National Geographic is an American pay television network and flagship channel that is owned by National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (73%) and the National Geographic Society (27%), with the operational management handled by Walt Disney Television.
The flagship channel airs non-fiction television programs produced by National Geographic and other production companies. Like History and Discovery Channel, the channel features documentaries with factual content involving nature, science, culture, and history, plus some reality and pseudo-scientific entertainment programming. Its primary sister network worldwide, including the United States, is Nat Geo Wild, which focuses on animal-related programming, including the popular Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.
As of February 2015, National Geographic is available to approximately 86,144,000 pay television households (74% of households with television) in the United States.
In the United States, the National Geographic Channel launched on January 12, 2001 as a joint venture of National Geographic Television & Film and Fox Cable Networks. National Geographic provides programming expertise and the Fox Networks Group provides its expertise on distribution, marketing, and advertising sales. The ’90s: The Last Great Decade, a documentary series narrated by Rob Lowe, pulled in 1.10 million viewers, and was the second highest-rated July telecast in the National Geographic Channel rating history. The 2000s: A New Reality, also narrated by Lowe, premiered on July 12, 2015.
On November 14, 2016, National Geographic Channel was rebranded as simply National Geographic, dropping the "Channel" from its name.
On December 14, 2017, in a deal, The Walt Disney Company announced it would buy the majority of 21st Century Fox. Disney would assume control of Fox's controlling stake in the National Geographic partnership thereafter. Following the acquisition, National Geographic and its sister channels were folded into Walt Disney Television, with the president of the National Geographic Partners reporting directly to the Walt Disney Television chairman. Disney officially closed the deal on March 20, 2019, having then added Nat Geo into its portfolio of networks.