On Saturday, September 13, the Fox Television Stations will debut a new two-hour block of educational programming called Xploration Station. The weekly block, created and produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions, will consist of four half-hour shows based entirely on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The four shows include Xploration Awesome Planet, hosted by Philippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau; Xploration Outer Space, hosted by Harvard scholar and astronautics expert Emily Calandrelli; Xploration Earth 2050, which explores what the world and technology will look like in the year 2050; and Xploration Animal Science, which explores animal behavior.
"Most of the other Saturday morning stuff is sort of soft adventure and animals," said Steve Rotfeld, president of Steve Rotfeld Productions. "We thought, 'Let's try to do something that's educational but also fascinating.' We thought that STEM was a great hook for that, since there's such a huge movement to advance STEM education."
According to the US Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a career in the STEM fields, and even among those who do purse a college major in those subjects, only about half choose to work in a related career. Frank Chica, Senior VP of Programming for Fox TV Stations, clearly sees this deficit as an opportunity to promote STEM education among young students.
"We take our kids programming very seriously and feel that Xploration Station is a rare, focused effort within the E/I world. Its emphasis on STEM education is timely, important, and should appeal to the 13-16 year old target age," Chica said.
All four series will premiere this Saturday, September 13, on local Fox stations. The episodes will also be available to watch for free on Hulu the following day. To view the trailer for Xploration Station, click the video below:
For the tenth consecutive year, FOX Broadcasting celebrated the start of the new television season with the Fall Eco-Casino Party, presented by Ford and Xfinity. Several of FOX's biggest stars appeared at the event, which was held at the Bungalow Club in Santa Monica, California, on September 8. Over the course of the evening, FOX raised $25,000 to donate to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, Heal the Bay, The Nature Conservancy, and the Environmental Media Association.
The party brought together stars from FOX's most successful returning series, such as New Girl, So You Think You Can Dance, and Family Guy, as well as newcomers from Mulaney, Gotham, and Red Band Society.
As in past years, FOX worked to minimize the event's carbon footprint by using bio-diesel-powered trucks to transport equipment, choosing LED lights over traditional incandescent bulbs, distributing invitations digitally, using casino chips made from recycled materials, purchasing local, organic, and sustainable food products, printing reusable signage, renting furniture and decor, composting all food and beverage waste, and recycling all cans, bottles, cardboard and paper used by staff and guests.
For more photos and video from the event, check out this recap from FOX 11 Los Angeles. FOX's Fall Season kicked off this week with the Sunday premiere of Utopia.
Through an innovative social media campaign promoting its new series Red Band Society, FOX has raised more than $100,000 for five major health charities, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Teen Cancer America, and Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
As part of the "Banding Together for Good" campaign, any time a fan shared Red Band Society photos or videos on social media between August 15 and August 22, FOX donated $1 to one of the five charities. Donations totaled more than $100,000.
FOX introduced the social media campaign on the heels of the "Banding Together for Good" summer tour. Fans in nine cities across America attended free advanced screenings of the series' first episode and interacted with the cast and executive producer during Q&A sessions. The screening tour also raised awareness of the five health charities above and the work they do to keep kids healthy.
During the tour, Red Band Society cast members visited several children's hospitals around the country to meet and spend time with the patients. The cast also visited the Daltrey/Townshend Teen and Young Adult Cancer Center in Los Angeles, on which the series' own pediatric ward is based. For more information on the tour, check out the videos below.
Red Band Society is a coming-of-age drama about the various teenaged patients at LA's Ocean Park Hospital. The show premieres on FOX on Wednesday, September 17.
As part of its commitment to expanding access to sports in India, STAR Sports recently organized an extensive on-air campaign to raise funds for the young women of the YUWA youth football team. The campaign gathered nearly $50,000 in donations, enough for Team YUWA to travel to Minnesota for this summer's Schwan USA Cup, one of world's largest international soccer tournaments.
YUWA is a nonprofit working with women and girls in Jharkhand, an Indian state with some of the highest rates of child marriage, female illiteracy, and human trafficking. By providing educational and extracurricular programs, YUWA hopes to combat these issues and instill Jharkhand's young women with the skills and confidence they need.
"[In Jharkhand, it's very counter-cultural for girls to be running around in shorts and playing soccer, so we still have families and community members who don't think it's right," said Rose Thomson, YUWA's program director. "Parents often don't see the value in girls being put in school [let alone] playing soccer."
When STAR Sports learned about the organization's work, they began discussing ways to get involved, ultimately deciding to organize an on-air campaign.
"The story of the YUWA girls touched our hearts, and we wanted to make an honest effort to fulfill their dream of participating in the USA Cup," said Nitin Kukreja, President of STAR Sports. "We at STAR truly believe that sports have the power to transform the lives of people, and Team YUWA is a great example of it."
STAR's campaign ran on multiple channels throughout the month of May, and it received donations from corporations such as Quantum, Tata Sky, and Lenovo, as well as countless donations from individuals throughout India. The campaign raised nearly $50,000 which covered the entry fee for the USA Cup, as well as travel and accommodation for the team members. Team YUWA was able to compete in the USA Cup from July 15-19.
For more information on YUWA's work with women and girls in India, please visit their official website, and be sure to check out one of STAR's campaign videos below:
This week, the Environmental Media Association announced the nominees for its 24th annual Environmental Media Awards, and multiple Fox productions appeared on the list.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey received a nomination in the Reality Television category for its episode on climate change. FOX's New Girl and 20th Century Fox Television's Modern Family will compete in the Television Comedy category, and Rio 2 received a nomination in the Feature Length Film category.
"It's exciting and inspiring to see the evolution of how media has expanded and that our creative voices are more powerful than ever," said EMA president Debbie Levin. "With so much content available, the ability to motivate globally through our medium is immediate and our most valuable tool."
The EMA Awards honor film and television that convey environmental messages in creative ways, and this year's ceremony will take place on October 18th at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California.
Several Fox productions have won EMAs in the past, including The X-Files, Bones, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and The Simpsons.
For more information on the EMAs and for the full list of nominees, visit EMA-Online.org, and for a clip of Cosmos' climate change episode, click the video below.