In the Season Finale of "Star Talk," Neil DeGrasse Tyson Interviews Norman Lear

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20 June 2015
Star Talk
Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic Channels
 "Star Talk"
 Monday, June 22 at 11 PM ET/PT on National Geographic Channel
          In the finale, Neil DeGrasse Tyson interviews Norman Lear, iconic producer of some of television’s most successful and impactful series.
          Tyson discusses Norman Lear’s influence on American culture with studio guests Chuck Nice and Saul Austerlitz. The discussion also touches on how series topics can turn into laughter. Tyson thinks that the current TV audience is ready for even more intelligent programming.
         When Tyson was growing up in the Bronx in the 1970s, he fantasized about becoming a superhero called Geek Man, who would fly around the world rescuing youthful science nerds from their football-playing, wedgie-giving tormentors.

          While Tyson never quite developed super-powers, the 56-year-old Columbia and Harvard-educated astrophysicist has become a science hero of a different sort—one that National Public Radio playfully has dubbed “the most powerful nerd in the universe.” In addition to his day job as director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium, Tyson has morphed into one of the best-known scientists in America, and a rising multimedia superstar. He’s authored numerous books aimed at mainstream audiences on subjects ranging from Pluto to black holes, and was chosen to succeed the iconic Carl Sagan as host in the 2014 reboot of the TV series Cosmos. At most recent count, he’s got 3.52 million followers on Twitter, and amassed 8.5 million views for a single YouTube video, entitled “The Most Astounding Fact.” He’s sat on the couch and exchanged witty patter as a guest of TV hosts ranging from Charlie Rose to Jimmy Fallon, and his own popular talk-show format podcast, StarTalk, will debut as a new National Geographic Channel series.

          Tyson seems to be everywhere these days, commanding attention with his flamboyantly stylish wardrobe and hats, and rhapsodizing about planets, galaxies and space exploration in what a 2014 New Yorker profile called “a deep, commanding voice that can shift register from a honeyed purr to a practiced roar of outrage.” The National Academy of Sciences recently presented him with its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal, for his ability to get ordinary people excited about the universe. “Neil has captured the public’s imagination like no other scientist today,” NAS president Ralph J. Cicerone explains.


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