National Geographic Receives Hot Ratings for The Hot Zone

Last week’s three-night limited series event, The Hot Zone, starring Julianna Margulies, has become National Geographic’s most-watched scripted series of all time, besting previous record holder Genius: Einstein, which earned the network critical raves and 10 Emmy nominations in 2017. The Hot Zone averaged a .82 in Live+3 ratings in the demo over three nights, making it just shy of besting The Story of God With Morgan Freeman as the network’s most-watched series of all time, and making it the second-most-watched scripted series to premiere on ad-supported cable so far this year.

Viewers of The Hot Zone boosted National Geographic’s viewership 350 percent above the previous six-week average in prime time. The series premiere on May 27 lifted National Geographic to the No. 5 ad-supported cable network in the target demo for the night and No. 2 among total viewers.

Audiences didn’t just sample The Hot Zone either: The series saw an astonishing average time spent viewing at 42.7 minutes, with 56 percent of viewers returning day to day to tune in and 70 percent hour-to-hour duplication.

“While of course we are thrilled that viewers responded to this series in such a positive way, we also hope that it inspires them to learn more about the current Ebola crisis in Africa,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP, global scripted content and documentary films for National Geographic.

Across 12 broadcasts through the May 29 finale (premieres and repeats), the series was viewed by 7.5 million people in the U.S. The Hot Zone will begin airing in 172 countries and in 43 languages throughout the summer. Through the end of July, the first episode of the series will be available for free un-authenticated on demand and on the Nat Geo TV Everywhere apps.

Hailed by IndieWire as “a scary, absorbing thriller you won’t easily forget,” and “more relevant than ever” by Entertainment Weekly, The Hot Zone, based on Richard Preston’s best-selling book of the same name, is inspired by the true events surrounding the origins of the Ebola virus and its arrival on U.S. soil in 1989. The series stars an outstanding ensemble cast, led by Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife,” “ER”), Noah Emmerich (“The Americans”), Liam Cunningham (“Game of Thrones”) and Topher Grace (“BlackKKKlansman”). A heroic U.S. Army scientist, Nancy Jaax (Margulies), working with a secret specialized military team, put her life on the line to head off the outbreak before it spread to the human population. THE HOT ZONE, a production of Fox 21 Television Studios and Scott Free Productions, is a dramatic, high-stakes scientific thriller with a courageous, brilliant and determined heroine at its center.

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National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Disney, 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 131 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 or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


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