The National Geographic Channel kicked off the summer gathering of the Television Critics Assn. with a presentation that teetered between the adorable and the unsettling.
Building on the success of “Doomsday Preppers,” the network is doubling down on the apocalyptic with a new reality series called “Doomsday Castle.” It follows “Brent Sr.” (no last name was provided), a North Carolina survivalist realizing his dream of building a medieval-style fortress to protect his family from what he believes are the coming "end days."
He was joined on stage at the Beverly Hilton by his brood of strapping children who also appear, however reluctantly, in the series. “It is my bibilical obligation to God to protect my family,” said Brent Sr., whose fortress is on a 15-acre plot in an undisclosed corner of the North Carolina mountains and who fears hostile overthrow by foreign countries, solar flares and electromagnetic pulses.
Speaking of terrifying scenarios, Nat Geo also teased an upcoming special event called “American Blackout,” a fictional dramatization of what might happen following a catastrophic power failure.
“It seems not a week goes by without threat of cyberattack,” network President Howard Owens helpfully reminded the crowd.
And if that weren't enough to scare the daylights out of you, there was also a planned live broadcast of free climber Alex Honnold’s ascent of an as-yet-undisclosed skyscraper. For a taste of what that might look like, watch this gut-churning “60 Minutes” report on the climbing prodigy – if you have the stomach for it.
Thankfully, sister network Nat Geo Wild has plenty of adorable critters to balance out all the scary stuff. A new series called “The Secret Life of Dogs” will take a look at man’s best friend from a scientific point of view. Another animal-related offering is “Jobs That Bite” – think of it as “Dirty Jobs” with animals — hosted by the hunky Jeremy Brandt, who appeared on stage clutching a 5-month-old piglet and ended the presentation by summoning a hawk with his outstretched hand.
Should come in handy in the apocalypse.