WASHINGTON & LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic today announced that Golden Globe and Emmy award winner Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife,” “ER”) is set to headline scripted miniseries THE HOT ZONE. The new series will be produced by Lynda Obst Productions, Scott Free Productions, Kelly Souders & Brian Peterson, Jeff Vintar and Fox 21 Television Studios. Production will begin this fall in Toronto and South Africa.
THE HOT ZONE, based on the eponymous international best-seller by Richard Preston, recounts the terrifying true story of the origins of the Ebola virus, a highly infectious deadly virus from the central African rain forest, and its first arrival on U.S. soil. In 1989, when this killer suddenly appeared in chimpanzees in a scientific research lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., there was no known cure. A heroic U.S. Army scientist working with a secret military SWAT team put her life on the line to head off the outbreak before it spread to the human population. THE HOT ZONE is a dramatic, high-stakes scientific thriller with a courageous, brilliant and determined heroine at its center.
“Julianna is dream casting for the role of Dr. Nancy Jaax,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president, global scripted development and production, National Geographic. “Her rare combination of warmth, strength, humor and intelligence are the perfect recipe to make this terrifying true story feel relatable, grounded and human. THE HOT ZONE is the perfect example of National Geographic’s commitment to premium, brand-relevant storytelling that is at once wildly entertaining and deepens people’s understanding of the world.”
“We’re excited to once again partner with National Geographic, along with Scott Free and Lynda Obst, to tell this riveting true story,” added Andy Bourne, senior vice president, development, Fox 21 Television Studios. “With the combined prodigious talents of our producing team, showrunners and the virtuoso Julianna Margulies, this series will inspire and terrify viewers in equal measure.”
“After working on THE HOT ZONE for over 20 years, I’m thrilled to finally be able to bring the true story of the origins of Ebola to the screen through our partnership with National Geographic, Scott Free and Fox 21. With the threat of global pandemics more relevant and urgent than ever, now is the perfect time to tell this compelling story,” said Lynda Obst, executive producer.
Margulies is repped by WME.
THE HOT ZONE represents an ambitious step forward in the network’s scripted programming strategy to satisfy its audience’s growing demand for programs that take storytelling further. This project follows National Geographic’s Emmy-nominated series GENIUS, recently showcasing the tumultuous life and artistic brilliance of artist Pablo Picasso. Later this fall, another Imagine Television project, MARS, will return for its second genre-busting season, blending cinema-quality scripted drama set in the future with documentary sequences that feature the most pioneering names in space technology today. And finally, in early 2019, National Geographic will look back at the early days of technological innovation with VALLEY OF THE BOOM.
About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.