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James Hibberd



Too Good to Be True

January 10, 2007 6:43 PM


Fox Cable Networks spokesman Tom Tyer says the upcoming National Geographic Channel session has the “wolf man,' but I misunderstood and thought he said “wolf van.' So for a moment, I was very excited about this. Two hundred TV critics and a wolf van. Surely, this will result in a quality blog entry and possibly bring about an abrupt conclusion to Winter TCA altogether.

But the wolf man turns out to be the star of “A Man Among Wolves,' a new Nat Geo series where a wolf expert “teaches wolves how to survive in the wild.' Network staffers are hoping somebody will ask him to howl.

To add some obligatory trade reporting context, Nat Geo has been a success story. In both subscribers and ratings, it’s grown extremely fast, going from a start-up to a mid-ranked network in six years. It just finished its most watched year ever with another record quarter and is in 62 million homes. Its challenge moving forward is to find a breakout series beyond “The Dog Whisperer' without resorting to brand-eroding tactics like cheesy docu-soap or celebrity reality series.

During the panel, wolf man does, indeed, perform a howl, and it pretty much sounds like a man trying to howl like a wolf.

“Are you in a relationship with a human?' a critic asks.

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