August 16, 2014 9:04 am

Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the heart of the COSMOS with Ann Druyan

Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ann Druyan reviewing script on location, taken by Sarah Mozal.

Second Day of Shooting, Private Redwood Forest, San Gregario CA: Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ann Druyan review the script together. Photo Credit: Sarah Mozal/FOX

Did you like COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey?

If you did, you owe more than you know to Ann Druyan.

And this Sunday, you’ll find out just how much when Neil interviews her on StarTalk Radio.

By then, we’ll know whether COSMOS took home any of the 12 Emmy® Awards it was nominated for. (While the televised Emmys are on August 25th, the winners in the categories in which COSMOS was nominated will be announced tonight.)

But even if it doesn’t win a single Emmy, the show has already proven that America does have an appetite for prime time science on a major network.

And we would not have learned that if not for the tenacity, the vision, and the courage of Ann.

Full Disclosure: I’ve never met Ann, or spoken to her.

So all I know about her is what pervaded every second of every episode of the show that my wife, my daughter and I watched… dare I say it, religiously.

Listening to Neil and Ann chat in this episode, I finally understood why both COSMOS series were so good.

They were passionate about science. They were accessible. They were powerful. And they told great stories.

And much of the credit for that belongs to Ann, who was the co-writer on both series. (As well as executive producer and a director on the new one.)

There is a moment in COSMOS when Neil is holding a manganese nodule, and he says, “The difference between looking at a pebble and seeing just a little dark stone and reading the history of the Cosmos inscribed within: that’s Science.”

Ann wrote those words.

There is so much more in Sunday’s podcast. Ann talks about meeting Carl Sagan at a dinner party thrown by her friend Nora Ephron. And about falling in love with him after working together on the Voyager project. And about how, two days after that, she recorded her brain waves, translated them into sound, and engraved them onto the Golden Record that Voyager has taken on mankind’s longest journey.

She talks about Seth Macfarlane and Steve Soter and Mitchell Cannold.  She talks about FOX, and commercials. (And actually offers an interesting perspective that appealed to a writer like me.) She talks about the surprisingly supportive relationship the original COSMOS had with its sponsor, ARCO, yes, that one, the oil company, and what happened when she and Carl told the CEO that they’d be slamming big oil in episode 4.

At the end of the episode, Ann and Neil even talk about the possibility of a third COSMOS series.

So however the awards turn out on Saturday, you’re in for an excellent episode of StarTalk Radio on Sunday. Join us August 17 at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and SoundCloud.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up.

–Jeffrey Simons


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