PBS Goes Plebiscite

By Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor) | January 1, 2007 6:00 pm

In the spirit of keeping public television public, PBS is putting its viewers in power by allowing them to pick the station’s newest science show.

Whittled down from 19 solid submissions, PBS will air its three finalist pilots throughout January on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. If all of you democratic Web denizens out there can’t wait a month to give informed feedback, log on to pbs.org/science to view streaming versions of each pilot (all of them are currently awaiting your opinions).

Now, announcing the three candidates:

  • Wired Science (airs January 3)—Essentially Wired Magazine repackaged for TV, the show will cover the latest developments in space exploration, biomedicine, robotics, military technology and more in a fast-and-furious hour of entertainment.

  • Science Investigators (airs January 10)—This investigative number delves into mysteries such as 30,000-year-old Neanderthal DNA and the physics of a knuckleball baseball pitch—but it also aims to keep viewers up-to-date with new technologies like electric NASCAR stock cars and bacteria-powered iPods.

  • 22nd Century (airs January 17)—The “what if” show for science television. A group of actors play out the possibilities to far-off scientific futures, starting with the new World Wide Web—not one of computers, but linked-up human brains.

While there is no “vote,” per se, viewers can offer feedback that runs on the Web site for all to see. Using this digital deliberation collected by the end of the month, PBS will pick a winner to graduate into a 10-week series that debuts this fall. But what about the losers? The station offers no word on this touchy subject, but DiscoBlog predicts plenty of YouTube spoofs in the future.

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