- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 6, 2001

National Geographic Society officially starts its new cable channel tomorrow with the live simulcast "Heroes for the Planet — A Tribute to National Geographic" from the Warner Theatre in the District.

Actor Pierce Brosnan, who is involved in conservation, will be host for the hourlong program. The show airs at 8 p.m. on the new National Geographic Channel and CNBC and will be broadcast an hour later on the Fox News Channel. All three are cable channels.

The tribute, which observes the 113-year-old organization's commitment to global conservation, will include the special "24 Hours in the Life of the National Geographic Society." Featured are reports from ongoing explorations sponsored by the society, including Robert Ballard's mission in the Black Sea, and the society's Explorers in Residence program.

"Explorers" include paleontologist Paul Sereno, who recently discovered several dinosaur species; Mr. Ballard; and Jane Goodall, an expert on chimpanzees in Tanzania. Also featured will be the late Dian Fossey,who studied mountain gorillas in Rwanda.

Other program highlights are:

{bul} A segment on Hollywood's depiction of the society through the years.

{bul} Highlights from a century of the National Geographic Magazine's photography and behind-the-scenes looks at efforts required to obtain some of the images.

{bul} An examination of the society's current projects, including efforts to clean up the Anacostia River and the reintroduction of the bald eagle here.

National Geographic Channel, a partnership with Fox Cable Networks Group, will offer more than 400 hours of original programming during its first year, according to the company. It will have a daily live news program at 7 p.m. called "National Geographic Today," which will be created at the channel's digital TV studio, or "base camp," at the society's corporate headquarters at 1145 17th St. NW.

The channel, which already has audiences abroad, is starting in the United States with 10 million subscribers.

Ford Motor Co. is sponsoring the simulcast

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