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Science Programs Explode On TV Screens

Drop in front of the TV, and it's likely you'll find lots of sharks, mummies, tornadoes, and black holes. Never, it seems, have there been more science shows.

"There's been a huge explosion in the past five to 10 years," said Sherry Lassiter, a veteran science journalist.

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Popularity has brought change. Stolid Mr. Wizard has become rock 'n' droll Bill Nye the Science Guy. Geeks in lab coats with test tubes have mostly vanished. Researchers climb Everest, excavate mummies, and dive to the wreck of the Titanic.

Maybe it's simply dawning on television executives that they can draw audiences by appealing to people's curiosity.

"I think people have always been more interested in science," says Ira Flatow of National Public Radio's "Science Fridays" talk show. "The problem has been getting through the gatekeepers, the people who control what goes on television."

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