TCA press tour: Science’s ‘Challenger Disaster’ stars William Hurt

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Discovery’s Science Channel will premiere its first original scripted feature on Saturday, Nov. 16, when it airs “The Challenger Disaster,” starring Academy Award-winner William Hurt.

A trailer for the film was shown Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hurt plays U.S. physicist Richard Feynman, who worked tirelessly to discover what was behind the tragic space shuttle Challenger Disaster of 1986, which killed all seven of the craft’s crew members, including the teacher Christa McAuliffe.

In addition to Hurt, Science Channel has snagged another marquee name with actor James Woods in a new franchsie called “Futurescape,” which examines the ways man and machine blend (and will blend) together in modern (and future) times.


But the show that got the full-panel treatment at the TCAs was one called “The Unexplained Files,” which premieres on Wednesday, Aug. 28. It’s kind of like a real-life “X-Files” that explores a variety of mysterious phenomena that apparently have scientists stumped.

“We show point, counter-point and we embrace skepticism,” said executive producer Josh Berkley. “it’s very much an investigative journey throughout each episode of the series.”

According to Berkley, the series deals with “bizarre disappearances, mass sightings, unknown weird species of animals not quite yet recognized by science.”

He adds, “If we’re not bringing new voices or pieces of evidence to the table, then it didn’t make the series.”

Joining Berkley was George Simpson, an Australian who has been researching the 1978 disappearance of 20-year-old Frederick Valentich, who vanished while piloting a plane over Australia’s Bass Strait. Over the years Simpson has come to believe that Valentich was abducted by aliens.



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