Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Barry Levinson Projects Land at Nat Geo

TCA 2015: “Last Man Out,” “Red Planet” part of shift toward scripted and event programming according to CEO Courtney Monroe

Last Updated: July 29, 2015 @ 3:34 PM

National Geographic Channel has ordered a scripted limited series from executive producers Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana about the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War, the network announced Wednesday.

The miniseries, “Last Man Out” will be written by Fontana. The network also announced a scripted-unscripted hybrid miniseries from executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and their Imagine Entertainment foreseeing the future colonization of Mars. Both miniseries are set to premiere on National Geographic in 2016.

The two projects were held up by National Geographic Channel CEO Courteney Monroe at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour Wednesday as examples of the network’s efforts to expand its scripted programming efforts and partner with well-known creators.

“We haven’t traditionally been the port of call for A-list creators and actors and writers,” Monroe said. “Partially we haven’t had the budget to support their ideas, and partially because it hasn’t really been our ambition. But they are really excited to work with us and to work in support of the National Geographic brand. So they came to us, and we’re thrilled that they did.”

Regarding the breakdown between scripted and unscripted, Monroe said, “We  don’t have a specific formula that we have in mind. We’re really just interested in finding that right projects that fit with our vision of creating entertaining content that represents the National Geographic brand.”

Monroe also said that the network is open to another film in its “Killing” series. “We’re really proud of the three ‘Killing’ films that we did with Scott Free [Productions] based on Bill O’Reilly’s books, including ‘Killing Lincoln,’ ‘Killing Kennedy’ and ‘Killing Jesus,'” Monroe said. “They’re all the highest rated shows in the history of our network. So we’re very much open to collaborating with them again, but we have no specific plans to announce right now.”

As TheWrap reported exclusively, former President Bill Clinton will be a guest on the Season 2 premiere of the network’s late-night talk show “Star Talk,” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Oct. 25. National Geographic Channel and Fox will broadcast the Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, to be hosted by Seth MacFarlane Nov. 8