11:10am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Morgan Freeman on Why We're All Bigots and the Purpose of Life
Morgan Freeman is going back Through the Wormhole.
Season six of his Science Channel series debuts at 10 p.m. ET/PT Wednesday with a new look and episodes centering on topics such as race, religion and our future as a species, with episodes bearing titles including "Do We Live in the Matrix?"; "Can Time Go Backwards?"; "Aliens Inside Us?"; and "Why Do We Lie?"
Regular viewers will notice that the show boasts a new set this season with interactive features; they also will have the ability to participate in the through what is being called a " 360-degree Wormhole experience." Leading scientists, who lend their voices and research to the show, will participate live through our website and social feed and join in the debate.
First up, on Wednesday night, is "Are We All Bigots?" Freeman, who hosts and executive produces the series through his Revelations Entertainment, argues that the answer to that question is "yes."
"It's human nature," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Otherwise, we wouldn't have wars and that kind of stuff that's gone on since the beginning of human existence." But, he argues, we can use that knowledge for the betterment of ourselves and society: "If we accept that … in fact we are all bigots, that we are hardwired to be biased, then we can accept that, 'OK, that's going to be the first thing in our brains, but the second thing in our brains can be our cautious efforts at acceptance.'"
The episode is timely given recent events and debates following incidents like the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Freddie Grey in Baltimore, Maryland, but the idea was already in the works prior to the August 2014 incident, say James Younger, executive vp factual productions at Revelations Entertainment, and Bernadette McDaid, vp production at Science Channel.
"Unfortunately, the tragedies over the last year and in recent weeks made this even more timely, but that's one of the strengths of Wormhole as a brand — to encourage people to look at things through a different lens … and dig deeper into the root cause [of issues] and hopefully have a positive [solution]," McDaid says. "We're hoping the [episode] will highlight subconscious biases and be the first step toward change."
Freeman says there is no shortage of subject matter for Wormhole. One of the episodes he sparked to was "Are We Here for a Reason?" (airing May 13).
"One of the programs I'm most impressed with this year is the question of, why are we here?" he says. "Scientists have looked into that — is there a reason for us being here — and this [episode] comes to the conclusion that yes, there is a reason. For all life, there is one purpose and one purpose only — to keep going."
Also new this season: opening montages in which Freeman plays multiple roles wherein he sets up the premise of that particular episode. Previously, the actor appeared only in the studio.
Freeman says he gets a lot of feedback from viewers about the show. "People are just fascinated by it, and the most gratifying part of that is that so many young people find the show interesting and entertaining — anywhere from 9 years old and on up."
Younger adds that teenagers also have sparked to the series. "One of the show's trademarks is that it challenges you to look at the world differently, and that is exactly what teenage kids do," he adds.
Says McDaid: "Our goal is not necessarily to find answers; our goal is to ask fascinating questions. … We're not necessarily telling you what to think, just telling you to think about it."
Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman is produced by Revelations Entertainment. Younger, Freeman and Lori McCreary are executive producers. McDaid and Rocky Collins are executive producers for Science Channel.