... MacFarlane is serious, putting his money and his clout with Fox, where his mouth is. Fox plans to air a reboot of the 1980s PBS science show Cosmos, one of the most popular and least hip programs ever made. MacFarlane is also spending his money to help get late Cosmos host Carl Sagan’s substantial collections of letters, notes and drawings into the Library of Congress. “I never met Carl Sagan, but this is my way to give something back to him for all of the things he gave to me,” says MacFarlane.
Fox might seem like a strange network to host a reboot of Cosmos. The show was one of the most popular ever on PBS, but much of its success depended on viewers buying into Sagan’s poetic vision of space as the exhilarating new frontier for exploration. Not exactly the kind of show you’d expect on a network dominated by shows like American Idol and MacFarlane’s naughty cartoons. “It’s not going to be the biggest money earner,” admits Kevin Reilly, head of entertainment at Fox Networks. “But it could have a cultural impact.”
And of course, Fox wants to keep Mr. MacFarlane happy, since his naughty cartoons make the network buckets and buckets of money.