When Carl Sagan's beloved 13-part "Cosmos" series first aired in 1980, it was broadcast on PBS. But a new reboot of the show, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, hasn't been pigeonholed in the realm of educational programming; it will launch in a much splashier fashion when it premieres on Fox and National Geographic Channel this weekend.
Though Fox News might not have the most science friendly reputation, the creators of the new "Cosmos" say they got a warm reception from Fox's entertainment arm.
"The only thing that they were concerned about was — Was anybody inhaling on the show? And whether or not there was any frontal nudity," said writer Ann Druyan in interview with Space.com back in October. [Watch Space.com's full interview with Druyan and Tyson]
"Primate nudity," Tyson jumped in and added.
"And angel nudity," Druyan said. (Apparently there won't be any naked cherubs in the new series.)
"And apart from that they not only approved every script, they said, 'We can't wait to see it,'" said Druyan, who was a writer on the original show and is the widow of Carl Sagan.
Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the hugely successful Fox series "Family Guy," is the executive producer of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey." He helped bring the show to Fox, which freed up Hollywood-grade resources for the show, including highly talented filmmakers, Tyson said.
"When you have the full portfolio of Hollywood to bring to bear on telling science stories, I think we've earned the right to expect the high bar that we're reaching for," said Tyson, an astrophysicist and science popularizer.
"Cosmos" is directed by Bill Pope, whose past credits include "The Matrix" and "Spider-Man 2," and Druyan said that movie stars will be "doing the voices of the heroes of knowledge who appear in the stories we tell."
"The original, to Carl and Ann's credit, it found its own way to success over 34 years," executive producer Mitch Cannold said. But the involvement of Fox and Nat Geo and other high-profile partners promises that the new series "will live on every platform for quite a long time to come," Cannold said.
"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" premieres Sunday (March 9) on FOX, and Monday (March 10) on the National Geographic Channel.