Julia Cort and Chris Schmidt to Serve as Co-Executive Producers
(Boston, MA May 22, 2019) -- Boston public media producer WGBH today announced the appointment of two accomplished NOVA senior producers to lead its acclaimed science series NOVA, seen nationally on PBS. Deputy Executive Producer Julia Cort and Senior Producer Chris Schmidt will become Co-Executive Producers of NOVA. They succeed Paula Apsell who recently retired after three decades leading the series.
“We are lucky to have two people who are so gifted, not just as filmmakers, but as science communicators, take the helm of the country’s most respected and most watched science series,” said John Bredar, Vice President of National Programming at WGBH. “Together they represent more than 50 years of science media expertise and their skill sets ideally complement and augment one another. I’m excited about the future of NOVA under their leadership.”
Julia Cort joined the production team at NOVA in 1991 and has served as the series Deputy Executive Producer since 2014. During her career, Cort has contributed to more than 100 programs, tackling everything from archeology to molecular biology to string theory. She has worked on many of NOVA’s highest profile programs, serving as Executive Producer on the six-part NOVA Wonders, the three-part series Making North America, and Addiction, about the American opioid crisis. Since 2017, Cort has played a key role overseeing NOVA’s expanding digital video production across multiple digital and social platforms. She has received numerous honors, including the AAAS Science Journalism Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, and the News and Documentary Emmy Award.
“NOVA is an amazing series with a hugely important mission - to engage and inspire people around science, one of the most powerful tools we have for understanding the world and improving the human condition,” said Cort. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Chris, John, and our partners at PBS to bring these incredible stories of discovery to an even wider, more diverse audience.”
Chris Schmidt has been associated with NOVA since 1999 when working as an independent filmmaker of ground-breaking documentary and narrative projects. Over the course of the next decade he wrote, directed and produced many films for NOVA, including the 2008 breakthrough mini-series Making Stuff, followed by Making Stuff 2 and the two-hour special, Hunting The Elements which is widely used in classrooms. Since joining NOVA full time in 2012 as Senior Producer, Schmidt has continued to develop, produce, write and executive produce dozens of hours of regular programming as well as quick turnaround films, mini-series and digital content. His films have been nominated for the News and Documentary Emmy Award, and he shared in a prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award.
“At NOVA we are so fortunate to collaborate with tremendously talented filmmakers to bring the most entertaining and important science stories to viewers in the U.S. and abroad,” said Schmidt. “I am so honored to join Julia and John in leading our incredibly dedicated staff as we work together to ensure the continued success of our series -- on the most trusted network in America–– into the future.
Cort and Schmidt’s joint vision for NOVA promises a more personal approach to story-telling, a multi-platform strategy to deliver those stories, and a continuing solid commitment to deep, credible reporting at a time when science has become so much more important for understanding the world.
Notes Bredar, “Julia has put a particular focus on featuring diversity both in front of and behind the camera to make science more accessible to historically underrepresented groups. And Chris is drawn to stories that celebrate discoveries that push the boundaries of science, creating essential films for general audiences and teachers alike. Given Chris’ and Julia’s remarkable track records and delightful obsession for science, there is a lot to be excited about in thinking about NOVA’s future.”
WGBH is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Pinkalicious & Peterrific and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major source of digital content and programs for public radio through PRI/PRX, including The World and Innovation Hub; a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content; and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. More info at www.wgbh.org.
Now in its 46th season, NOVA is the most-watched primetime science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. The series remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of hour-long (and occasionally longer) documentaries, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world. NOVA is a production of WGBH Boston. NOVA airs Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT on WGBH Boston and most PBS stations. National Corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS viewers.