National Geographic Channel has completed its investigation into “Cosmos” and “StarTalk” host Neil deGrasse Tyson, and will move forward with both shows. The channel didn’t elaborate on its findings, however.
“‘StarTalk’ will return to the air with the remaining 13 episodes in April on National Geographic, and both Fox and National Geographic are committed to finding an air date for ‘Cosmos,’” the network said in a statement. “There will be no further comment.”
“Cosmos: Possible Worlds” and “Star Talk” have been in limbo for months, since Nat Geo launched an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the famed astrophysicist.
Fox had originally scheduled the new season of “Cosmos” to premiere on Sunday, March 3, while Nat Geo had slated a second window to begin on Monday, March 4. Both networks later had to scrap those plans.
“Cosmos: Possible Worlds” is the third season of the revival of the “Cosmos” franchise, as originally created by legendary astronomer Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. (Fox aired the first season, while Nat Geo ran both the first and second seasons).
Fox and Nat Geo had given the show a 13-episode order, and it was also originally set to premiere as a global event in 172 countries and 43 languages. But the show’s official Twitter feed hasn’t posted since early November, opting not to address the change in plans.
The decision to put “Cosmos” on hold also delayed plans for National Geographic to publish a companion book, also titled “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” by Druyan. Billed as a follow-up to Sagan’s bestseller “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” the original on-sale date was Feb. 19. Etailers including Amazon have pages for the book — but aren’t making it available for purchase.
While the launch of “Cosmos” was frozen, Nat Geo also yanked Tyson’s long-running chat show “StarTalk” off the air. “StarTalk” returned for its fifth season in November but had aired just three episodes, out of a 20-episode order, when new allegations against Tyson emerged.
Nat Geo began an investigation into Tyson after the website Patheos reported that two women had accused Tyson of inappropriate behavior: Bucknell University’s Dr. Katelyn N. Allers claimed Tyson groped her at an event in 2009, while a former assistant, Ashley Watson, said Tyson made repeated inappropriate sexual advances toward her.
Late last year, Fox and Nat Geo released a joint statement: “We have only just become aware of the recent allegations regarding Neil deGrasse Tyson. We take these matters very seriously and we are reviewing the recent reports.” The show’s producers, which include Druyan’s Cosmos Studios and MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door Productions, said in a statement in December that they “are committed to a thorough investigation of this matter and to act accordingly as soon as it is concluded.”
This wasn’t the first time Tyson had been accused of misconduct; musician Tchiya Amet has claimed that Tyson raped her when they were both graduate students in the 1980s.
The new allegations put Fox and Nat Geo in a jam when it came to “Cosmos,” as Tyson couldn’t easily be edited out of the show. Not only does he narrate the series, but he’s incorporated on-camera throughout the series.
Tyson wasn’t the only on-camera personality that Nat Geo has investigated over the past year over allegations of sexual misconduct. Last year, Morgan Freeman (who hosts and executive produces Nat Geo’s “The Story of God”) was accused of harassment by eight women in a CNN report. Nat Geo said it investigated and didn’t find any instances of wrongdoing on the production of “The Story of God,” and the show was reinstated. (Morgan even appeared at Nat Geo’s Television Critics Assn. press tour session last month, although he didn’t address the allegations there.)
For his part, Tyson denied the allegations in a Facebook post, and at the time said he welcomed an investigation: “In any claim, evidence matters. Evidence always matters. But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgment on who is more credible than whom. And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth – and would have my full cooperation to do so.”