Washington, DC – National Geographic Channel and Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) announced on July 7 that Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, from executive producer/writer/director Ann Druyan and executive producer Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) and hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, has reached a massive audience of 135 million viewers worldwide, including the U.S., across its 13-episode run. Internationally, the series attracted 90 million viewers on National Geographic Channel, while in the U.S., Cosmos reached more than 45 million viewers on FOX and National Geographic Channel. The series received an unprecedented rollout, premiering on all 90 National Geographic Channels in 180 countries, as well as 120 FOX-branded channels in 125 countries, making this the largest global launch ever for a television series. Additionally, in the first-ever multi-network launch for Fox Networks Group, Cosmos debuted simultaneously across multiple U.S. Fox networks including Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), National Geographic Channel, FX, FXX, FXM, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo Mundo and FOX Life.
Tying together a unified scheduling approach — with regions airing the premiere episode within one week of its debut on FOX and NGC in the U.S. — alongside a comprehensive communications, marketing and digital strategy, catapulted Cosmos to become the most-watched series ever. This well-orchestrated campaign translated into major ratings traction across Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. The series has performed far above average in many of National Geographic Channel’s international territories, seeing triple-digit increases against primetime or total day average in Australia, Colombia, Croatia, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the U.K.
In the U.S., Cosmos ranked among the Top 20 unscripted series — out of more than 500 — among Adults 18-49 in its first season. The series, which delivered an affluent and upscale audience in the U.S., averaged a total audience of more than nine million per week across live and time-shifted viewing platforms.
“Cosmos has been a phenomenal ride for NGCI, establishing a new zeitgeist in television 30 years after the original series premiered. It has awakened global audiences to the wonders of the universe — and their own innate curiosity — in an inspiring way,” said Ward Platt, Chief Executive Officer of National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) and Chief Operating Officer of Fox International Channels (FIC).
NGCI has also seen significant growth in social media during the three-month run of Cosmos. The network’s overall Facebook presence grew 14 percent in March, the month that COSMOS premiered. It has sustained this momentum throughout the series’ run, growing an additional 15 percent and 14 percent in April and May, respectively — tremendous gains month over month. In India, Southeast Asia and Korea, National Geographic Channel’s Facebook pages doubled their fan bases from March through May.
“Cosmos serves as a fantastic benchmark — illustrating the power of a fully integrated strategic vision, awe-inspiring content and the strengths of the FOX and National Geographic brands to create an outstanding viewing experience for audiences that repeats week after week,” said Liz Dolan, Chief Marketing Officer of FIC and NGCI.
Cosmos was supported by an extensive global marketing and publicity campaign, including a significant on-air campaign created by the FOX U.S. creative team, adapted by FIC into 44 languages, plus major off-air advertising. Marketing teams in every participating country localised advertising and marketing materials, as well as launched custom promotions to ensure the campaign resonated with local viewers. Druyan and Tyson travelled on a global, four-continent promotional tour to London, Singapore, Sydney and Mexico City, participating in VIP screenings, press conferences and special events in every market.
The series has earned critical acclaim across the globe; it was the recent recipient of two Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Reality Series and Best Reality Host for Tyson. As with the legendary original series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, the new Cosmos is the saga of how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. The series brings to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge, transporting viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest — and the smallest — scale.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is produced by Cosmos Studios, the Ithaca, NY-based company Ann Druyan co-founded in 2000, and Fuzzy Door Productions, MacFarlane’s company. Druyan and Steven Soter are the series’ writers. Druyan, MacFarlane, Cosmos Studios President Mitchell Cannold and Brannon Braga (theStar Trek franchise, 24) executive-produce the series. Jason Clark (Ted, 42) co-executive produces.