TCA 17: Science Channel Taps NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino to Host ‘Great American Eclipse’ Special

Science Channel has named former astronaut Mike Messimino to host its live coverage of its Aug. 21 Great American Eclipse special, the network announced during its Television Critics Assocaition summer press tour session Wednesday.

Science Channel will begin live coverage of the first total eclipse spanning the continental United States Aug. 21 at 12 noon from Madras, Oregon and continue throughout the day from other locations around the eclipse’s path.

“Mike Massimino is a true hero of space exploration having risked his life to fix the Hubble Space Telescope,” said Marc Etkind, General Manager, Science Channell in a statement. “His dedication to furthering our understanding of the universe make him the perfect guide to take our viewers through the once-in-a-lifetime Great American Eclipse and to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in The Planets.”

The network will also air an eclipse preview special on Aug. 20, as well as a wrap-up special hosted by Massimino Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. 

Massimino will also host a new eight–episode series The Planets, premiering Aug. 22, which will take an in-depth look at Venus, Mars, the newly discovered Planet 9, Exoplanets and others, said the network.

Other announcements during the Discovery Communications TCA session include Animal Planet’s new series, Rescue Dog To Super Dog, in which shelter dogs are given a second chance to become a service dog in training to a person with a disability who needs assistance. The series premieres Aug. 12. 

In addition, Animal Planet will offer an extension of its Puppy Bowl coverage with a companion series The Dog Bowl, which will feature adoptable adult dogs. The show will lead up to the network’s premiere of Puppy Bowl next February, said network officials. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.