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‘Cosmos’: Seth MacFarlane Says It’s Ironic the Pro-Science Series Comes From 21st Century Fox

Here's a first look at the new season, "Cosmos Possible Worlds." Also: Neil DeGrasse Tyson on why he won't run for president.

Neil deGrasse Tyson attends a fan event celebrating the release Kelly Clarkson's album "Meaning of Life" at YouTube Space New York, in New YorkKelly Clarkson Album Release Fan Event, New York, USA - 01 Nov 2017

Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Yes, there’s something a bit interesting about thee fact that 21st Century Fox, the company behind Fox News (home to plenty of climate change–denying hosts), is also behind the revival of the science-themed series “Cosmos.” Executive producer Seth MacFarlane couldn’t help but point that out during the San Diego Comic-Con panel on Saturday for “Cosmos: Possible Worlds.”

“There’s a certain irony,” MacFarlane said. “But hats off to them for it.” MacFarlane was vocal on social media recently in admitting that he was “embarrassed” to work for the company because of the propaganda that Fox News has been pushing. But, as MacFarlane noted, “I think the Disney thing is happening” — as, indeed, his deal and his series will soon be under separate ownership from Fox News as the Walt Disney Co. acquires 21st Century Fox’s production units and some networks.

“The most insane thing to me is that science is this partisan thing, that the truth exists in the truth of one party and not the other,” he said. “It should be ubiquitous.”

“Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” the next season of the “Cosmos” revival hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, returns to Fox and National Geographic in March 2019. The panelists, which included executive producers MacFarlane, Tyson, Ann Druyan, Brannon Braga, and Jason Clark, noted that the show was needed more than ever — given the current anti-science, anti-intellectual landscape.

“The objective truths are true, whether or not you believe in them,” Tyson said. “The sooner we learn that, the sooner we can get to protecting civilization from itself. ‘Cosmos,’ I see it as a kind of antidote to the urges people have to act unwisely. If we’re going to have any future at all, it has to be brought forward with wisdom that comes to us from the method and tools of science.”

Druyan added: “When I think of the nightmare we are living at this moment and the complete lack of any reality…a ‘would’ is a ‘wouldn’t’ and that makes it OK. You can’t let that happen. For me the joy of ‘Cosmos’ is reaffirming the power we have at our disposal if we remain true to ourselves and to nature.”

Asked if he would consider running for president, Tyson said no. “If people are disgruntled with their leaders, consider there are people who voted for them,” he said. “Swapping people doesn’t change the electorate.” The larger issue, he said, is that a huge part of the electorate doesn’t distinguish between truth and lies.

Panelists also discussed the differences and similarities between science fiction and science fact. Braga, who worked in the “Star Trek” universe for 15 years, said that show and “Cosmos” are “cousins of sorts. They have certain optimistic outlooks of what humans are capable of. Both have ships, both are about exploration. The only difference is, you can’t make crap up on ‘Cosmos.'”

MacFarlane, who is also the star and executive producer of “The Orville,” said he was also looking to create more “optimistic depictions of science.”

Fox and National Geographic also unveiled a first look at the new season of “Cosmos” at the panel. Watch below:

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