Morgan Freeman is a very curious man. So curious, in fact, that he took the role as the host of the Discovery’s Through the Wormhole series on Science. Freeman asks some very difficult and, as Commander Data would say, “intriguing” questions about our humanity, our universe, and what lies in the outer limits of space and beyond our imagination: What are we made of? What was there before the beginning? Are we really alone? Is there a creator?
I had a telephone chat with Bernadette McDaid, VP of Production for Science and executive producer of Through The Wormhole about the show’s charismatic host and the tough questions he’s so curious about.
GD: How did you come to pick Morgan Freeman in particular for the host of Through the Wormhole? In what way does he contribute directly to the type of questions asked and the personal content of the show? What is the overall goal of the Through the Wormhole series in terms of the deep questions it’s asking about our humanity, our universe and our existence? Who forms the questions for research for the Through the Wormhole series? Is there a panel of experts that changes each week?
BM: “We had learned that Morgan was always intrigued by physics and met with he and his producing partner Lori McCreary and the Revelations team about developing something unique for our Science audience. What was born was Through The Wormhole, one of SCIENCE’s biggest hits and consistently drives new fans to SCIENCE every Wednesday at 10pm ET/PT”
“Freeman and McCreary are very involved as is my entire Science development team in the themes that are tackled each season. Revelations entire goal is to develop and produce compelling human stories. We start with a concept and decide if is there a story behind this, a human element that we can bring in order to make it accessible, compelling and provoking for our die-hard Science fans. We feel we have accomplished that and the results can be seen every week especially with our season finale of “What Do Aliens Look Like?” airing August 3″
“We are all, Revelations and Science, very collaborative in the efforts for every season to make sure we have a diverse set of topics that have enough material in order to provide a balanced hour of storytelling. We brainstorm concepts before the season begin and often turn to our viewers for feedback via our Facebook, Twitter and ScienceChannel.com portals.”
“Our Science audience is very savvy and smart. We do not dumb down any of our concepts but do, do our best to make them more accessible to our growing audience. We don’t want science to just be viewed as men in a lab with white coats on. It is just as important to pose the question and provoke the thought as it is to find the answer. That is what is so key about every episode of Wormhole. We tackle one question per episode and find the most diverse and profound scientists on the subject. They don’t always agree and offer varying perspectives but it is all about initiating the conversation.”
“We really see Wormhole as one of our staple SCIENCE programs. It provides that ‘deep dive’ into science that our viewers crave that can’t be found anywhere else on television. The questions are endless and we can go in many directions. Our hope is to engage the viewers and ask them what topics they would like to see covered for upcoming seasons and take that into account when we are moving forward with plans for the future. We care very much what our core audience of ‘thought provocateurs’ thinks and they are very vocal and loyal about the topics we are covering so pleasing the core and working the edges is key for us at the network.”
GD: Pondering the Hameroff Penrose theory, Luminet’s “Dodecahedron” shape and “dark flow” pulling galaxies will surely cause many viewers to want to do more research and reading on these complex scientific questions. What are some resources with up-to-date information for college students and advanced high school students? Will there be any interactive, transmedia opportunities involving reader feedback and participation, either on the website or via social networking sites?
“We encourage all of the fans of Wormhole and our audience to visit our website at ScienceChannel.com and join our Facebook and Twitter pages as well. There is the hub of books, movies, articles that inspire us to do what we do for the Science audience so well and we also encourage viewer feedback. For Wormhole in particular we allow viewers to interact with the scientists featured in each episode and pose questions to them that they need further clarification on, or debate certain topics with. Each one of the scientists we work with are carefully chosen for their diverse background and different perspective that they will bring to each episode and the SCIENCE audience as a whole.”
GD: Will there be an episode with a tie-in to the ideas behind science fiction and comics? Think Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas and Stan Lee. What do we have to look forward to in future episodes of Through the Wormhole ?
“As I mentioned before we are going to explore future topics for Wormhole as we brainstorm the next season. We are open to everything and everything including science fiction, an area I am most personally excited about. SCIENCE also offers additional programs that explores these areas including a documentary coming out in the fall called Trek Nation which will explore the affect Roddenberry and Star Trek had on the SCIENCE world and a whole host of new programming that will speak to this very topic and will premiere before the end of the year. I encourage the SCIENCE audience to give us topics they would like to see covered through our online portals (Facebook, Twitter and ScienceChannel.com) I’m always excited to hear what they have to say!”
THROUGH THE WORMHOLE with MORGAN FREEMAN season two season finale runs Wednesday, August 3, at 10 PM (ET/PT) on SCIENCE. For more information check out Through the Wormhole’s site.