In the fall of 2014, the Fox TV Stations debuted Xploration Station, a two-hour block of STEM-focused programming consisting of four new shows. One of those shows, Xploration Outer Space, has partnered with the nonprofit Project PoSSUM to launch the #StudentAstronaut Contest, a competition giving one high school or college student the chance to take part in a special 5-day scientist-astronaut training program. The contest allows young students who are passionate about science to conduct exciting new research in a burgeoning field.
The winner of the competition will get the chance to attend PoSSUM Academy this October, where he or she will learn about the Earth's upper atmosphere while training to perform an experiment during a suborbital space mission. The curriculum includes learning to operate PoSSUM instruments, working inside a pressurized spacesuit, and even simulating suborbital mission profiles through aerobatic flight with legendary aerobatic pilot, Patty Wagstaff. The winner will go through the program with Xploration Outer Space host Emily Calandrelli and will be featured in a Season 2 episode of the show.
The other series comprising Xploration Station are Xploration Awesome Planet, hosted by Philippe Cousteau, Xploration Earth 2050, hosted by Joe Penna, and Xploration Animal Science, which explores animal behavior. Both Xploration Awesome Planet and Xploration Earth 2050 were nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards this year. In January, Fox TV Stations renewed all four series through 2017. The new seasons are currently in production, and the first seasons are available to stream for free on Hulu.
"The Fox renewal shows that Xploration Station is resonating with an audience that has so many other choices," said Executive Producer Steve Rotfeld. "We get emails every week from not only viewers but school teachers who reference the shows in class and recommend it to their students."
Those looking to enter the #StudentAstronaut contest can do so by visiting StudentAstronaut.com.
At this year's Amgen Tour of California, which began on Sunday, May 10, the riders of Team Sky returned as the reigning champions, and they seized the opportunity to engage and inspire cycling fans in the U.S., just as they had done so successfully in the U.K.
Prior to the start of the race, Team Sky riders Ian Boswell and Danny Pate, along with Jenny Taft of FOX Sports, hosted the SoulCycle | Team Sky Pro Challenge, a high-energy spin class at SoulCycle Beverly Hills to raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 100% of the proceeds went toward BGCA's health and wellness programs, and 21st Century Fox double-matched all donations.
Taft, who participated in the class, also interviewed Boswell and Pate for a segment that aired on America's Pregame Show, one of FOX Sports 1's flagship programs. Click the video below to watch the segment.
In addition, 21st Century Fox donated bikes, equipment, and Team Sky gear to local chapters of the Boys & Girls Clubs in the Los Angeles area, helping introduce new youth communities to active, healthy lifestyles.
The Pro Challenge is the latest in a long line of pro-social efforts from Team Sky, which has organized its outreach efforts under the motto "Inspiration to Participation" since the team's formation in 2009. Team Sky's Sky Rides began in 2009 as an event to encourage fans to join in the fun of cycling and introduce regular exercise to their routines. Fans could participate in a special traffic-free ride on a 15-kilometer route through London. More than 65,000 people participated, and the events have only grown in popularity since then, now including several partner rides throughout the UK every year. Team Sky estimates that programs like these have inspired more than 1.3 million people in the UK to take up regular cycling.
21st Century fox is a proud sponsor of Team Sky and is excited to welcome the team back to LA.
Learn more about the team and track their progress at the Amgen Tour of California by visiting TeamSky.com.
In partnership with the nonprofit CARE India, STAR has launched Ek Padosi Hi Padosi Ke Kaam Aata Hai ("A Neighbor Can Help Another Neighbor"), a national PSA campaign to mobilize relief efforts for the earthquake that struck Nepal and parts of northern India on April 25. The campaign consists of short video messages from some of Bollywood's biggest stars, calling for donations to CARE India's disaster relief work.
"A tragedy has struck our neighboring country resulting in a devastating loss of life, infrastructure, and resources. We believe it is our responsibility to leverage the power of television as a force for good to help mobilize relief and provide immediate life-saving assistance to those affected," said STAR India CEO Uday Shankar. "We... are extremely humbled to see that our initiative has been embraced by some of the leading lights of the entertainment industry to appeal for relief."
