Nat Geo Adapts to TV Business Realities: A Movie Lover’s Perspective

  • Nat Geo president confident in network’s resilience
  • Focus on quality programming despite budget constraints
  • Emphasis on premium documentary storytelling
  • Potential interest in licensing Nat Geo shows to other platforms


National Geographic’s linear network, known as Nat Geo, is not immune to the current challenges faced by the television industry. However, the company’s president, Courteney Monroe, remains optimistic about the network’s ability to navigate these idiosyncrasies. At the recent TCA press tour, Monroe emphasized Nat Geo’s global reach and its strategic placement within the Disney+ universe as key advantages in tackling the current malaise.

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Quality Over Quantity Strategy

Despite facing budget constraints, Monroe reiterates Nat Geo’s commitment to a “quality over quantity” programming strategy. She believes that while the economic realities of the business may require adjustments, this approach has been a longstanding principle for the network. Monroe expresses confidence in Nat Geo’s robust pipeline, which continues to invest in premium documentary and factual entertainment.

Lukewarm on Scripted Content

While Nat Geo has previously aired scripted shows, Monroe indicates a shift in focus towards its distinctive strength in premium documentary storytelling. Recent scripted series, such as WWII drama “A Small Light” and “Genius: MLK/X,” are exceptions rather than the norm. Monroe suggests that future iterations of the Genius anthology brand are not currently a priority.

Potential for Licensing Nat Geo Shows

Monroe hints at the possibility of licensing Nat Geo shows to networks and streaming platforms outside of Disney+. This aligns with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s recent statements about exploring licensing opportunities beyond their own streaming universe. However, Monroe clarifies that decisions regarding licensing ultimately fall under the purview of Disney, while expressing her own belief that reaching more audiences with Nat Geo content would be beneficial for the brand.


As the television industry continues to evolve, Nat Geo acknowledges the need to adapt to the economic realities of the business. Despite budget constraints, the network remains committed to delivering quality programming and investing in premium documentary storytelling. With its global reach and strategic position within the Disney+ universe, Nat Geo is poised to tackle the challenges of the ever-changing television landscape.

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