FOX Celebrates Scientists, Inspires Students with Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, Airing this Sunday, Nov. 29
On Sunday, Nov. 29, at 7/6c, FOX will air a one-hour special on the 2015 Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, an annual awards show honoring the work of today's leading scientists and mathematicians. The ceremony, hosted by Family Guy creator and Cosmos executive producer Seth MacFarlane at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, originally aired live on 21st Century Fox's National Geographic Channel on Nov. 8. Presenters include Russell Crowe, Hilary Swank, Lily Collins, Thomas Middleditch, and Martin Starr, as well as a special musical performance by Pharrell Williams.
"It is an honor to partner with the Breakthrough Prize team to celebrate the incredible men and women who are driving the world's most significant scientific advances," said Gary Newman and Dana Walden, chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group. "We hope that by showcasing these great minds and their important work to millions of viewers, we can help them inspire the next generation of scientists."
Tech industry leaders Sergey Brin (Google), Anne Wojcicki (23andMe), Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (Facebook), Yuri Milner and Julia Milner (DST Global), and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang (Alibaba) launched the prize in 2013 to give scientists and mathematicians the same celebrity treatment as actors and musicians. The awards honor achievements in the fields of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Mathematics, and laureates receive $3 million in prize money, making the Breakthrough Prize one of the most lucrative awards in the world of science.
"To me, growing up [in India], scientists were the rock stars," Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Vanity Fair. "Pretty much every major advance in society and economy has been due to science... Hopefully, these awards, mirroring Hollywood with science, motivates more kids to pick up science."
By celebrating scientists' work in this way, the Breakthrough Prize founders hope to generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career. To that end, this year's ceremony was the first to feature the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, which awards $400,000 in educational prizes to students whose original videos bring to life a scientific or mathematical idea or principle. Ryan Chester, a senior at North Royalton High School in Ohio, took home the grand prize of $250,000 for his video on Einstein's theory of relativity.
"Science is everything," Chester said. "By using a mathematical way of looking at the world, we can come up with solutions to things that we never would have imagined without a set of laws like [the ones] science provides."
Jennifer Doudna, a professor of chemistry and molecular cell biology at the University of California Berkeley and a previous Breakthrough Prize laureate, says the awards have already made an impact on students. "I get regular e-mails from students who are inspired not just by the prize but by the attention it places on science," she told The New York Times. "And that's a wonderful thing."
Photos by Justin Bishop for Vanity Fair.
On November 17, the Women's Image Network (WIN) announced the nominations for The WIN Awards, an annual ceremony honoring outstanding individuals in politics, business, music, and media who promote gender parity through their creativity and leadership. The winners will be announced on February 10, 2016. Several film and television productions from 21st Century Fox businesses received nominations.
He Named Me Malala, the documentary from Fox Searchlight and director Davis Guggenheim following the life of education activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, received two nominations, one for best documentary film and another for Laurie MacDonald for producing. The film will be available on DVD and Digital HD on December 15.
Fox has used the film to share Malala's story with a global audience and engage and inspire young women everywhere. In lieu of a traditional premiere, the company invited nearly 7,000 female high school students from the Los Angeles Unified School District for an exclusive screening of the film. The event coincided with the launch of Girls Build LA, the newest campaign from the LA Fund for Public Education to empower the city's young women to take action in their communities.
More Fox Searchlight films received nominations, as well, including Mistress America (Best Feature Film, Greta Gerwig for writing and producing), Far from the Madding Crowd (Best Feature Film, Carey Mulligan for acting), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Best Feature Film, Olivia Cooke for acting), and Brooklyn (Saoirse Ronan for acting, Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey for producing).
In addition, several Twentieth Century Fox Television productions received nominations, including New Girl (Liz Meriwether, Katherine Pope, Erin O'Malley, and Daniell Sanchez-Witzel for producing), Modern Family (Ryan Case for directing), Empire (Best Drama Series), and Fresh Off the Boat (Best Comedy Series). Emmanuelle Chriqui was also nominated for her role in Killing Jesus on National Geographic Channel.
