National Geographic

Certain images are permanently etched into our memory, and the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion is one of them. On Jan. 28, 1986, with the eyes of the world watching, the space shuttle abruptly burst into flames during a live television broadcast. All seven crewmembers died, including a social studies teacher who was supposed to be the first American civilian in space. The heartbreaking tragedy instantly became a defining moment in American history.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster, National Geographic Channel combed through long-forgotten news footage, radio reports, audio recordings and rarely seen NASA footage to retell the events leading up to, during and immediately after that fateful day.

Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes, premiering Thursday January 28 at 9.30pm, takes viewers behind the scenes of this compelling and historic story in a way never before seen. Produced by Peabody-award winning producers, the one-hour special includes no narration and no commentators, instead unfolding the story solely through the reports of journalists covering the story at the time, extensive audio and video recordings from NASA and archived interviews with the flight crew and others who were part of the one-of-a-kind mission.

The special follows the story of the Space Shuttle Challenger and its crew, specifically Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from Concord, New Hampshire. The 37-year-old mother of two was chosen from thousands of applicants to be the first teacher in space as part of President Ronald Reagan’s initiative to bring interplanetary studies into the classroom.

During one of the opening scenes in Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes, viewers see rare footage of McAuliffe rehearsing lesson plans on board the space shuttle and later testing out science experiments in a gravity-free environment. These lessons were intended to be done live from space and beamed into classrooms across the United States.

America’s excitement and enthusiasm about the Teacher in Space Program is chronicled in the documentary, from the initial presidential announcement, through the search to find the perfect teacher and the winner’s yearlong astronaut training, to its unexpected and tragic final moments. The documentary features NASA interviews with some of the top 10 finalists, in which McAuliffe talks about being a lifelong adventurer who plans to share her experience with her class. Just 48 days before the launch, cameras capture the teacher-turned-astronaut giving a guided tour of the space shuttle to her supportive family.

After McAuliffe was selected as the winner, Bryant Gumbel of “Today Show” asked her if she was nervous. “Not yet,” she said. “Maybe when I’m strapped in and those rockets are going off underneath me I will be, but space flight today really seems safe.” Her words are still haunting 30 years later.

Some of the rarely seen and iconic moments featured in the special include the following:

NASA’s interviews with Christa McAuliffe, the winner of the Teacher in Space Program, and Barbara Morgan, the backup teacher who was selected to train alongside Christa in case of any last-minute problems

Candid video and photos of McAuliffe touring the space shuttle with her husband and two young children

Audio recordings from inside the Challenger cockpit during take-off, including Cmdr. Dick Scobee’s final words just before the space shuttle exploded

Footage of the launch pad during the launch at Canaveral, Fla., and inside Mission Control in Houston, Tex., as the disaster unfolded

Video of students at Concord High School in New Hampshire, who watched in horror as the space shuttle exploded with their beloved teacher inside it, as well as unforgettable video of those seated in the Grand Stand at the launch site, who witnessed the explosion first-hand.

Behind-the-scenes NASA footage of Vice President George Bush and Senator John Glenn talking to members of the Challenger launch team hours after the explosion. They both travelled to Houston to tell the launch team that the nation was standing with them.

Recordings of local New Hampshire radio reporters who followed Christa during the year that she prepared for the launch, and their eyewitness accounts as they stood in the grandstands watching the tragedy unfold.

Behind-the-scenes footage at the CNN Newsroom as reporters scrambled to cover the explosion as it happened.

The compelling footage and audio recordings are intricately linked together to capture the drama of what happened and the lasting effect it had in Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes.

Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes is produced by 1895 Films for National Geographic Channels. For 1895 Films, Tom Jennings is executive producer and director. For National Geographic Channels, Simon Young is commissioning editor and executive producer, Michael J. Miller is executive producer, Hamish Mykura is executive vice president of programming and development and Tim Pastore is president of original programming and production.

Who is God? Where did we come from? Why does evil happen? What happens when we die? Every human being on earth has asked themselves these questions at some point, and most likely each person has found a different answer. National Geographic Channel’s epic series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, produced by Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger, will take viewers on a trip around the world to explore different cultures and religions on the ultimate quest to uncover the meaning of life, God and all these big questions in between.

