Alec Baldwin to Host Nat Geo's Weekly ‘Night of Exploration’

Alec Baldwin to Host Nat Geo's Weekly 'Night of Exploration'

The former "30 Rock" actor's return was announced with the network's summer lineup

Alec Baldwin will host National Geographic Channel's weekly "Night of Exploration" beginning Friday, June 14, the network announced on Thursday.

The Emmy-award winning actor's first on-air hosting duty will be "Crossing the Ice," an adventure across Antarctica.

“Alec has the perfect combination of energy and gravitas that we think our Night of Exploration viewers will love,” said David Lyle, CEO, National Geographic Channels. “Each week, he will introduce the compelling stories of people around the globe whose drive to climb higher, dive lower or dig deeper never cease to amaze.”

This is not the first time Baldwin has appeared on National Geographic Channel. In 2010, he served as narrator for the miniseries, "Great Migrations."

Also read: Rob Lowe to Play JFK for Nat Geo's 'Killing Kennedy'

Nat Geo's "Night of Exploration," airing Fridays at 8 p.m.ET/PT, is being rolled out along with five new series: "Battleground Afghanistan," "Eyewitness War," "Inside Secret America," "Inside the American Mob" and "The Castle." Returning series include: "Ultimate Survival Australia," "Life Below Zero," "Taboo USA," "Diggers" and "Doomsday Preppers."

Below is the network's description of each new series.

"Battleground Afghanistan" (Markus Vernon Davies)

Premieres Monday, July 1, at 9 PM ET/PT

Following the critically acclaimed series Inside Combat Rescue, NGC looks inside the latest chapter of the Afghan Conflict as seen by the American Marines in Afghanistan. Capt. Ben Middendorf and his men take the fight directly to the Taliban with a mission to locate, disrupt and destroy the enemy.

"Eyewitness War" (Karga Seven Pictures)

Premieres Monday, July 1, at 10 PM and 10:30 PM ET/PT

Follow the men and women of the Army, Navy, Drug Enforcement Administration, Coast Guard and other forces through the chaos of battle with real-life, first-person footage. It's their vision, their words, their war.

"Inside Secret America" (National Geographic Television)

Series Premieres Wednesday, July 10, at 10 PM ET/PT

Investigative journalists Mariana van Zeller and Darren Foster take you inside the nation's underground networks to the heart of America's most controversial issues, from guns to drugs to the paranormal.

"Inside the American Mob" (Left/Right)

Series Premieres Sunday, July 28, at 9 PM ET/PT

Take a look at the little-known but pivotal escapades, capers and cadavers that truly compose the history of the mob in America.

"The Castle" (Sharp Entertainment)

Series Premieres in August

With his 10 kids, American prepper Brent Bruns builds a castle deep in the South Carolina woods that will serve as a bunker in case an electromagnetic burst results in a massive power outage.

Also read: Nat Geo Announces Military Shows 'Battleground Afganistan' and 'EyeWitness War'

Below is the full schedule for "Night of Exploration."

"Crossing the Ice"

Premieres Friday, June 14, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

No one has ever walked without any assistance across the wasteland of Antarctica to the South Pole and back … until now. In a special documentary, NGC follows Australian explorers Justin “Jonesey” Jones and James “Cas” Castrission on their excruciating journey to set a world record. Not only do these daring adventurers have to battle freezing weather, serious injuries, hypothermia and gear failures, but along the way they learn that a Norwegian skier is also attempting to achieve the exact same goal. See how these men, delirious with starvation and pain, test their boundaries of endurance on a nail-biting journey from which no man has ever come out alive before.

"Mystery Bear of the Arctic"

Friday, June 14, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

High above the Arctic Circle, on a remote Canadian island, an American sports hunter shoots what he believes is a polar bear. He is mistaken. His Inuit guide has never seen an animal like this before. The killing unleashes an investigation by the Canadian authorities. But no one can tell exactly what he has shot. The hunter is under threat of prosecution for a crime he says he didn't commit. Scientists pore over the only evidence they have – the corpse of an animal they've never seen before. With each new discovery, the mystery deepens as they try to discover the exact species of this animal.

"Secrets of the Lost Gold"

Friday, June 21, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

NGC obtained exclusive access to one of the most important ancient discoveries of modern times: the amazing story of how an amateur metal-detecting enthusiast discovered a gold hoard of more than 3,000 artifacts dating back nearly a millennium, and valued at more than $5 million. Now, an international team of experts is on a global quest to unearth the hoard's secrets.

"The 400 Million Dollar Emerald"

Friday, June 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Thought to be the world's largest emerald – 840 pounds’ worth – is unearthed in Brazil in 2001. The resulting tale of deceit, obsession and folly is almost too bizarre to be believed. A California businessman claims to have bought it in Brazil for a mere $60,000, only to see his proof of purchase vanish in a house fire. A businessman obtains title to the emerald, only to lose it in a diamond deal that falls through, he says, because he was kidnapped by the Brazilian mafia. In between, the emerald spends weeks submerged underwater in a New Orleans vault after Hurricane Katrina floods the city. By the time the stone finds its way into the California judicial system in 2008, no fewer than eight claimants are tussling for control of a specimen appraised at around $400 million.

"Journey to the Edge of the Universe"

Friday, June 28, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

In one single epic camera move, we journey from two people studying the night sky, accelerate up through the atmosphere, past the moon and neighboring planets, and out of our solar system to the stars, galaxies and beyond. Traveling all the way to the edge of the universe itself, NGC goes on a breathtakingly grand tour of the cosmos to explore newborn stars, distant planets, black holes and galaxies beyond. With the help of the world's most famous telescope and cinema-quality computer-generated images, we'll journey to the edge of time to visualize the powers that forged and constantly renew the universe.

"Waking the Baby Mammoth"

Friday, July 5, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

"Mammoth: Back From the Dead"

Friday, July 5, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

It's a mammoth doubleheader for this week's "Night of Exploration", starting with "Waking the Baby Mammoth" at 8 p.m. Lyuba, a 1-month-old baby that walked the tundra about 40,000 years ago before dying mysteriously, is the most perfectly preserved woolly mammoth ever discovered. She has mesmerized the scientific world with her arrival, creating headlines across the globe. NGC sets out around the world on a cutting-edge forensic investigation into her life and death, 10,000 years after her species began to die out. In the second hour, "Mammoth: Back From the Dead," we follow a team of international scientists on an ambitious quest to clone a mammoth. The Russian government has granted leading cloning scientists from South Korea access to the best mammoth graveyards on the planet and permission to take frozen samples directly from the permafrost to a high-tech lab in Seoul. If the samples remain frozen on their journey, work can begin on finding the DNA necessary to try and resurrect the iconic ice age mammoth.

"Touching the Dragon"

Premieres Friday, July 19, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

Photojournalist Roger Horrocks has long felt connected to and fascinated by crocodiles. After an experience in Africa brought him very close to one crocodile that almost seemed to welcome the human presence, Roger wondered if it was possible for a crocodile to form a bond with a human. This simple thought took him halfway around the world to Costa Rica on a mission to find Chito, a man many referred to as the “crocodile shaman.” Many years ago, Chito nursed an injured crocodile, which he calls Pocho, back to health. Since then, the two formed an unthinkable bond. "Touching the Dragon" examines this astonishing relationship between the earth's most ancient predator and a unique man, one that defies the boundaries of the natural world.