National Geographic Head Courteney Monroe Re-Ups Ahead of Disney Merger

Courteney Monroe - Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy National Geographic

Courteney Monroe is staying put at National Geographic after turning down an offer to run the Fox broadcast network.

Monroe has re-upped as president of National Geographic Global Networks ahead of the merger of it and other 21st Century Fox entertainment assets with Disney. She will continue reporting to Gary Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners, and working with Peter Rice, who is poised to become chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media Networks.

Two key Nat Geo execs, Geoff Daniels and Carolyn Bernstein, are getting expanded roles under Monroe. Daniels will permanently take the role of executive vp global unscripted entertainment after serving recently on an interim basis. He will oversee all unscripted programming for National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild.

Bernstein will be executive vp global scripted entertainment and documentary films, adding responsibility for feature documentaries under the National Geographic Documentary films banner, which released the summer hit Free Solo.

Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild combined for 18 Emmy nominations in 2018, a record for the company.

"It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to lead the transformation of the National Geographic television business," Monroe said Friday in a statement. "I'm incredibly grateful to Peter and Gary for their ongoing support and leadership, and I look forward to taking our brand and business to even greater heights as part of Disney's expanded media portfolio."

Added Monroe: "I'm extremely fortunate to work with such talented executives as Geoff and Carolyn. The combination of Geoff's outstanding strategic and creative leaderships skills, along with his wealth of experience in factual entertainment, make him the perfect person to lead our unscripted business. And with Carolyn's proven track record in developing premium scripted projects, I’m looking forward to elevating our National Geographic Documentary Films banner even further."

Monroe was offered a chance to lead Fox during the executive shake-up prior to the Disney merger, but opted to remain with Nat Geo. She will continue to be based in National Geographic's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

"Courteney has done an exceptional job leading National Geographic Global Networks through a strategic transformation that has unlocked a new level of critical and commercial success for this beloved brand," said Rice. "I am pleased she'll continue to play such an important role in positioning National Geographic for future success."