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Phil Keoghan to Replace Richard Bacon as Nat Geo ‘Explorer’ Host

TCA 2018: ”The Amazing Race“ personality will lead all 20 episodes to premiere this fall

Move over Richard Bacon, there is a new explorer in town. Phil Keoghan is stepping in as the new host of National Geographic’s long-running series “Explorer” when it returns this fall, the cable network announced Saturday.

“Phil embodies what it means to be a National Geographic Explorer — he’s undoubtedly interested and curious about investigating the relationship between the Earth and human life,” said Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production during the network’s Television Critics Association panel. “‘Explorer’ is a show about informing and entertaining, and we’re confident that with Phil as host, he will be the catalyst for viewers to understand the way we fit into the world.”

The original “Explorer” series ended in 2011 and started again in 2015 with the help of Pastore and hosted by British journalist Bacon.

Keoghan is a globe-trotter, scuba diver and cyclist, best known as the host and executive producer of CBS’ “The Amazing Race.” He is no stranger to Nat Geo, having hosted their television event, “Earth Live.” He also directed the documentary “Le Ride,” about the 1928 Tour de France.

“I have been sharing stories in front of a camera for the past 30 years, and I am thrilled to partner with National Geographic again on such an iconic series that is rooted in fueling the adventurous spirit found in all of us,” Keoghan said. “I look forward to taking viewers with me on adventures around the globe to learn how we shape the world through adventure, curiosity and understanding.”

The upcoming season of the critically-acclaimed series — which is currently in production — will include 20 episodes that will premiere on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages, will cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Light Riders – “Explorer” embeds with a group of Silicon Valley-backed Tanzanians who carry solar panels to remote areas and bring electricity to villagers for the first time in their lives.
  • The Future of Farming – With the average age of an American farmer hovering around 58, and the world population on track to exceed 9 billion by 2050, how will we feed the world? “Explorer” heads to Europe, where one country may have already discovered a path toward averting global disaster through amazing technological innovation.
  • Godfather of Gaza – “Explorer” investigates the illicit and highly dangerous underground system of Hamas-run tunnels in the Gaza Strip. “Explorer” correspondent Mariana van Zeller gains unparalleled access to a tunnel run by a businessman intent to dig his way to a better life for the people of Gaza, all while being surrounded by an army intent on destroying these passageways.
  • Sensory Substitution – Using advanced technology, a group of scientific pioneers re-create missing senses and push the limits of human perception. From a welder using her tongue to see to a 2-year-old girl who uses her body to hear to a technology that promises the end of blindness.
  • Saltwater Crocs – Once on the brink of extinction, Australia’s saltwater crocodiles are making a comeback with alarming consequences. Nat Geo photographer Trevor Frost opens the door to “Explorer” correspondent Tim Samuels as he witnesses firsthand the exploding croc population, fueled, in part, by demand from fashion brands.

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