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Bill Nye the Science Guy is an educational television program that originally aired from September 10, 1993 to June 20, 1998, hosted by Bill Nye and produced by Buena Vista Television. The show aired on PBS Kids and was also syndicated to local stations, making it the second first-run television program behind The Open Mind. It still airs on some PBS stations as an educational program for in-school use. Each of the 100 episodes aims to teach a specific topic in science to a preteen audience. The show is frequently used in schools as an education medium.
Created by comedian Ross Shafer and based on sketches on KING-TV's sketch program Almost Live!, Bill Nye the Science Guy was produced by Disney Educational Productions and KCTS-TV of Seattle.
Bill Nye the Science Guy won nineteen Emmy Awards during its run.
The show ran about the same time as and covered similar topics to Beakman's World, in fact sharing one crew member, editor/writer/director Michael Gross. Before this show, Bill Nye had previously worked alongside Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future: The Animated Series, where Nye played Doc Brown's assistant and demonstrated several experiments.
Bill Nye the Science Guy has been likened to the next generation version of Mr. Wizard. Bill's TV persona is a tall and slender scientist wearing a blue lab coat and a bow-tie. He mixes the serious science of everyday things with fast-paced action and humor. Each show begins with Bill walking onto the set, called "Nye Labs", which is filled with scientific visuals (including many "of science" contraptions announced dramatically, such as "The slingshots of Science!") relevant to the topic of the show. Most episodes contain a mock song parody and music video in the "Soundtrack of Science" by "Not That Bad Records", substituting a scientific roundup of the episode for the lyrics to a popular song. Each show ends with Bill explaining his departure in a clever description of an activity on topic. The credits sometimes rolled next to a series of outtakes from the episode.
Another popular member of the cast is the announcer Pat Cashman, whom Nye knew from his time on Almost Live!. Some announcers who subbed in for Cashman include Ernie Anderson, Gary Owens, and Brian Cummings. In 1996, Bill made a guest appearance on Cartoon Network's talk-show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in its twenty-fourth episode, Boo! with Michael Norman. A year later, he made an appearance on PBS Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Aside from Bill himself, one of the most memorable things about Bill Nye the Science Guy is its theme song. The bass-heavy theme is set to a house beat with Bill's name shouted throughout the duration of the song. The sound and speed fluctuations of the voice were accomplished through a vocoder and electronic pitch fluctuation. The theme song is credited to Mike Greene.
The show's episodes consisted of several compositions from Associated Production Music. Some featured tracks include:
- "Act of Heroism (C)"
- "Blood in the Gutter" by Laurie Johnson
- "Dramatic Impact #3" by Ivor Slaney
- "The Gunfighter" by Ennio Morricone
- "Hit and Run" by Ralph Dollimore
- "Killer Birds" by Gregor Narholz
- "Saw Theme"
- "Spindlelegs" by King Palmer
Many of these tracks were also featured in SpongeBob SquarePants and The Ren and Stimpy Show. Another common track used was the theme from the English show Dave Allen At Large, here used as the theme from "The Jackie Smazz Show." "Killer Birds" was used in an All That episode.
A computer game for the series, titled Bill Nye the Science Guy: Stop the Rock!, was released in 1996 for Windows and Macintosh by Pacific Interactive. In the game, a large meteoroid called "Impending Dumé" threatens to make a catastrophic collision with the Earth. A team of scientists develop a laser satellite-controlling computer system called MAAX (Meteoroid and Asteroid Exploder) to destroy the meteoroid; however, MAAX develops a personality of its own (in an obvious parody of the sentient computer HAL from the film and novel 2001: A Space Odyssey) and refuses to save the planet unless Earth's scientists can solve seven science riddles. Nye Labs decides to take on MAAX's challenge, and the player, depicted as the newest member of the Nye Labs team, is asked to solve these riddles using Nye Labs' equipment before Impending Dumé hits (represented through an in-game timer). The game featured a fully explorable Nye Labs, as well as video cut scenes featuring Bill Nye and other Nye Labs scientists. However, the characters and cast members from the TV series, sans Bill Nye and a few others, do not appear in this game, instead being replaced by game-exclusive Nye Labs team members and new actors.
List of episodes
- Main article: Bill Nye the Science Guy episode list
Daytime Emmy Awards
- 1996 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Erren Gottlieb, Bill Nye, James McKenna, Scott Schaefer, Adam Gross and Seth Gross
- 1996 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Michael McAuliffe, Dave Howe, Ella Brackett, Thomas McGurk and Jim Wilson
- 1997 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Kit Boss,Erren Gottlieb, Michael Gross, James McKenna, Bill Nye, Ian G. Saunders, Scott Schaefer and Darrell Suto
- 1997 – Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series – Darrell Suto, Michael Gross, Erren Gottlieb and James McKenna
- 1997 – Outstanding Single Camera Editing – Darrell Suto, Michael Gross, Felicity Oram and John Reul
- 1997 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Thomas McGurk, Michael McAuliffe and Dave Howe
- 1998 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Erren Gottlieb, James McKenna, Bill Nye, Michael Gross, Darrell Suto, Scott Schaefer, Kit Boss, Lynn Brunelle, Michael Palleschi, Ian G. Saunders and Simon Griffith (Tied with Sesame Street)
- 1998 – Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series – Bill Nye
- 1998 – Outstanding Single Camera Editing – Darrell Suto, Michael Gross, Felicity Oram and John Reul
- 1998 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Dave Howe, Thomas McGurk and Michael McAuliffe
- 1998 – Outstanding Sound Mixing – Dave Howe, Thomas McGurk, Michael McAuliffe, Bob O'Hern, Resti Bagcal and Marion Smith
- 1999 – Outstanding Children's Series – Erren Gottlieb, James McKenna, Elizabeth Brock, Jamie Hammond, Hamilton McCulloch and Bill Nye
- 1999 – Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series – Michael Gross and Darrell Suto
- 1999 – Outstanding Single Camera Editing – Felicity Oram, John Reul, Michael Gross and Darrell Suto
- 1999 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Dave Howe, Thomas McGurk and Michael McAuliffe
- 2000 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Bill Nye, Michael Gross, Darrell Suto, Ian G. Saunders, Michael Palleschi, Lynn Brunelle and Mike Greene
- 2000 – Outstanding Children's Series – James McKenna, Erren Gottlieb, Elizabeth Brock, Jamie Hammond and Bill Nye
- 2000 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Dave Howe, Michael McAuliffe and Thomas McGurk
- 2000 – Outstanding Sound Mixing – Dave Howe, Michael McAuliffe, Thomas McGurk, Myron Partman and Resti Bagcal (Tied with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show and Bear in the Big Blue House)
- Bill Nye, The Science Lab Official Site
- Bill Nye, The Science Guy at Disney.com
- Episode Review "The Sun", Deep Yellow's "My Favorite Star".
- Bill Nye - Popular Video (02:32) - Warning That Creationism Threatens Science Education in The United States.
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