Seth MacFarlane to Produce Sequel to Carl Sagan's ‘Cosmos’

The 13-episode Fox documentary miniseries, set for a primetime debut in 2013, is a departure for the “Family Guy” creator

In the vast expanse of the TV universe, there would seem to be billions and billions of popular series from the past more appropriate for "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane to take on than Carl Sagan's landmark scientific program "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage." In fact, MacFarlane has already found what feels like a nice fit with the upcoming "Flintstones" reboot he's putting together for Fox.

But Fox announced Friday that MacFarlane has teamed up with Sagan's closest collaborators — his widow, Anne Druyan, and astrophysicist Steven Soter — to produce "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey," a 13-part sequel to the Emmy-winning 1980 PBS docu-series — pretty much billions and billions of light years away from what you might expect the guy who conceived of little Stewie to tackle next.

“Never more than at this moment in the modern era have we needed a profound reminder of the colossally important and exciting role that science, space exploration and the human quest for knowledge must continue to play in our development as a species,” said MacFarlane in a statement. “We should be vigorously exploring the solar system by now, and who better to inspire us to get there than Ann Druyan, Steven Soter, Neil deGrasse Tyson and, of course, Carl Sagan."

Added Fox president of entertainment Kevin Reilly, "“This is a golden opportunity to introduce 'Cosmos' to a new generation. While admittedly on the periphery of our brand, we believe this can have the same massive cultural impact that the original series delivered, and we’re going to use all of our resources — on-air and company-wide — to help bring that to fruition.”

"Cosmos: A Personal Journey," which will be produced in conjunction with National Geographic Channel, is planned for a 2013 debut and will air on primetime in 13 parts, just like Sagan's 1980 PBS series. It will be hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the renowned astrophysicist, who we hope will use the expression "billions and billions" as memorably as Sagan did in "Cosmos."