President, National Geographic Global Television Networks
Courteney Monroe is President of National Geographic Global Television Networks. She oversees global programming, operations and marketing for the portfolio of National Geographic channels around the world, which includes National Geographic, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo People and Nat Geo MUNDO. Monroe is also responsible for all operations, including the development and production of branded content, of National Geographic Studios, the in-house television production unit.
Collaborating with A-level creative talent, Monroe works to harness the power and reach of the National Geographic brand to position National Geographic channels as the world’s premium science, adventure and exploration networks. Her commitment to broader, more upscale, quality programming has paid off: Since 2017, Monroe has launched four of the most viewed series in network history, including ONE STRANGE ROCK from the visionary Darren Aronofsky, which was viewed by 81 million people globally. National Geographic continues to attract the best-in-class creatives including Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Julianna Margulies, Lynda Obst, Arianna Huffington, Katie Couric, Guillermo Navarro, Antonio Banderas, Ridley Scott, Gordon Ramsay and Jeff Goldblum.
Under her leadership, the network has garnered more critical acclaim and awards recognition than ever before. For the 2018 Emmys, National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD received a combined 18 nominations, including nods for critically acclaimed documentary film JANE and for the scripted anthology series GENIUS: PICASSO. The network took home an impressive five creative arts Emmy awards. GENIUS: PICASSO won for cinematography and sound mixing for a limited series or movie, JANE won for directing and cinematography for a nonfiction program and LIFE BELOW ZERO won for cinematography for a reality program. Nat Geo became the first network in history to garner three cinematography Emmy awards in one year. And most recently, award-winning FREE SOLO — Alex Honnold’s thrilling, unflinching free climb of El Capitan — won both the Academy Award and BAFTA for best documentary feature.
In a time of “peak TV,” Monroe is focused on finding innovative formats as well as relevant subjects and issues for the programming slate. With National Geographic recognized worldwide for its unparalleled commitment to natural history storytelling and cinematic craft, Monroe will partner with executive producer and Academy Award winner Navarro on HOSTILE PLANET in April 2019. This new series will draw attention to the most extraordinary — almost supernatural — accounts of animals that have conformed to the cruelest evolutionary curveballs.
Monroe also brought National Geographic back to its feature documentary roots, unveiling the National Geographic Documentary Films banner in 2017. Since then, the network has launched critically lauded and award-winning documentaries such as FREE SOLO, JANE, SCIENCE FAIR, INTO THE OKAVANGO, LA 92 and HELL ON EARTH. Brett Morgen’s documentary JANE, on the life of legendary primatologist Jane Goodall and scored by composer Philip Glass, was one of the most celebrated documentaries of 2017. In 2018, two films released under the Documentary Films banner, JANE and LA 92, made the Oscar short list for Best Documentary, and both won Emmys — LA 92 for Special Merit and JANE for Best Director and Best Cinematography. Coming out of this year’s Sundance, the doc films banner commissioned REBUILDING PARADISE, directed by Howard and produced by Grazer, and acquired SEA OF SHADOWS, which is executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
National Geographic dives further into scripted programming with THE HOT ZONE, from executive producer Scott. Based on the eponymous international best-seller by Richard Preston, the series recounts the terrifying true origins of the Ebola virus and stars Margulies. Recently, the network announced that the next subject of the GENIUS anthology series will be Aretha Franklin, and going into production this summer is BARKSKINS, from executive producer Scott Rudin and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Annie Proulx.
Monroe spearheaded the 2017 global rebrand across all businesses at National Geographic Partners, including the magazine and books, production studio, children’s media and maps — making the largest rebrand in the company’s history. A highlight of this rebrand was the launch of her premium program strategy, which included the first seasons of MARS and GENIUS.
Prior to becoming Global CEO, Monroe served as CEO of National Geographic Channels U.S. She first joined the network as Chief Marketing Officer, managing the brand and all aspects of promotion. She also oversaw consumer and trade communications.
Before joining National Geographic Channels U.S., Monroe was Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Digital Platforms, for Home Box Office, where she was responsible for marketing the HBO and Cinemax brands and their programming across all platforms. She managed award-winning marketing campaigns for many of HBO’s highest-profile properties, such as “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones.”
Prior to HBO, Monroe held marketing positions at American Express and Salomon Brothers.
Currently, Monroe serves on the board of Makers, a partnership program for the advancement of female leadership in the workplace, and she has been appointed to the advisory board for the Peabody Awards.
Monroe’s many accolades include CableFax’s 2018 Power 100 List (No. 49), Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame (2018), Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business (2017), The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 (2015-17), Realscreen Trailblazer (2017) and Multichannel News Wonder Women (Class of 2015). She was named a Woman to Watch by Advertising Age in 2013 and a 2014 Woman to Watch by Multichannel News.
Monroe holds a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College and a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.