February 19, 2014 6:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
Soledad O'Brien to Host Nat Geo's 'Live From Space' (Exclusive)
Soledad O'Brien is heading to the final frontier. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the veteran broadcast journalist will host National Geographic Channel's Live From Space special when it bows on March 14 — though she will do so safely from earth.
The latest in Nat Geo's push into event programming, and following a string of space-related alternative programming on cable, Live From Space will feature orbiting astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata interacting with viewers from the International Space Station. O'Brien and veteran NASA engineer Mike Massimino will appear from Mission Control in Houston.
STORY: Nat Geo to Air Live Special From International Space Station
O'Brien, now a contributor at Al Jazeera America, also will serve as co-executive producer.
“It’s an honor to be the host and co-executive producer of such an ambitious and important event. I’m thrilled to further my relationship with my partners at National Geographic to tell the untold story that unfolds above the sky each day,” said O’Brien. “For those that were thrilled by Gravity, I think they’ll be even more impressed by the incredible work being done every day aboard the ISS and the tremendous risks and sacrifices the astronauts undertake. We will get to witness the greatest show beyond earth.”
Airing for two hours, Live From Space aims to give viewers a unique perspective on the life and work of astronauts. It will air at 8 p.m. ET in the U.S., simulcasting in 170 countries — notably Channel 4 in the U.K. Spanish-language net Nat Geo Mundo also will air the special.
“With more than 25 years of live television experience, Soledad is the perfect partner for this incredibly exciting television moment,” said NGC president Howard T. Owens. “We are ecstatic to have her join us to bring to life the thrilling pulse of this live broadcast.”
Live From Space marks an extension of O'Brien's current relationship with Nat Geo. Last year she signed on to moderate and executive produce the annual National Geographic Bee, which returns to the network in May.