April 17, 2010

Last week I flew across country to Washington DC to attend the 25th Anniversary Party for National Geographic’s long-running series ‘Explorer’. The Party was an opportunity to mark a very special achievement. Twenty-five years is a long time in any life, but in television terms, it’s an eternity. ‘Explorer’ is literally in a class of its own; 2000 hours, 40 Emmy’s, and hundreds of other awards make it the most successful non-fiction cable series ever.

The party began with the screening of a two-hour Explorer Special, which airs on NGTV Monday 19th April 9pm (EST). Edge West was responsible for producing all the hosted links with regular contributor Lisa Ling. We shot the multiple links in a sound studio in Glendale, California. Nat Geo is delighted with the results, but I’ll let you judge for yourself if you tune in on Monday.

As a company, Edge West has already produced two one-hour specials for Explorer. This year that number will be doubled when we produce two more. Our first film for the longest-running cable series in America was in 2007. ‘Tunnel To A Lost World’, set in Istanbul, Turkey, is about one of the greatest maritime discoveries in recent times. A 4th century Imperial Roman harbor, with more than 30 well-preserved Byzantine shipwrecks, was revealed while engineers were building a new deep-water tunnel.

The second film took us on an incredible adventure to Brazil to make ‘Lost Cities of The Amazon’. It’s the story of what the Amazon civilization might have looked like when Conquistadors first traveled the length of the world’s longest river back in 1541.

Now in 2010 we are about to launch into two new films for Explorer. The first is an undercover story about an international organized crime syndicate. The second film is a challenging story about the origin of violence. Both will be aired early 2011.

The party last week was a perfect tribute to an incredible series. It was filled with celebrities like Lisa Ling and many of the filmmakers who have contributed so much passion, energy and knowledge. Executive Producer, Jonathan Halperin, heads the Explorer team in Washington. Last year the team was rewarded with an Emmy. I know that who ever takes over after Jonathan has left has a lot to live up to. But such is the tradition and pride of the series, that I’m convinced that the series it will continue to run successfully for at least another twenty-five years. Happy Birthday, Explorer.