National Geographic Inks First-Look Deal With Trafficked Producer Muck Media

Muck Media is expanding its relationship with National Geographic. The Emmy- and Peabody-winning production company has signed a first-look deal with the network for unscripted series and specials.

The deal comes on the heels of a fifth season pickup and ahead of the fourth season premiere of Muck’s Nat Geo series Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller, which is nominated for nine Emmys at tonight’s News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

Additionally, on Dec. 10, National Geographic will premiere Science Fair: The Series, a spinoff of the Sundance breakout and Emmy-winning feature documentary directed by Muck Media partners Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster. The series will be available next day on Disney+ and Hulu.

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“National Geographic is synonymous with adventure, curiosity and exploration, which are at the core of Muck’s approach to storytelling,” said van Zeller, Muck Media’s co-founder and host of Trafficked. “From quirky teenagers studying science to black market operators and everything in between, Nat Geo has been so incredibly supportive of our work. We are deeply grateful and beyond excited for this opportunity to push our creative partnership to new bounds.” 

In addition to van Zeller, Costantini and Foster, Muck Media’s other partners include journalists and filmmakers Jeffrey Plunkett, who also serves as showrunner for Trafficked, and Alex Simmons.

“I’m a huge admirer of the work that Muck Media does – journalistic, stylish, thought-provoking and contemporary,” said Tom McDonald, executive vice president, Global Factual and Unscripted Content, National Geographic. “The team is also such a joy to work with – collaborative, audience-focused and full of ideas … It’s thrilling to be deepening our working relationship further with this first-look deal.”

With season four premiering January 2024, past seasons of Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller exposed the inner workings of the most dangerous shadow markets, criminal organizations and trafficking networks around the world. The series’ nine News & Documentary Emmys nominations in 2023 are more than twice the number of nominations it received in 2022.

In addition to their Nat Geo projects, Muck’s additional recent credits include acclaimed documentaries American Pain (CNN Films/HBOMax), Mucho Mucho Amor (Netflix), and Menudo: Forever Young (HBOMax).

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