Fox, NGV Turn Reality Channel Into Nat Geo Wild

Nat Geo Wild

Fox Cable Networks' struggling Fox Reality Channel will give way to another National Geographic Channel: Nat Geo Wild.

Fox Cable Networks, in a joint venture with National Geographic Ventures, which runs National Geographic Channel, will run the new channel. Financial terms for the new channel were not disclosed.

Nat Geo Wild, launching in 2010 with nearly 50 million Fox Reality Channel subscribers, will focus on various animals. The companies describe it as offering "intimate encounters with nature's ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air."

The joint venture for Nat Geo Wild started globally in August 2006. It is now available in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.K., Australia, Latin America, France, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and other territories in Europe.

Nat Geo Wild will be managed in the U.S. by Steve Schiffman, general manager. Schiffman is also general manager of the National Geographic Channel, which launched in January 2001. Currently, the NGC has 70 million cable subscribers.

Fox Reality Network attempted to build a franchise around big-name reality TV shows, including extensions of the Fox Television Network hit "American Idol," with the show "American Idol Extra." It also airs reruns of "Hell's Kitchen," "Nanny 911," "Trading Spouses" and "Blind Date."

Out of 76 ad-supported cable networks in the recent third-quarter period, Fox Reality Channel ranked 71st in prime time. It averaged 71,000 viewers. The network had 58,000 total day viewers, placing 72nd out of 78 networks.

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