For more information and a full list of nominees, visit TheWINAwards.com.
FOX's 'The Simpsons' Wins Seventh Environmental Media Award for Raising Awareness of Environmental Issues
On October 24, top Hollywood talent gathered at the Warner Bros. studio lot for the 25th annual Environmental Media Awards, a yearly awards show recognizing film and television that increase public awareness of environmental issues. FOX's The Simpsons collected the seventh award in the show's history for an episode exploring the issue of fracking.
"Over the years, we at The Simpsons have addressed so many environmental issues," said Yeardley Smith, who plays Lisa Simpson. "We have tackled factory farming, acid rain, light pollution, over-fishing, climate change, clear cutting old growth trees, hive collapse, and now fracking... Through it all, the EMAs have been there with tremendous support."
The winning episode, entitled "Opposites A-Frack," was written by Valentina L. Garza and directed by Matthew Nastuk. Matt Selman, who along with Al Jean currently serves as the showrunner, accepted the award.
"When we set out to do a show about hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' we felt it was important to present both sides of this complicated issue," Selman joked. "We couldn't find any 'pros,' but we tried."
Each of the nominees in this category was produced by a 21st Century Fox business. FOX's Bob's Burgers was nominated for its episode "Late Afternoon in the Garden of Bob and Louise," and the Twentieth Century Fox Television production Cristela received a nomination, as well.
"We have incredible nominees and remarkable honorees tonight whose activism touches everything that we have been working toward here at EMA for all these years," said Debbie Levin, president of the Environmental Media Association. "We have been blessed to work with the most passionate environmentalists in our community, individuals who understand that their voices can truly make substantial changes."
The Environmental Media Association was founded in 1989 by Lyn and Norman Lear and Cindy and Alan Horn. EMA is dedicated to harnessing the power of celebrity and the media to promote sustainable lifestyles and believes through positive role modeling the entertainment community can inspire consumers to take action.
In addition to recognizing strong environmental messaging, the EMA Awards also present the Green Seal to film and television projects that have gone above and beyond in the call to make their productions more environmentally friendly. Eight Fox productions received the honor this year, including Deadpool, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Morgan, Paper Towns, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, The Martian, The X-Files, and X-Men: Apocalypse.
At last year's awards, FOX's New Girl and Cosmos won in the Television Comedy and Reality Television categories for their respective episodes on waste and climate change. In addition, FOX Broadcasting collected the special Green Production Award for its Fall Eco-Casino Party, the network's annual launch party to kick off the new television season. The event, which is completely carbon neutral, brings together FOX talent and executives to raise money for environmental charities, and it has raised more than $250,000 over the past decade.
Other stars in attendance this year included Gwyneth Paltrow, Blythe Danner, Lance Bass, Jessica Biel, Ed Begley Jr., and Kristin Davis. For the full list of EMA winners and a complete recording of the awards ceremony, visit the Environmental Media Association's official website.
The environmental not-for-profit CDP has commended 21st Century Fox for the transparency and thoroughness of its corporate sustainability program, awarding the company a perfect score of 100 in its latest report. CDP assesses the depth and quality of the climate change related information that companies disclose to investors and the global market place, and the organization's new report ranks 21st Century Fox among the top 10% of S&P 500 companies, placing it on the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index. This is the seventh consecutive year that the company has earned a spot on the CDLI.
CDP is the world's largest clearinghouse for companies' carbon footprint data and environmental management strategies, as more than 5,500 of the world's largest companies, including 67% of the S&P 500, report this information to CDP annually. These companies complete an annual questionnaire that addresses total energy use and carbon emissions across their operations, as well as strategy and governance in assessing and managing risks and opportunities from climate change.
The Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) scores companies' performances on a scale of 0 to 100, based on the level of disclosure of carbon emissions measurement techniques and subsequent public disclosure. The performance band grades companies' overall response to climate change. Companies are classified in Bands A through D, with "A" being the best overall grade and "D" being the worst. 2015 marks 21st Century Fox's seventh straight year on the CDLI, a track record surpassed by only two companies. The company received a disclosure score of 100 and a "B" in the performance band.
Top scores indicate a high level of transparency in the disclosure of climate change-related information, providing investors with a level of comfort to assess corporate accountability and preparedness for changing market demands and emissions regulation.
Paul Dickinson, executive chairman and co-founder of CDP says, "As the world looks beyond the Paris climate change negotiations and prepares for a low carbon future, reliable information about how companies are responding to the transition will be ever more valuable. For this reason, we congratulate those businesses that have achieved a position on CDP's Climate Disclosure Leadership Index."
21st Century Fox has disclosed its emissions and carbon reduction strategy with CDP since the launch of its corporate sustainability program in 2007. CDP works with 822 institutional investors representing nearly $95 trillion in assets. The complete reports can be found at CDP.net.
Learn more about 21st Century Fox's commitments to sustainability.
21st Century Fox and the National Geographic Society have completed the transaction to form National Geographic Partners, a new media company combining the National Geographic television channels with the remainder of the Society's commercial assets, including National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Studios, and more. On November 16, the company announced the appointment of its senior leadership team.
"Upon completing the transaction to form National Geographic Partners, we are thrilled to bring these incredibly talented executives to the senior leadership team," said Declan Moore, CEO of National Geographic Partners. "National Geographic is one of the world's most trusted brands, delivering unique and compelling storytelling of science, discovery and wonder to consumers for over a century. We're excited to officially begin our journey to bring a new and integrated National Geographic experience to people worldwide, and I look forward to partnering with Ward Platt and working with Susan Goldberg, Courteney Monroe and Jeffrey Schneider to share the National Geographic mission with an even larger audience."
Platt, who currently serves as COO of Fox International Channels, as well as CEO of National Geographic Channels International, will join as Chief Operating Officer of the new venture. He will act as Moore's partner in driving the global revenue of the large portfolio of businesses.
Susan Goldberg will continue to serve as Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic magazine and will add the title of Editorial Director, responsible for all of the publishing activities under the new venture, including digital journalism, magazines, books, maps, children and family, travel, and adventure. Jeffrey Schneider, who is currently Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for National Geographic Channels, will become EVP of Business and Legal Affairs for National Geographic Partners.
Courteney Monroe, currently CEO of National Geographic Channels U.S., will now serve as CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, overseeing all National Geographic channels, as well as National Geographic Studios, the in-house television production studio responsible for the network's Emmy-nominated series Brain Games and the Emmy-winning series Explorer, among many other projects. Monroe will work closely with Fox Networks Group Chairman and CEO Peter Rice to position National Geographic Channels as a global leader in premium science, adventure, and exploration programming.
21st Century Fox first announced the expanded partnership between the two entities in September, after 18 years of jointly operating the National Geographic Channels. The company now owns 73% of National Geographic Partners, and the Society, which remains an independent nonprofit, owns the balance. The new company will have a shared governance structure, and both entities will have equal representation on the board of directors. The deal, valued at $725 million, pushes the Society's endowment to more than $1 billion, enabling the organization to nearly double its investment in an array of science, research, and education programs.
Plans include the creation of the National Geographic Grosvenor Center for Education, dedicated to improving the geographic skills of high school students, and the establishment of Centers of Excellence in Cartography, Journalism and Photography, which will develop and fund innovations in exploration, mapping and story-telling.
"This expanded partnership, bringing together all of the media and consumer activities under the National Geographic umbrella, one of the most treasured names in the world, creates vast opportunities and enables this business to be even more successful in a digital environment," said James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox. "We believe in the Society's mission of bringing the world to audiences through science, education, and exploration... We're very excited and honored to work with the Society's extraordinary explorers, scientists, and visual storytellers to propel their incredible work to audiences around the globe."
For more information, view the press release.