Bollywood stars Ranbir Kapoor, Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, and Preity Zinta, as well as some of the STAR network's most recognizable personalities, have all recorded PSAs, which will air across STAR's 40-plus channels. Viewers can make donations online or via bank transfers. The campaign will work alongside Operation Maitri, the relief effort initiated by the Indian government.
The donations will be channeled directly to CARE India, part of the CARE International Confederation, which works in 87 countries. CARE India has been working in the country for more than 60 years, focusing on ending poverty and social injustice. The organization has already begun relief operations in some of the areas affected by the earthquake and hopes to reach out to more than 50,000 people in the coming days.
"We would appeal to all Indians for funds to ramp up the emergency response and provide immediate life-saving assistance to those affected," said CARE India Board Chair Dr. Nachiket Mor. "We are thankful to STAR India for helping us raise funds for Nepal where millions are awaiting humanitarian relief. The country is running out of food, water, and shelter and the onus is now on us to help them."
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake is considered the worst to hit the region in 80 years, and the latest reports indicate that the death toll has crossed the 5,500 mark, with thousands more injured. The earthquake has affected Nepal, as well as the Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.
Visit CAREIndia.org for more information and to donate to the relief effort.
Each year, the Peabody Awards recognize the most distinguished and meritorious works in radio and television, and this year, FOX's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey took home top honors in the Education Documentary category for its "dazzling visual tour of the final frontier and its energetic evangelizing for science."
Cosmos, produced by Fuzzy Door Productions and Cosmos Studios, Inc. and broadcast on FOX and the National Geographic Channel, features renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson guiding viewers through the mysteries and grandeur of the universe, with the help of state-of-the-art digital effects. The series aired in the spring of 2014, with Fox organizing the largest international rollout in television history, across 181 countries and nearly 50 languages. 135 million viewers tuned in over the course of the series.
"An update of Carl Sagan's famous series for the age of CGI, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos is not only an educational, eye-popping, near-psychedelic tour of our universe and beyond, it's a passionate brief on behalf of science itself," the Awards said.
The Peabody organization is housed at University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and it recognizes excellence in the work of radio and television stations, networks, webcasters, podcasters, producing organizations, and individuals.
Since its launch in 2012, STAR India's groundbreaking social awareness series Satyamev Jayate has become the premier platform through which Indians can discuss their society's most pressing issues. The series features Bollywood star Aamir Khan in conversation with victims, activists, and experts, as they explore such subjects as the caste system, alcoholism, and political corruption. On April 22 at the 6th annual Women in the World Summit in New York City, Khan spoke at length about how the show has addressed women's rights issues over the course of its three-season run.
Speaking in conversation with Zainab Salbi, founder of the nonprofit Women for Women International, Khan explained that women's issues have been a part of Satyamev Jayate since the very first episode, which addressed the issue of female feticide. That episode alone, streamed digitally and broadcast on multiple STAR channels in six local languages, was watched by roughly 50 million people, and now, years later, its effects are still being felt.
Khan said that since that first episode aired in 2012, census figures showing 914 girls born compared to 1,000 boys in the states of Mahrashtra and Rajasthan (the worst states on record in terms of gender ratio) had changed radically. Today, the ratio has improved by 50 to 60 points, and local leaders have pointed to Satyamev Jayate as a major contributing factor.
As the show has gone on, it has continued to consistently address issues facing women and girls in India, from domestic violence to the dowry system to sexual violence and rape. In its most recent season, which aired on STAR in the fall of 2014, one episode framed violence against women as not just a women's issue but as a men's issue.
"Unless we redefine what it is to be a man, things aren't going to change," Khan said to Salbi. "You cannot raise a boy telling him not to cry. You are in effect distancing him from emotion and then you are surprised when he grows up and beats his wife."
The talk also gave Khan a chance to reflect on the success of the show, which has garnered an audience of an estimated 517 million viewers and raised more than $45 million for its NGO partners.
"No one would have imagined that a show that speaks of such heavy topics would be so popular across the country," Khan said. "And the fact that it's so popular really speaks well of Indians today. We have issues, we have problems, but we want to move ahead and improve ourselves. That's what the success of the show tells us."