KOKH Promo During 'Cosmos' Sparks Culture War

Several days after science special Cosmos debuted on Fox, KOKH in Oklahoma City is making national headlines because a news promo ran in place of Cosmos, covering up host Neil deGrasse Tyson's 20-second explanation of humans evolving from animals.

KOKH took to Twitter to apologize for an "operator error": "Sunday, during @COSMOSonTV, a local news promo was aired over a portion of COSMOS content. This was an operator error & we regret the error."

KOKH is part of Sinclair, which may be fueling the firestorm that has erupted. 

The Los Angeles Times, Huffington PostNew York Daily News and Salon.com, among many others, have reported on KOKH and Cosmos. The Wrap has video of the Fox 25 promo popping up in the middle of the network telecast.

The Los Angeles Times takes a measured approach:

"Some outlets have characterized the omitted section as the 'only' reference to evolution in the episode, but this is not exactly the case. While it is the only instance in which Tyson specifically referred to humans developing from other forms of life, the premiere episode also included the introduction of the Cosmic Calendar, which condenses the 13.8-billion lifespan of the universe into a single year in which modern humans evolved only in the last hours of Dec. 31."

KOKH GM John Rossi was in a meeting and not available for comment when I called.

Presented by Fox and National Geographic, and produced by Seth MacFarlane, Cosmos airs Sunday, March 16.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.