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The Hot Zone

Nat Geo’s New Series speaks Close to Home with Ebola Theme.

July will see a new Factual Series on National Geographic, which may cut very close to the bone for us in Africa. Starring Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning Julianna Margulies, and supported by the likes of Noah Emmerich, Topher Grace, Liam Cunningham, Paul James, James D’Arcy, Robert Sean Leonard and Grace Gummer, The Hot Zone will start on 3 July, with this Hot 6-eposide series.

In 1989, in a scientific facility outside Washington, DC, the deadly Ebola virus made its first known appearance on US soil. The finding and eventual containment of this lethal filovirus, which had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent at the time, was thanks to a group of courageous scientists and soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Jaax.

National Geographic’s six-part limited series The Hot Zone, inspired by the true events detailed in Richard Preston’s international best-seller of the same name, shares the harrowing tale of a global crisis that never was.

Starring Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Julianna Margulies of The Good Wife, as Nancy Jaax, the six-hour, edge-of-your-seat thriller The Hot Zone will premiere on 3 July at 21:00 with the first two episodes double billed that evening. The limited series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Lynda Obst Productions and Scott Free Productions. Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson serve as showrunners and executive producers, with Jeff Vintar as a co-executive producer.

Joining Margulies in the cast are Noah Emmerich as Jaax’s husband, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Jaax, who does not hesitate to risk his life during the operation to contain the Ebola virus; Topher Grace as Dr. Peter Jahrling, a virologist for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who butts heads with Nancy Jaax over the best way to contain the virus; Liam Cunningham as Dr. Wade Carter, Nancy’s vital ally in the race to prevent the virus from spreading; James D’Arcy as Travis Rhodes, a Center for Disease Control official and Carter’s former assistant and current nemesis; and Paul James as Ben Gellis, a lab tech at the pathology lab in Virginia, assisting Nancy and Dr. Jahrling.

Rounding out the cast are Robert Wisdom as Colonel Vernon Tucker of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Jaax’s superior; Robert Sean Leonard (“House”), who plays Walter Humboldt, the liaison between Hazleton, a scientific research corporation, and its primate lab in Virginia; and Grace Gummer as Melinda Rhodes, one of the first people to chase the virus into the jungle.

Through Nancy’s perseverance, scientific testing reveals the dire truth of the situation, forcing the Army into action to contain an outbreak. The series also flashes back to the late 1970s to see how Dr. Carter and Travis Rhodes first tracked, studied and attempted to contain Ebola in Africa. But will the lessons they learned help stop this disease from hitting the human population? A dramatic, high-stakes scientific thriller with a courageous and determined heroine at its core, The Hot Zone brings true science and human drama together for a gripping tale that still resonates today.

The Hot Zone is executive produced by Lynda Obst Production’s Lynda Obst; Scott Free Production’s Ridley Scott; and David Zucker, Kelly Souders, and Brian Peterson. Michael Uppendahl is also an executive producer. Jeff Vintar serves as a co-executive producer. For National Geographic, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production. The series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Lynda Obst Productions and Scott Free Productions.

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