GE Developing Science TV Series With National Geographic Channel

General Electric Co. is developing a science-themed documentary series that will be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel this fall, a spokeswoman said.

The six-part series, called “Breakthrough,” will be announced Wednesday in New York, Catherine Franklin, a GE spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. The industrial giant, known for exploring new and unorthodox marketing strategies, is co-producing the program with National Geographic Channel, Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment.

Director Ron Howard, co-chairman of Imagine, will helm one of the six episodes, while others will be directed by Hollywood heavyweights including Brett Ratner and Angela Bassett. The series, which will feature GE employees, will explore science and technology topics including alternative energy and aging.

GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, has embraced a variety of marketing strategies, from traditional television commercials to web videos to social media posts on Instagram and Vine. The company, which used to own NBC, has explored so-called native advertising within programs such as “The Tonight Show,” and signed content partnerships with news outlets including The Economist.

By commissioning “Breakthrough,” GE takes a further step into content creation. The program will be part of National Geographic Channel’s upfront presentations to advertisers, according to a spokesman, Christopher Albert. The channel is a joint venture between the National Geographic Society, the science and education non-profit that publishes the magazine, and 21st Century Fox Inc., which owns a majority stake in the network.

The New York Times first reported GE’s work on the National Geographic series, which is set to begin airing in November.

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