Science Channel Discovers More Original Fare


The Science Channel, now the name of the revamped and rebranded Discovery Science Channel, unveiled its new fall programming slate last week.

The service, part of Discovery Networks U.S., has set debut dates for two of its previously announced original series next month. Cosmic Odyssey ,
narrated by actor and Star Trek
veteran William Shatner, will start Oct. 4 and offer stories on the science of astronomy. The second series, The Critical Eye ,
will bow Oct. 28. It is hosted by actor William B. Davis of The X-Files ,
and will use science to explain common myths and mysteries.

The Science Channel, which relaunched in April with its new moniker, also has scheduled a handful of specials from October through year-end. Return to Hubble
(Oct. 7) will chronicle the 2002 Space Shuttle mission in which seven astronauts risked their lives to rendezvous with and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

On Oct. 14, scientists and visionaries will present technologies and breakthroughs that will change the future in 2025. Finally, Science of the Deep
(Dec. 14) will offer stories on cutting-edge oceanographic science.

"If you look at the series and specials, we are beefing up our commitment to original programming," said Discovery Digital Networks senior vice president and general manager David Karp. "This represents a substantial increase from the prior year."

The Science Channel is also making programming plans for next year. It will acquire the second window — or cable-premiere window — of the PBS series Rough Science, beginning in the first quarter, according to Karp.

And Science, now in 20 million homes, has several shows in development for 2003, including one series on cutting-edge developments in science and another offering that profiles the leading thinkers and scientists responsible for the latest achievements.

In addition to presenting more original fare, Science's rebranding and relaunching efforts encompassed a new on-air look and logo and scheduling changes.

"We brought a more contemporary feel to the channel in terms of the look and the programming," Karp said. "We are sharpening our focus on the science of the present, and using new discoveries both to re-evaluate the past and to peek into the future."

The network now presents nights of themed programming — such as engineering on Wednesday and technology on Thursday — to provide viewers with tent poles as to what to expect when they tune into the network.