“America has always been a nation of fearless explorers who dream big and reach farther than others imagine,” President Obama said as he introduced the series premiere episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey tonight on 10 Fox Networks Group Channels, including Fox broadcast network and National Geographic Channel. “Today we’re doing everything we can to bring that same sense of possibility to a new generation, because there are new frontiers to explore and we need Americans eager to explore them,” he said in the video message leading into the premiere episode. Yesterday the networks announced their reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos series was getting a White House lift-off. A preview of the series screened at the White House as part of their inaugural White House Film Festival on Friday, February 28.
More than three decades after the debut of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Sagan’s iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, Seth MacFarlane has teamed with Sagan’s original creative collaborators to conceive the 13-part series to serve as a successor to the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series. Sagan’s original series Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980 and remains the most globally successful American public television series of all time. Seen by more than 750 million viewers, Cosmos has remained popular throughout the world.
Watch Obama’s intro here:
Seth MacFarlane’s passion project will get an unprecedented global launch next month, but first it has a date in D.C. Fox and National Geographic Channel said today they will screen a preview of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Friday as part of the inaugural White House Film Festival. Writer-director-exec producer Ann Druyan will introduce the screening. The 13-part series, a sequel to Carl Sagan’s influential Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980), premieres March 9 on multiple Fox Network Group outlets then continues on subsequent Sundays on Fox on with expanded editions Mondays on Nat Geo. In other White House film fest news, the American Film Institute said today it will collaborate on the event, which screens winning short films created by K-12 students. President Obama will deliver the opening remarks Friday to a crowd of more than 100 students, teachers and parents in the East Room.
In describing Seth MacFarlane, the king of such lowbrow fare as the hit series Family Guy and blockbuster feature Ted, “educator” is hardly a word that comes to mind. But he is taking on such a role with Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a reboot of the popular PBS series by the late Carl Sagan. In addition to his love for the original, which he had been a fan of since childhood, MacFarlane is bringing a lot of expertise to the Fox project. That includes animation, which will be an important component of the new 13-episode series he described the show as a “visual feast.” Scientists will get the animated treatment, and it will be used to “bring history sequences into the new millennium,” he said. MacFarlane also is lending lead-in supports to Cosmos, which premieres March 9, with his Family Guy serving as launching pad for it on Sunday nights. He sees a lot of cross-over audience from animated comedies to Cosmos and dismissed a suggestion that it would be for sci-fi fans only — or, as one critic described them, “nerds tuning in on Friday night.” MacFarlane jumped in, “And f**k you.” He said that was the reason the show was pitched to Fox. “National Geographic and Discovery are great networks, but instead of pleading to the converted, wouldn’t it be nice to broaden [the reach]?”
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During his Q&A session at TCA today, MacFarlane had another quick comeback when someone suggested that he may have had to withhold some of his shows from Fox to force them to pick up Cosmos. “What do you think happened to The Flintstones?” he deadpanned, referring to his aborted reboot. Every episode of Cosmos will profile a hero from the world of space exploration, which will bring a welcome change from the current entertainment environment. “We are in the age of the anti-hero where everything has to be dark and dystrophy and depressing,” he said.
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