Fox Networks executive drops hints about future projects

by Benedict Bartolome
May 5, 2018
Around 16,000 participants took part in the 2018 Nat Geo run.

Nat Geo's Earth Day Run 2018 has come and gone.

The #NotPlastic campaign, with its less wasteful approach of having participants refill their own water containers at checkpoints instead of using disposable cups, is no longer a trial run of 3 km to 21 km (so to speak) but has accomplished its goal of creating awareness for the environment.

Not only has it started a new program of training clinics for marathoners, it has also finished with possibly the final use of Roxas Boulevard for long distance running events.

But what of the future? Senior Vice President of Fox Networks Group Jude Turcuato declared in his opening remarks that one of the indicators of how successful an event is depends on if "they happen every year and they keep getting renewed every year because people want it."

The Earth Day Run is definitely a success with over 16,000 participants pounding the pavement against plastic pollution. Six years running, with not an end in sight.

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"Our main objective is to make people aware and to make people care," Jude explained. "However they want to care, it's really up to the individual or the person but... we have the tools to make people care."

How about providing tools for those who prefer to stay at home? There's the channel itself.

Jude pointed out, "For National Geographic, the thrust is to create less but higher quality documentaries." He claims that loosely "because a lot of our documentaries are tied into Hollywood."

It certainly shouldn't be a surprise since late last year, the channel presented the documentary and science fiction series Mars, listing Ron Howard and Brian Grazer as executive producers, in conjunction with rocket revolutionary Elon Musk on plans to inhabit the red planet.

Morgan Freeman also lent his voice for The Story of God, which tackled different belief systems and religions. This one is going on its second season this year.

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But what else is up in the air? Are there plans of producing content about the Philippines?

On the subject of locally produced documentaries, Jude vacillates with a "Yes and no. Most of our shows are based from Washington D.C. and London. We have a few documentaries in Asia but it's really one off, here and there."

He explained that the network's direction for the last two years "is to do bigger productions that are Hollywood based... to make the quality very high."

It's fact checking and research that are major factors, he claims. "We're at a disadvantage that we're not as current as a normal news documentary. Because when we do it, it does take a longer process to get stuff done."

But he has hope. "Just to let you know, I want to do more local documentaries. We have plans and topics we've been eyeing and looking at. It's really more evergreen, meaning it's not based on what just happened or what's about to happen. It's really a subject matter that I feel needs to be tackled in the Philippines."

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More details could emerge towards the end of 2018, though the project is more connected to the Fox Network rather than Nat Geo itself.

There are confidentially issues but "full-feature film," "local director," "local actors," and "MMFF" (Metro Manila Film Festival) are mentioned.

While the project is not environmentally inclined, Jude says "It's going to happen... If it's a hit, I can justify more. It need to be a hit so I hope you watch it."

Going back to the topic of the Earth Day Run, Jude is "really grateful that we've been able to do this every single year. The participation is always been above and beyond what we've been hoping and expecting."

In fact, over 16,000 eco warriors took part in the National Geographic Earth Day Run 2018 at the SM Mall of Asia. Now on its 9th year, the annual run fell on this year’s International Earth Day celebration with a continued pledge to preserving the planet.

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This year, Nat Geo partnered again with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines and their #NotPlastic campaign to tackle how the use of plastic is impacting the earth. The 8 million tons of plastic flowing into the oceans is steadily destroying the marine ecosystem, killing wildlife in the process.

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Around 16,000 participants took part in the 2018 Nat Geo run.
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