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Science Channel and Overbrook Entertainment Announce New Production Deal


(Silver Spring, Md., and Los Angeles, Ca.) Today, Overbrook Entertainment and Science Channel announced a partnership to produce an innovative, new two-hour television event, Young Scientist Challenge. With a scheduled debut on January 18, 2009, this marks Overbrook Entertainment’s first foray into non-fiction television. Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Will Smith, and Ken Stovitz will serve as executive producers.

The program will showcase the nervous energy, joy and drama inherent in the ultimate science competition - the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Cheered on by their friends and family, middle school students from around the country compete to be named the best-of-the-best. The contestants were chosen from thousands of nationwide entries, and this fall the top 10 finalists converged on NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington, D.C. for an unparalleled battle of brains and innovation in this unique science championship.

“We are enthusiastic about working with the Science Channel and believe in the Young Scientist Challenge,” said Overbrook Entertainment partner Ken Stovitz. “We enjoy the opportunity to get kids excited about learning.”

“When Discovery Communications started this competition ten years ago, we wanted to inspire middle school students to continue their passion for science at a time when kids usually lose interest,” said Clark Bunting, president and general manager, Discovery Emerging Networks. “James, Will and Ken are incredible storytellers and we could not ask for better, more engaged partners to help us create an entertaining special that puts these kids in the spotlight they so richly deserve.”

In celebration of NASA’s 50th Anniversary, the 2008 competition theme is The Science of Space, and contestants will be judged on communications skills, knowledge, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. Judges determine the winner through fun mini-competitions, including: large-scale, hands-on experiments; fast-paced quizzes; thoughtful and engaging presentations of difficult scientific concepts; and an innovation challenge where participants must create something unique out of the “ingredients” provided. At stake is the top prize - a $50,000 savings bond - and once-in-a-lifetime experiential prize trips for the runners-up.

For the first time, the program will begin with the students in their home towns, as they hear the exciting news that they’ve been chosen to go to Washington, D.C. From that point, they are on a whirlwind adventure, flying to Washington to meet their competitors, making new friends with students who are equally excited about all things science and teaming with real NASA scientists at a working space center. Viewers will be with the kids every step of the way, from high-anxiety departures from home to the triumphant team successes and both disappointing and thrilling personal finishes inherent in the battle to be named America’s Top Young Scientist.


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