Premiering April 2016, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman seeks to understand how religion has evolved throughout the course of civilisation, and in turn how religion has shaped the evolution of society. Although in our current geopolitical landscape, religion is often seen as something that divides, the series illuminates the remarkable similarities among different faiths, even those that seem to be in staunch contrast. This is a quest for God: to shed light on the questions that have puzzled, terrified and inspired mankind, not to mention Freeman himself.

“Over the past few months, I’ve travelled to nearly 20 cities in seven different countries on a personal journey to find answers to the big mysteries of faith,” said Freeman. “I’ve sung the call to prayer at a mosque in Cairo, taken meditation lessons from the Buddhist leader of the oldest line of reincarnating Lamas, discussed Galileo with the head of the Papal Academy of Sciences and explored the first instructions for the afterlife rendered in hieroglyphs inside the pyramids. In some places I found answers, and others led to more questions. The constant through it all is that we’re all looking to be part of something bigger than us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we certainly are.”

Each episode of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is centred on a different big question about the divine:

Creation – Are there similarities among the religious creation stories from around the world? How do they compare with the scientific theory of the creation of the cosmos and the dawn of civilisation?

Who Is God? – How has the perception of God evolved over human history? Is God just an idea, and if so, can we find evidence of a divine presence in our brains?

Evil – What is the root of evil and how has our idea of it evolved over the millennia? Is the devil real? The birth of religion may be inextricably tied to the need to control evil.

Miracles – Are miracles real? For many believers, miracles are the foundation of their faith. Others regard miracles as merely unlikely events on which our brains impose divine meaning. Belief in miracles, however we define them, could be what gives us hope and drives us to turn possibility into reality.

End of Days – Violent upheaval and fiery judgment fill popular imagination, but was the lore of apocalypse born out of the strife that plagued the Middle East two millennia ago? The true religious meaning of the apocalypse may not be a global war, but an inner revelation.

Resurrection – How have beliefs in the afterlife developed, and how has our reaction to the afterlife changed the way we live this life? Now that science is making such rapid advances, we may soon be confronted with digital resurrection. What will that do to our beliefs?

To explore each of these topics, host and narrator Freeman went on the ground to some of humanity’s greatest religious sites, including Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, India’s Bodhi Tree, Mayan temples in Guatemala and the pyramids of Egypt. He travelled with archaeologists to uncover the long-lost religions of our ancestors, such as those at the 7500 B.C. Neolithic settlement Çatalhöyük in Turkey. He immersed himself in religious experiences and rituals all around the world, and became a test subject in scientific labs to examine how the frontiers of neuroscience are intersecting the traditional domain of religion.

“As we put this series together, we sought answers to some of mankind’s biggest questions, but in the end what surprised us most was to find how personal those answers were for each of us,” said executive producers Lori McCreary and James Younger. “There is no wrong answer when it comes to God or what you believe, and we hope The Story of God will help open an interfaith dialogue about ideas and values that we all share, not that we disagree on.”

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award-winning actor, and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio, BEFORE THE FLOOD presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change. BEFORE THE FLOOD will be in theaters in NYC and LA starting October 21, and air globally on the National Geographic Channel starting October 30.

###Optus and National Geographic Launch World-First Mobile App

Explore National Geographic, data-free, exclusive to eligible Optus mobile customers for 18 months

Today Optus and National Geographic announced an exclusive Australian partnership to launch the National Geographic app(1). In a global first, the mobile app brings together 129 years of powerful storytelling (2), delivering it right into the hands of eligible Optus mobile customers. Optus is the first in a series of global partners to team up with National Geographic to launch the app.

The National Geographic mobile app offers a portal to explore like never before. Each customer will have their own unique, personalised experience, with content increasingly tailored to suit their preferences. Customers can choose to read from the huge range of articles, watch a documentary, or scroll through some of the world’s most breathtaking photography – all without using their data (3).

Jacqui Feeney, Managing Director of Fox Networks Group ANZ, said, “The launch of this app sees major investment in a digital first product come to fruition. It has been a true collaboration between National Geographic and the team at Optus. It delivers on our vision to lead digital entertainment by moving the brand from reverence to relevance in a mobile-led world. The app expresses what National Geographic stands for: taking the extra step, driving exploration and going further, all of which is built into the product’s DNA.”

“We have a treasure trove of global content that will be topped up with local stories we are bringing to Optus mobile customers as a world first experience. The app enables users to get closer to the work of our explorers, photographers, filmmakers, scientists and conservationists. We understand freshness and local relevance is key so the product will provide a regularly updated and personalised experience to ensure users watch, look at and read the content they love the most.”

