On Friday night, National Geographic Channel (NGC) and NASA went into orbit like never before with LIVE FROM SPACE, hosted by veteran journalist Soledad O'Brien. In the special, presented by LEXUS, viewers went right along with them, as the broadcast plowed through previous NGC social media records to become the most buzzed about show in the network's history, more than doubling the previous record for tweets posted during Killing Kennedy.
Broadcasting from NASA Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, O'Brien spoke live with astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata as they orbited the Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS), 250 miles above the earth's surface.
Joining O'Brien from Mission Control was astronaut Mike Massimino, and together they took viewers around the globe, as the ISS made 1 1/3 orbits of Earth during the two-hour show. The astronauts above showed off spectacular views of the planet and gave viewers a unique glimpse of their daily routines — how they work, how they sleep and everything in between.
Generating buzz around the world were several key moments in the broadcast:
NOTE: All clips cleared for all media with lower-third chyron: Courtesy NGC: Live From Space
Additionally, several dramatic prepacked pieces captured the hearts and minds of viewers:
Through it all, the underlying theme of the importance of space exploration was reiterated. In a dramatic moment at the end of the broadcast, Wakata spoke passionately about this subject:
"I think expanding our human frontier into space by exploring is part of our DNA. I think the human space program is a vehicle for the survival of the human species. In the future, we will need to have a home away from home in order to survive a potential environmental impact — like from the impact of an asteroid, or the eventual loss of our sun in five billion years. So I believe that our survival as a human species is the ultimate purpose of human space exploration." (Full clip here: http://files.natgeonetworks.com/_zr9t6Oe-RtDDZR.)
The special generated approximately 50,000 tweets during broadcast, doubling the previous record for NGC, set by Killing Kennedy in November. It also trended No. 1 worldwide on Twitter during the first hour, at which point #LiveFromSpace was generating 315 tweets a minute. And from 8-10 p.m. ET, it was the most buzzed about non-sports television program in the U.S. During that same time, the No. 2 most buzzed about non-sports television program in the U.S. was the Nat Geo Mundo Spanish-language simulcast.
The show's presenting sponsor Lexus participated in the excitement with custom space-themed content and social media posts that saluted NASA's spirit of innovation and exceptional performance.
Said O'Brien: "The unprecedented response on social media here and around the world on a story that is too often untold shows the appetite we all have for science and exploration. Because of National Geographic Channels' commitment to telling this story, I know that out there watching was at least one future astronaut who, like Mike Massimino was as a child, may now be inspired to go to space."
For more about the broadcast O'Brien dubbed a "historic voyage," and the ISS, visit www.livefromspace.com.
The full two-hour special will encore this Friday, March 21, at 4 p.m. ET, followed by a one-hour version Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. And at 9 p.m. Friday, the world-premiere special Living in Space will premiere on NGC.
Live From Space is created by Arrow Media. Creative director and executive producer at Arrow Media is Tom Brisley; Arrow Media executive producers are Al Berman and Sally Dixon. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Madeleine Carter; vice president of production is Char Serwa; senior vice president, production & development is Noel Siegel; executive vice president of programming and strategy is Heather Moran; and president is Howard T. Owens.
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in over 83 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 435 million homes in 173 countries and 37 languages. For more information, visitwww.natgeotv.com.
Arrow Media is one of the U.K.'s fastest-growing production companies, specializing in creating high-quality and innovative content across TV, film and digital media. Established in 2011, the company was founded byTom Brisley, John Smithson and Iain Pelling and operates in the U.K., U.S. and other key international territories, where all three partners have extensive experience.