Carolyn Bernstein is Executive Vice President, Global Scripted Content and Documentary Films at National Geographic. In this role, she oversees the network’s push into premium brand-relevant scripted content, produced in partnership with top creative talent.
Bernstein has built a robust scripted slate for the network, including its first-ever scripted global anthology series, Genius, which dramatizes the fascinating untold stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. The series has garnered 17 Emmy nominations in its first two seasons, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series for Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”). The first season starred Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein and season two starred Antonio Banderas as Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. The show is produced by FOX 21 Television Studios and Imagine Television.
Critics’ Choice-nominated miniseries The Long Road Home, the network’s second scripted project, premiered November 2017. Based on Martha Raddatz’s New York Times bestseller, the series relives a heroic fight for survival in a ferocious ambush during the Iraq War, cutting between the soldiers on the ground and families on the home front in Texas. It was executive produced by Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures (“The 33”).
Next up is Valley of the Boom, which will premiere January 2019. This limited series from showrunner Matthew Carnahan (Showtime’s “House of Lies”) and STX Entertainment stars Emmy-winner Bradley Whitford (“Get Out,”), Steve Zahn (“War for the Planet of the Apes”) and Lamorne Morris (“New Girl”). It takes an adrenaline-fueled ride through the culture of speculation, innovation and disruption during Silicon Valley’s tech boom and bust in the 1990s.
The newest addition to the scripted slate is miniseries The Hot Zone, an adaptation of Richard Preston’s eponymous non-fiction bestseller. From Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions (“The Good Wife”) and producer Lynda Obst (“Interstellar”), the series recounts the terrifying true origin story of the deadly Ebola virus and its first arrival on U.S. soil in 1989. Production begins in Toronto and South Africa in September 2018.
Projects in development include an adaptation of The Right Stuff from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions and Warner Horizon Television. Based on Tom Wolfe’s eponymous best-selling book, The Right Stuff explores the rivalries and complex personal lives of the Mercury 7: seven men who risked almost certain death to reclaim the ultimate high ground at the height of the Cold War.
Bernstein joined National Geographic Channel in January 2016 from Endemol Shine Studios and Shine America where she had been Executive Vice President, Scripted Television. Her impressive pedigree includes the Peabody Award-winning series “The Bridge” (FX) and “Gracepoint” (FOX). Bernstein also packaged the upcoming thriller “Utopia” (Amazon) while at Shine.
Before joining Shine America, Bernstein was the Executive Vice President of Drama Development at The WB Television Network. While at The WB, she developed many successful and long-running dramatic series including “Gilmore Girls,” “Smallville,” “One Tree Hill” and “Supernatural.” She was also responsible for The WB’s first nonfiction hit series, “Popstars.” Bernstein worked as Vice President of Drama Development at Columbia TriStar Television from 1995 to 1999, where she developed the hit drama “Dawson’s Creek.”
Previously, Bernstein served as Director of Drama Development and Production for FX, and as Manager of Development at Fox Broadcasting. She began her career at CAA working in the Motion Picture Literary department.
Bernstein is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Nicholas Grad, and two children, Georgia and Lucas.