Seth MacFarlane is going where the creator of Fox's "The Family Guy," at least, has never gone before.
Into Carl Sagan territory.
He's producing "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey," a 13-part documentary series on which he's working with the late Sagan's original "Cosmos" collaborators, his widow, writer/producer Ann Druyan, and astrophysicist Steven Soter.
"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 prepared statement released Friday.
The series, scheduled to air in 2013 on Fox, with same-night encores on National Geographic Channel, will be hosted by TV's best-known astrophysicist, "Nova scienceNow" host Neil deGrasse Tyson.
"I wish I could tell Carl what Seth's leadership on this new 'Cosmos' has made possible," Druyan said. "Besides I know how much they would have liked each other."
Asked about the series Friday, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly acknowledged that it's not an obvious project for the network, but said he thought it was an exciting idea.
Since the announcement, "I've had more people come up to me and say, 'I love that show,'" Reilly said. "People say, "it made me want to study science.'"
Not that he's expecting "American Idol" ratings.
"This show is not going to be Thursdays at 9 o'clock," he said. "Will it be our biggest success? Probably not...but I think it could have a real cultural impact."