Bernstein is one of the real geniuses at National Geographic. Seeing the potential after the first season of the hit anthology series, she oversaw the release of “Genius: Picasso,” which earned seven Emmy nominations, including outstanding limited series. She’s also looked beyond traditional programming, partnering with 360i and Google to release the Bravo Tango Brain Training app in conjunction with Nat Geo series “The Long Road Home,” which is the first voice-activated meditation app for veterans suffering from PTSD. Bernstein says in today’s competitive market it helps that Nat Geo has a clearly delineated brand. “We had to figure out our unique selling point a few years ago to make sure writers and producers understood why they should work with Nat Geo vs. all the other buyers out there.”
Who is an inspirational woman you admire, and why?
I admire producer Nina Tassler for her seeming 24/7 political activism and pursuit of social justice while also developing television series like Nat Geo’s “Birth of the Pill.” I don’t know how she does it!
What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs. three years ago?
There’s so much more competition–so many channels and platforms making original series. We had to figure out our USP (unique selling point) a few years ago to make sure writers and producers understood why they should work with Nat Geo vs. all the other buyers out there. It helped enormously that we have a distinctive brand and are a purpose-driven channel. Now we can point to original series like “Genius”–creative excellence coupled with awards recognition–and let our shows do the talking.
If there were a reality show based on your office, what would it be called?