Ben White, Managing Director of Marketing and Product at Optus, said, “We know our customers want the best in entertainment, and the National Geographic App will offer them an experience like never before with an unprecedented range of video, photo and editorial content, all in one place, and tailored to the individual for a rich and immersive experience.”

“We’re extremely proud to be able to offer this exclusive to our customers in Australia, and to build on our partnerships with the best entertainment, sport and music brands in the world. National Geographic is one of the world’s most respected and recognisable brands, with the unique position as one of the only publications with more than a 100 years’ worth of unique content to share from some of the most pivotal events of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.”

New, existing and recontracting Optus My Plan Plus/Flex and My Plan Business/Flex customers[4] on handset plans $40 and above will enjoy exclusive access to the amazing video, photographic and editorial content on National Geographic’s mobile app included in their plan at no extra cost, and without using their plan’s monthly data allowance.

The National Geographic mobile app will be regularly updated with fresh content from the brand’s global network of storytellers, enabling customers to easily access topics that matter the most to them. The app’s content will grow over time, initially launching with:

Nearly 5,000 long and short form videos, including over 1,500 TV show episodes;
Two live TV channels: National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild;
Over 28,000 photos and galleries by some of National Geographic’s leading photographers;
National Geographic magazine editions starting from January 2009 plus the 1888 full first edition;
Local and international articles published online from January 2014;
Live feed from National Geographic’s world leading Instagram accounts; and
Exclusive video content only available to Optus customers.

For more details, visit optus.com.au/natgeo

(1) App is exclusive for 18 months.
(2) App includes selected magazine content.
(3) Content such as ads, authentication & app analytics are excluded and will incur data charges.
(4) Customers must be 18+ years or have parental permission if they are 15 – 17 years.


One World Together At Home live this Sunday 10:00am on National Geographic on Foxtel and Fetch.

Season 2 of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted premieres on National Geographic on Tuesday, July 7 at 7.30pm AEST.

This show was filmed after Ramsay was guest judge on the first week of MasterChef’s new season.

6-part documentary Nature’s Fury premieres tomorrow (June 11) at 8.30pm AEST.

2-part documentary Save This Shark, featuring former world surfing champion Mick Fanning, premieres on September 15 at 7.30pm AEST. The trailer was released five years to the day since his encounter with a shark at the J-Bay Open in South Africa.

I know Nat Geo is running SharkFest 2020 in the US but when I saw a show called Sharkcano I thought it was another cheap Sci-Fi channel Z-grade movie :grinning:

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Genius: Aretha will debut in the US on March 21 (Australian broadcast date to be confirmed).

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The Nat Geo NZ voiceover guy sounds exactly the same as the Network 10 one, I’m sure of it.

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Aussie Snake Wranglers’ has been renewed for a second series, to begin in 2022

Since debuting in September this year, the series has proven a hit with local audiences, routinely being the most watched factual program on subscription television in its Tuesday night timeslot.

Australia and New Zealand viewers have fallen in love with Snake guru Stuart McKenzie and his colorful team of snake catchers, including Mullet Mick, Adele, Chris, Jess and Olivia.

Over 20 different species call the area home, including the world’s second most venomous snake, the Eastern Brown snake, highly venomous red-bellied black snakes, whip snakes, giant carpet pythons and more.

Each episode is a thrill ride that sees the team respond to the distress calls of everyday Australians who find themselves face to face with the reptiles.

The series is produced by Breakout Productions in partnership with the South Australian Film Corporation and is available on-demand via Foxtel, Fetch and SKY NZ.

Season One has already showcased the weird and wonderful places snakes can call home, from school playgrounds to swimming pools, sheds…and even the fridge!

“Our viewers can’t get enough of ‘Aussie Snake Wranglers’ and we’re happy to say we will have more in 2022 on National Geographic.” - Kylie Watson-Wheeler

Season Two of ‘Aussie Snake Wranglers’ is currently in production and will premiere in Spring 2022.

A cast member of the Outback Wrangler TV show died hanging from a helicopter while trying to collect crocodile eggs.

Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson, 34, died when the chopper he was hanging 30 metres below collided with trees in West Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, an Air Transport Safety Bureau report says.

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It probably is. Nearly all voiceover artists are freelance workers.

I remember hearing the same voice doing promos for an American Top 40 station as a Canadian TV sports network.

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