“In our first year we were nominated for an Emmy for Best Informational Program,” remembered Neil deGrasse Tyson when we chatted with him in June about his Nat Geo science talk show “StarTalk” (watch that interview above). “We’re not doing it for that purpose. We just thought we had a fun and interesting idea to develop. But the Emmy nomination — though we didn’t win — was affirmation that some people were paying attention to what we were doing, and I thought that was a good sign. We lost to ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’; if you have to lose to anybody, let it be to Anthony Bourdain.”
“StarTalk” is nominated for Best Informational Program again this year, and once again faces “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” along with “Inside the Actors Studio,” “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” and “Vice.” Will it win on its second try?
Tyson, an astrophysicist, previously hosted the 2014 remake of “Cosmos,” earning a nomination for Best Documentary/Nonfiction Series. But as he readily admits, his are not the only shows that have brought science to the forefront. “The number-one show on television in the sitcom genre is ‘The Big Bang Theory‘ and they have a PhD physicist as their daily adviser.” He also cites films including “The Martian,” “Interstellar” and “The Theory of Everything.” “Combine all that together and I don’t know if there’s any other way to say it: science is trending.”
He clarifies, “I think it’s trending in the younger population – 35 and younger, maybe less so in the older generation. But these are the folks who will lead the world in another 10 or 15 years, so I think this bodes well for the fostering of a scientifically literate civilization, which we’ll need for our own survival. It’s in the air right now, and I see no reason why it won’t just continue, without having to encourage people.”
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