Bill Nye co-hosting The 2014 White House Science Fair livestream
Bill Nye -- known to most as "The Science Guy" -- doesn't get paid for his regular appearances at The White House. "I have to pay my own way here!" he says. "I just support it. Generally, the kids are happy to see me and that's good!" Nye was one of the hundreds of guests attending the first White House Maker Faire yesterday morning; he's appeared previously at the annual White House Science Fair and other STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) events. When we caught up with him, he was carefully framing a selfie with a young maker so that George Healy's portrait of Abraham Lincoln ended up in the shot.
Having grown up with Nye's excellent show Bill Nye The Science Guy, we immediately asked what happened to the planned reboot he once teased:
"People talk about it all the time; I'm going to a meeting tomorrow. We'll see if that works out."
That is not what we expected to hear. Back in 2012, Nye said on Reddit that he would consider new episodes, but "it would have to be with the right producers, and it would have to be a less unfavorable contract." When asked if he might do it on YouTube or some such, he was coy. "Stay tuned," he wrote, with a wink symbol.
We put similar questions to him yesterday: How about a Reading Rainbow approach, with Kickstarter? The LeVar Burton-hosted show is coming back after tremendous support from fans on Kickstarter last month.
"I can make a new show. I own the rights to 'Bill Nye the Science Guy,'" Nye told us. But does it make sense now, in the age of ASAP Science, CGP Grey and other YouTube greats? "It's hard to ... that was a special time," he said. "Now there are millions, just literally millions of competitors. Certainly tens of thousands." Nye's even appeared on those internet shows. "I love IFLS [I Fucking Love Science]! IFLS! I've got T-shirts!" he said -- so he's not against changing up the formula. "It's just a different time."
As for his battle with creationists, he told us the debates are off. At least for now. "I'm not gonna debate that guy again. He's zero for one as far as I'm concerned," Nye said, in reference to his debate with author Ken Ham. His next step is a book being published this fall: Bill Nye's Evolution: The Science of Creation. Unlike his classic show, the book is aimed squarely at adults, though he said it's not as complex as a Richard Dawkins book on evolution.
Characteristic of Nye's charm, he put it this way: "This book is for grown-ups, not kids. Grown-ups don't know much about evolution."