NGC Explorer: 25 Years with host Lisa Ling April 19, theme contest and highlights

One of the most recognizable openings to a television show is National Geographic’s Explorer theme song. The optimistic symphony of brass and strings herald the most stunning and sobering visual journeys into other worlds of man and nature.

Now, in anticipation of the 25th anniversary celebration and broadcast of “Explorer” to air on April 19, 2010 on National Geographic channel, NGC is giving you a chance to put your own spin on this classic piece of music, and upload it HERE to share with other fans of this landmark series!

Listen to the original version as composed by Elmer Bernstein at the link above, then peruse the video gallery to see what other creative minds are submitting.

Submit by the end of April, and from those NGC will select some of the best to be featured on National Geographic Channel’s Video On Demand service.

The contest closes on April 30, 2010, and the best ones will be featured on National Geographic Channel’s Video On Demand service.

National Geographic Channel’s signature series “Explorer” special will highlight 25 Years of Global Investigations, with illuminating insight and historic discoveries with a two-hour event hosted by correspondent Lisa Ling.  Producers and editors have sifted through more than two thousand films to distill the quintessential moments from the past 25 years.

“Explorer: 25 Years With Host Lisa Ling” Premieres Monday, April 19, at 9pm ET/PT.

A quarter of a century on the air. Two thousand films with investigations spanning 120 countries on every continent. Pioneering assignments, historic discoveries, unprecedented access, illuminating insight and spectacular imagery defining quintessential moments in time.

This is the longest-running documentary series in cable television history, honored with nearly 60 Emmys, a 2010 Television Academy Honor for “exemplifying television with a conscience,” as well as hundreds of other awards.

On Monday, April 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, NGC hosts a two-hour event special marking this historic milestone and highlighting some of the most riveting topics the anthology has examined, in Explorer: 25 Years.

Hosted by NGC correspondent Lisa Ling, the event provides an overview of how the series has covered our changing world, including the very first look at the undersea wreckage of the legendary Titanic liner in 1987 and the 2003 rediscovery in Pakistan of the grown Afghan woman whose haunting green eyes once captivated the world on the cover of National Geographic magazine.

More recent accomplishments include 2007’s undercover report with Lisa Ling from inside North Korea and 2009’s exclusive coverage from inside the controversial detention center at Guantanamo.

From the start, Explorer has brought viewers intimate encounters with some the world’s most fascinating wildlife. The special reveals how coverage of the animal kingdom benefited from innovative technologies such as high-definition, high-speed cameras and National Geographic’s crittercam, which revolutionized documentary filmmaking in visually dynamic ways.

Explorer: 25 Years also replays how forensic tools and DNA analysis illuminated answers to ancient mysteries and how satellites opened new vistas on our fragile planet and the heavens above.

The human condition and cultural phenomenon are also re-examined by Explorer which goes to the front lines of national security, inside the world of illegal drugs and international crime.

“National Geographic, as one of the world’s foremost and diverse research institutions, has always had its finger on the pulse of the world’s most fascinating topics, people and cultures,” said Ling, who has served as an Explorer correspondent and host since 2002.

“Since it first premiered, Explorer has documented amazing discoveries, many of them generated by National Geographic’s efforts. I’m exceptionally proud of my contributions to this legacy and honored to be a part of this momentous quarter-century celebration special.”

During her tenure with Explorer, Ling has reported on terrorism’s new face of “Female Suicide Bombers” (’04) and the shadowy culture of MS-13, the “World’s Most Dangerous Gang” (’06); she’s crossed into one of the most secretive nations on earth in “Inside North Korea” (’07); covered the contentious issues of a “Marijuana Nation” (’08); and was on the ground examining the explosion of violence along the U.S./Mexican border in “Narco State” (’09).

Notable past hosts and faces of Explorer have included Tom Chapin, Robert Ballard, Robert Urich, Boyd Matson, Brady Barr and Mireya Mayor.

Over 25 years, Explorer crew members have risked their lives capturing eyewitness footage from war zones, suffered malaria while covering cultures in exotic corners of the world, survived shark bites while filming in dark ocean depths, received death threats when examining gang violence and narrowly escaped bullets while covering drug-fueled border battles.

Explorer: 25 Years highlights include:

* The first look at the undersea wreckage of the Titanic in the 1987 special Secrets of the Titanic, which became one of the highest-rated programs in cable history

* A 1,000-mile trek on foot through the heart of Africa, in areas never before seen by man, with conservationist Dr. Michael Fay

* The search in Pakistan to find a young Afghan refugee ¯ the haunting green-eyed girl who gripped the world from the cover of a 1985 National Geographic magazine 

* An ominous interview with the leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, charismatic warrior Ahmed Shah Massoud, who chillingly predicts worldwide operations by Al Qaeda, only to be assassinated on the eve of 9/11.

* Exclusive coverage investigating a gorilla massacre in Virunga National Park, a crime that outraged the world and was perpetrated by one of the park’s own rangers

* The forensic quest to unravel the mystery of Hogzilla, a terrifying monster that emerged from the swamps of Georgia o Reports from inside the top-secret Guantanamo facility, with extended access over a period of nearly three weeks in areas that were previously off limits to media.


Explorer first premiered in 1985 on Nickelodeon, then moved to TBS in February the following year. In September 1999, the series moved to CNBC and later relocated to sister network MSNBC in October 2001.

Relaunched as “Ultimate Explorer” in June 2003 on MSNBC, the series moved in 2004 to National Geographic Channel. Over the years, Explorer has evolved from a magazine format to a weekly series of hour-long documentaries, providing in-depth coverage of single topics.

Explorer was there when Bob Ballard discovered the Titanic in 1985. It was there when photographer Steve McCurry found the unknown woman behind the famous face of the Afghan girl. It was there to document Chinese adoption proceedings, the 2003 siege of Monrovia, Liberia, and a shark attack — up close and personal.

These five videos take you behind the lens of some of Explorer’s most memorable moments.

Discovering the Titanic — Bob Ballard relives one of the greatest moments of his career as a deep sea explorer – finding the Titanic.

Love for China’s Lost Girls — Lisa Ling recalls the overpowering emotion when American couples in China meet their adopted daughters for the first time.

Crittercam: Shark Attack — Eighteen years ago, Nick Caloyianis was attacked by a shark while filming for Nat Geo. This is his amazing story.

Finding the Afghan Girl — McCurry and Regan recount the story of their search for the ‘Afghan girl,’ the most popular National Geographic magazine cover in history.

The Siege of Monrovia — Michael Davie recalls the harrowing details of covering the bloody siege of Monrovia in 2003 for Explorer.


Explorer is produced by National Geographic Television for the National Geographic Channel. For NGT, producer is Jonathan Halperin; senior vice president for the Explorer series is Kathy Davidov. For NGC, executive producer is Kathleen Cromley; senior vice president of production and development is Juliet Blake; executive vice president, content, is Steve Burns.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.