Hollywood, meet Cosmos

You know everyone at io9 is counting down the hours until the Cosmos premiere on Sunday. We already cornered the astrophysicist about why this show is so important for bringing science to the public, but it's also important for the entertainment industry.

Illustration for article titled Hollywood, meet Cosmos

Rockin' a stylish spacesuit, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson understands the power of a good visual. Photography by Art Streiber/GQ; follow the link for the full gorgeous collection.


After the Bill Nye/Creationist debate on Valentine's Day, actress and writer Taryn O'Neill was inspired to solidify her position on the importance of actresses speaking out in support of STEM topics (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Shortly after, @SciRens was born, a collaborative twitter account run by by actresses (specifically, O'Neill plus Rileah Vanderbilt, Clare Grant, Tamara Krinsky and Christina Ochoa) to promote STEM topics, with encouragement from astro-celebrities Bobak Ferdowsi and Phil Plait.

They are, of course, giddy about the upcoming Cosmos premiere. But then O'Neill looked at it not from the perspective of a space-enthusiast who loves living in a world where we are constantly barraged with beautiful astrophotography, but as an entertainment industry insider. In short, Cosmos is important to Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and content producers, because:

1. Cosmos is disrupting the pilot season and distribution model of traditional network television:

FOX is changing the paradigm of TV distribution – it's not just changing it, it's blowing it up. It is releasing COSMOS on 10 channels SIMULTANEOUSLY, FOX national network and all FOX and Nat Geo affiliates — A first in cross network simulcast. Then one week later it will launch on 120 FOX International channels and 90 Nat Geo affiliates. This will equal 400 million potential viewing households OUTSIDE the US.


COSMOS is a glowing nuclear example of this. Big budget, big concept, straight to series, week after week, across an international platform. This is not just event TV this is GLOBAL TV.


2. Space is cool.

Space is starting to resonate amongst the masses again, if only revealed by the current success of space and scifi themed entertainment.


Watching COSMOS will only help Hollywood 'powers that be' keep up with the social and economic trends that are already occurring within a powerful group of consumers and influencers.


3. Entertainment has the power and moral obligation to bring about a cultural shift towards greater scientific literacy.

Entertainment has the power to be an undercover teacher for adults. We can start infusing bits of science education into the narrative of our entertainment. Have STEM characters be more prevalent, where talking about their day brings science into the mix.


You can read O'Neill's full piece on her website. If you've been hiding under a rock (or only started coming to space.io9.com because of little ol' me), here's the trailer:

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I follow O'Neill on Tumblr and I adored this when I saw it on her blog. I'm glad to see it got picked up. It's a brilliant call to action for science, examination of Hollywood, and well-written piece.