Once described by a critic as a "scientific Robert Redford," Carl Sagan codeveloped and hosted the hit show "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage," a 13-part series that originally aired in 1980 on PBS. For 10 years, it was the channel's most-watched show in the U.S. until "The Civil War."
"Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" was a perfect blend of science and simplicity. It showcased Sagan's ability to explain complex principles in a way that viewers could easily understand. Sagan had envisioned a scientific series that harnessed TV's visual power, and with an $8 million production budget to power an array of special effects, he soon had viewers zipping through the universe on a virtual spaceship [source: Kiger]. The series won three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Hugo Award and a Peabody Award in 1981 [source: IMDB].
The show won over millions of viewers, too. Thanks to 500 million fans tuning in from 60 different countries, "Cosmos" still reigns as the world's most-watched series from American public television [source: Kiger].