March 21, 2013 8:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
Nat Geo Wild Sends Billy Bush to Nepal for New Special (Exclusive)
Billy Bush is getting shipped off to Nepal.
The Access Hollywood host is heading to the landlocked nation in April for a new Nat Geo Wild special, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Wild Nepal (working title) partners the cable network with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and marks a serious turn for the entertainment reporter.
"He's going to explore the poaching culture over there, meeting the people saving the Asian one-horned rhino, visiting a prison in Kathmandu where poachers are held and going into the field where they're using technology to protect the species," National Geographic Channels president Howard T. Owens tells THR.
Owens, Bush and Nat Geo Wild senior vp development and production Janet Han Vissering serve as executive producers on the project, which comes from Market Road Films.
“This will truly be a journey of a lifetime,” says Bush. “The trip to Nepal will be a huge departure from my daily routine in Hollywood, but I am excited to visit such a beautiful place and to come face to face with remarkable creatures that desperately need the world’s help.”
In addition to the rhinos, the special will include other endangered animals such as tigers and elephants. There will also be more culture-centric aspects to the special, including Bush touring the sprawling capital city of Kathmandu.
"He's going to help us by talking about it on Access Hollywood," Owens said, adding that the choice of host was made to broaden the special's audience and increase awareness about the problems for the animals. "We're excited for him to get his hands dirty with the scientists."
The WWF first went to Nat Geo, which thought of bringing Bush on board.
“The participation of World Wildlife Fund and especially someone as well known as Billy Bush gives this project the gravitas it needs to shed light not only on the plight of the Asian one-horned rhino, but also on the vast and majestic landscapes of Nepal," said Vissering, who will be in Nepal for production with Bush and Owens.
Tony Gerber is executive producer for Market Road Films. Bush is repped by WME.