×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nat Geo Pulls Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘StarTalk’ Amid Misconduct Allegations (EXCLUSIVE)

National Geographic Channel has pulled its long-running Neil deGrasse Tyson chat show “StarTalk” off the air, at least for now, following allegations of sexual misconduct against the famed astrophysicist. “StarTalk” will remain on hiatus as a Fox Networks Group investigation into the multiple claims continues.

“In order to allow the investigation to occur unimpeded we chose to hold new episodes of ‘Star Talk’ until it is complete,” a Nat Geo rep told Variety. “We expect that to happen in the next few weeks at which time we’ll make a final decision.”

“StarTalk” returned for its fifth season in November and had aired just three episodes, out of a 20-episode order, when new allegations against Tyson emerged. The website Patheos reported that two women had accused Tyson of inappropriate behavior: Bucknell University’s Dr. Katelyn N. Allers claimed Tyson groped her at an event in 2009, while a former assistant, Ashley Watson, said Tyson made repeated inappropriate sexual advances toward her.

This wasn’t the first time Tyson had been accused of misconduct; musician Tchiya Amet has claimed that Tyson raped her when they were both graduate students in the 1980s.

“Star Talk” was scheduled to air original episodes through December and up until now, but hasn’t been seen on Nat Geo since November 26. The StarTalk page on Nat Geo’s website features the first three episodes of Season 5, but makes no mention of the show’s current hiatus.

The timing of the allegations put Nat Geo in a tough position. Not only had it just promoted the return of “StarTalk,” but its much-anticipated 13-episode series “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” the latest edition of the “Cosmos” revival hosted by Tyson, is set to premiere on March 4.

“Cosmos: Possible Worlds” will also air on the Fox network, premiering on March 3, the night before its Nat Geo launch. With just two months before air, it would be virtually impossible for Fox and Nat Geo to replace Tyson on “Cosmos.” Not only does he narrate the series, but he’s incorporated on-camera throughout the show. Nat Geo has touted the fact that “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” will air as a global event on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages, making it an important centerpiece for the network. Should Fox and Nat Geo opt to part ways with Tyson, it would require time and effort to recut the show with a new host (such as, say, executive producer Seth MacFarlane).

Late last year, after the latest allegations, Fox and Nat Geo released a joint statement: “We have only just become aware of the recent allegations regarding Neil deGrasse Tyson. We take these matters very seriously and we are reviewing the recent reports.” The show’s producers, which include Ann Druyan’s Cosmos Studios and MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door Productions, said in a statement last month that they “are committed to a thorough investigation of this matter and to act accordingly as soon as it is concluded.”

For his part, Tyson denied the allegations in a Facebook post, and said he welcomed an investigation: “In any claim, evidence matters. Evidence always matters. But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgment on who is more credible than whom. And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth – and would have my full cooperation to do so.”

Since then, Tyson has canceled several talks he had planned to give this month in Orlando, Jacksonville, and Boca Raton, Fla.

The “Star Talk” episodes that have already run featured guests including the late Anthony Bourdain, comedian Joe Rogan, and “The Big Bang Theory” star Simon Helberg. Episodes in the can and waiting to air include guests George R.R. Martin, former Vice President Al Gore, Weird Al Yankovic, Bill Nye, Dan Rather, Jeff Goldblum, Jack Black, James Marsden and Anna Deavere Smith.

More TV

  • Kasi LemmonsNew York Women in Film

    Kasi Lemmons, Jane Rosenthal, Ann Dowd Talk Golden Globes Female Director Snub

    The absence of women among director nominees for the Golden Globes is another example of how much work remains to be done to achieve gender parity in the entertainment industry, honorees said Tuesday night at the 40th annual Muse Awards presented by New York Women in Film and Television. “Harriet” director Kasi Lemmons, “The Irishman” [...]

  • The Flash -- "Crisis on Infinite

    'Crisis on Infinite Earths' Recap: A Rewritten Destiny Brings Another Superhero Death

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three,” “The Flash” episode of the 2019 “Arrowverse” crossover. Tuesday night was the official midpoint of the ambitious “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossovers, with an episode of “The Flash” that also marked the final episode of the year for the [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER tree identity ana

    'The Masked Singer' Reveals the Identity of the Tree

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead, if you have not watched the episode of “The Masked Singer,” which aired on Dec. 10 on Fox. “The Masked Singer” has sent home another character — and more importantly, has unmasked that contestant. On Tuesday’s episode, titled “A Pain in the Mask,” the tree was revealed to be [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER semi finals

    Everything to Know About 'The Masked Singer' Semi-Finals

    Television’s breakout reality show, “The Masked Singer,” wraps up its second season, unmasking a winner, next week — but first, the quirky competition show will celebrate the holidays. Teeing up the grand finale of the inarguable hit series, Fox is giving extra airtime to the show this week with a two-night event. Tuesday night, the [...]

  • daredevil Marvel Netflix

    Marvel to Shutter Television Division

    Marvel’s television division is officially winding down. Variety has learned that Marvel Television will no longer be developing any new series beyond the shows that are currently in production. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Marvel will eliminate a number of positions in the near future as a result of the cessation [...]

  • Kaya Scodelario

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Spinning Out' With 'Skins' Star Kaya Scodelario Gets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix reveals the premiere date for “Spinning Out,” and USA reveals a first look at Ethan Hawke’s return to “The Purge” universe.  DATES Netflix‘s “Spinning Out,“ starring “Skins’s” Kaya Scodelario and from showrunners Lara Olsen (“Reign”) and Samantha Stratton, premieres Jan. 1. The series follows Scodelario’s Kat, a high-level figure skater [...]

  • Philip MckeonPhilip Mckeon

    'Alice' Child Star Philip McKeon Dies at 55

    Philip McKeon, known for playing the son of Linda Lavin’s titular character in the classic CBS sitcom “Alice,” has died. He was 55. The actor died Tuesday morning in Texas following a longtime illness, family spokesman Jeff Ballard confirmed to Variety. “We are all beyond heartbroken and devasted over Phil’s passing,” said Ballard. “His wonderful [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content