PBS is trying a little science experiment.
The noncom programming service will announce Monday that it will, for the first time, stream a show online before it is available on-air. The move comes as the network explores program delivery on multiple platforms and looks to boost its online presence.
PBS will stream pilots/specials for three potential new science series at PBS.org Jan. 1, then air them on member stations starting Jan. 3 and ask Web surfers and viewers to weigh in online with their favorite.
Although the the effort is being dubbed in-house as "PBS Science Idol," the online vote will not actually be determinative. PBS will take the surfers top vote getter into account along with other reseach in determining the winner, which will get a 10-episode slot in fall 2007 on member stations.
The episode refering to Huxley:
22nd Century will look at the shape of scientific things to come, posing such questions as: Will lifespans increase to 250 years, will machines get so small they can do a Fantastic Voyage like repair of the human body, and the Borg-like premise of brains one day being linked much as computers on the Web are today. Taking viewers on the tour of tomorrowland will be an actor playing Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, which was about the possible dehumanizing effects of technolgoy; an "everyday viewer" character, and a resident of the future who paints a rosy picture of the possibilities.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
What is the world going to be like 30 years from now? Will human life spans increase to 250 years or more? Will personal computers be smarter than the humans who use them? Will machines shrink to a micro-level so small that they can make repairs inside a human cell? This series is about dramatic changes being made by scientific and technological research conducted in laboratories across the globe today. The pilot episode, called "World Wide Mind," is about a new theory that suggests that in the coming decades all our brains will be wired together just as computers were wired together via the World Wide Web during the 1990s. Each episode will be driven by three characters viewing these scientific advances from a different perspective. One will be an actor portrayingAldous Huxley , late author of Brave New World, who worried about the dehumanizing consequences of new technology. The second will be an impartial observer from the present, an everyday person who, like our viewers, is affected by the changes taking place. The third will be a character from the future, who presents an optimistic view of all the possibilities these technologies offer.
January 1 Website launch: pbs.org/22ndcentury
(accessible from 01.01.2007)