on January 7, 2001,[5] as a joint venture of National Geographic Television & Film and Fox Cable Networks. National Geographic provides programming expertise and the Fox Networks Group provides its expertise on distribution, marketing, and advertising sales.

National Geographic Channel logo (2004–2013)

The '90s: The Last Great Decade, a documentary series narrated by Rob Lowe, pulled in 1.10 million viewers, and was the second highest-rated July telecast in the National Geographic Channel rating history. The 2000s: A New Reality, also narrated by Lowe, premiered on July 12, 2015.[6]

On November 14, 2016, National Geographic Channel was renamed as simply National Geographic, dropping the "Channel" from its name.

On December 14, 2017, in a deal, The Walt Disney Company announced it would buy the majority of 21st Century Fox. Disney would assume control of Fox's controlling stake in the National Geographic partnership thereafter.[7] Following the acquisition, National Geographic and its sister channels were folded into Walt Disney Television, with the president of the National Geographic Partners reporting directly to the Walt Disney Television chairman.[8] Disney officially closed the deal on March 20, 2019, having then added Nat Geo into its portfolio of networks.[2]

On September 15, 2023, Byron Allen made a $10B bid to buy ABC, FX & National Geographic as Bob Iger claimed it 'may not be core' to Disney.[9] On November 29th, 2023, Iger announced he was no longer interested in selling Disney's linear TV assets, effectively rejecting Bryon Allen's offer.[10]

TV shows[edit]

National Geographic Channel's TV shows, in alphabetical order:

Theme fanfare music[edit]

The National Geographic Channel's signature theme fanfare music, which is played at the beginning of many of the channel's television programs, was composed by Elmer Bernstein. It was originally written in 1964 for the Society's television specials, which were broadcast on CBS, ABC, PBS and NBC from 1964 until the early 2000s.

Other National Geographic US channels[edit]

National Geographic HD[edit]

The United States 720p high definition simulcast of the National Geographic Channel launched in January 2006. It is available on all major cable and satellite providers.

Nat Geo Wild[edit]

Nat Geo Wild (stylized as Nat Geo WILD or abbreviated as NGW) is a cable/satellite TV channel focused on animal-related programs. It is a sister network to National Geographic Channel and it is the latest channel to be jointly launched by the National Geographic Society and Fox Cable Networks. It was launched in United States on March 29, 2010, focusing primarily on wildlife and natural history programming.

Nat Geo Mundo[edit]

Nat Geo Mundo
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
Picture format480i SDTV
OwnerNational Geographic Society
Launched2011; 13 years ago (2011)
Streaming media
Service(s)FuboTV, YouTube TV, Vidgo, Sling TV, DirecTV Stream

Nat Geo Mundo is broadcast in American Spanish, and was launched in 2011.[13] It shares programming with the Nat Geo Channel available in Hispanic American countries. The channel is fully-owned by the National Geographic Society with no involvement from Disney General Entertainment Content.

Nat Geo TV[edit]

Nat Geo TV is an application for smartphones and tablet computers, along with Windows 10. It allows subscribers of participating pay television providers (such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast Xfinity) numerous viewing options:

  • individual episodes of National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild's original series and documentaries (which are made available live)

Controversy and criticism[edit]

In 2013, the network began airing the reality show Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?. National Geographic Channel was criticized for their association with the Boy Scouts of America, an organization which, until a vote in May of that year that overturned its ban, had forbidden openly gay members.[14]

Archaeologists have protested that National Geographic shows such as Diggers and Nazi War Diggers promote the looting and destruction of archaeological sites by promoting the work of metal detecting souvenir hunters and collectable dealers.[15] In 2013 the National Geographic Channel set off a firestorm of controversy with its reality show Diggers. Professional archaeologists from the Society for Historical Archaeology, the largest scholarly group concerned with the archaeology of the modern world (A.D. 1400–present), roundly criticized the network for promoting the theft of cultural materials on public and private land.[16] The show Nazi War Diggers was accused of showing unscientific and disrespectful handling of human remains. A promotional quote from a military relic dealer, "I feel that by selling things that are Nazi-related and for lots of money, I am preserving things that museums don't want to deal with," was removed from the channel's website in March 2014. National Geographic expressed regret for how the series was presented by its own website but maintained that many of the accusations against the series were based on misinformation.[17] The show was repackaged, amid controversy, as Battlefield Recovery for air during 2016 on Channel 5 in the UK.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parker, Laura (September 9, 2015). "National Geographic and 21st Century Fox Expand Media Partnership". Culture. Retrieved March 27, 2024.
  2. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (March 19, 2019). "Disney Closes $71 Billion 21st Century Fox Deal". Variety. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Steinberg, Brian (August 29, 2019). "Disney Layoffs Affect National Geographic". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2024.
  4. ^ Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  5. ^ "Doctoring the Health Channel" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. January 8, 2001. p. 12. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  6. ^ Gabrielle Pantera. "Nat Geo Channel The 2000s, Rob Lowe Narrates the Naughties". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  7. ^ "The Walt Disney Company To Acquire Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., After Spinoff Of Certain Businesses, For $52.4 Billion In Stock" (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. December 14, 2017. Archived from the original on December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 8, 2018). "Disney Unveils Top TV Executive Structure Post Fox Acquisition: Peter Rice, Dana Walden, John Landgraf, Gary Knell Joining". Deadline. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  9. ^ Goldsmith, Dade Hayes,Jill; Hayes, Dade; Goldsmith, Jill (September 15, 2023). "Disney Fielding Interest In ABC And Other Linear TV Assets From Byron Allen And Nexstar; Media Giant Calls Reports Of Sale Talks "Unfounded," But Will Consider "Strategic Options" – Update". Deadline. Retrieved December 6, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Disney's Bob Iger does a 360 on possibly selling ABC and FX and now says he'll keep the TV stations".
  11. ^ "Apocalypse 101" – via
  12. ^ "Building Wild" – via
  13. ^ "National Geographic Launches Nat Geo Mundo, New Network For Multi-Generational And Bicultural U.S. Latinos". April 4, 2011. Archived from the original on July 1, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  14. ^ Wong, Curtis (January 24, 2013). "Boy Scout Reality Series Deemed Anti-Gay 'Marketing Ploy' By LGBT Activists". Huffington Post.
  15. ^ "Two Popular TV Shows Under Fire From Archaeologists". HuffPost. March 2, 2012.
  16. ^ "National Geographic's Diggers: is it better?". Society for Historical Archaeology. February 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  17. ^ Mashberg, Tom (March 28, 2014). "TV Series Is Criticized in Handling of Deceased". The New York Times – via
  18. ^ "Channel 5 accused of supporting 'grave-robbing' over TV show Battlefield Recovery". the Guardian. January 8, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2021.

External links[edit]