‘Exploring the Wild Kingdom’ Remembers Pioneering Series with Omaha Roots

For Immediate Release

‘Exploring the Wild Kingdom’ Remembers Pioneering Series with Omaha Roots

LINCOLN, Neb. (July 29, 2021) – Every Sunday beginning in 1963 throughout the late 1980s, 34 million Americans took part in an evening ritual that included turning to Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.” Now viewers can remember and learn more about the pioneering series when “Exploring the Wild Kingdom” airs at 9 p.m. CT, Thursday, Aug. 12 on Nebraska Public Media.

Oshkosh, Neb., native Don Meier, who died in 2019, was the creator and executive producer of the original series. His work is chronicled in the documentary.

“Exploring the Wild Kingdom” explores the evolution of the program as well as Meier’s broadcast production skills and his instinct to continually reinvent “Wild Kingdom.” It also looks at the physical and technical challenges Meier faced as he traveled around the world to produce the program.

“Wild Kingdom” brought animals from lush jungles, scorching deserts and icy arctic areas to televisions across the United States. The program captured unpredictable wildlife encounters – from charging elephants and baby lions to 200-pound snakes.

It pioneered the use of color film and sound technology that brought animals from across the globe to televisions across the United States.

“Wild Kingdom” host Marlin Perkins, director of the St. Louis Zoo at the time, was paired with younger hosts who wrestled alligators and dodged venomous snakes while he talked about wildlife in ways his audience could understand.

The documentary “Exploring the Wild Kingdom” was co-produced in 2013 by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications and Nebraska Public Media.

Viewers can watch remastered Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom episodes on WildKingdom.com.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Sandi Karstens, 402-470-6578

About Nebraska Public Media

Nebraska Public Media has been dedicated to connecting Nebraskans through news, sports, education, and entertainment for nearly 70 years. Providing global news and compelling stories from PBS and NPR, Nebraska Public Media also produces award-winning original content. Its programs and services reach 1 million people each month across the state on television, radio, online and mobile platforms. Visit NebraskaPublicMedia.org for more information.

Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom premiered on January 6, 1963. It ran for nine seasons on NBC and was then syndicated nationally to over 200 stations. The 330 episodes produced cover a wide array of topics, including how humans manage the conservation of the animal kingdom, how animals adapt and survive in their own environment, and the day-to-day adventures of primitive people. Wild Kingdom was recognized with over 40 major awards, including receiving the Emmy Award four times.