In what might seem, on first blush, to be an odd pairing, Seth MacFarlane, creator of animated comedies The Family Guy and American Dad, is teaming up with the original creative collaborators of astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan (pictured) for a new Cosmos docuseries, to air on Fox and National Geographic Channel in 2013.
Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey will be hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (host of PBS’ NOVAScience NOW) and teams up MacFarlane with Sagan’s widow, writer-producer Ann Druyan and astrophysicist Steven Soter.
The series will be produced by Cosmos Studios, co-founded by Druyan, in conjunction with National Geographic Channel (NGC). NGC will air encores of the episodes following their original broadcasts on Fox.
“Never more than at this moment in the modern era have we needed a profound reminder of the colossally important and exciting role that science, space exploration and the human quest for knowledge must continue to play in our development as a species,” said MacFarlane.
“We should be vigorously exploring the solar system by now, and who better to inspire us to get there than Ann Druyan, Steven Soter, Neil deGrasse Tyson and, of course, Carl Sagan.”
“Carl believed that science belongs to all of us,” added Druyan. “He wanted to convey the thrill of its cosmic perspective to the widest possible audience. I wish I could tell Carl what Seth’s leadership on this new Cosmos has made possible. Besides, I know how much they would have liked each other.”
Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company, called the project “a golden opportunity to introduce Cosmos to a new generation,” and added that “we believe this can have the same massive cultural impact that the original series delivered, and we’re going to use all of our resources – on-air and company-wide – to help bring that to fruition.”
The original Cosmos series first aired in 1980 on PBS and was seen by an estimated 700 million viewers. It won both an Emmy and a Peabody award, and remains the most widely watched American public television series in the world.
The exec producers for the series are MacFarlane, Druyan and Cosmos Studios president Mitchell Cannold. Allan Butler will exec produce for National Geographic Channel.