15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Never Knew About Bill Nye The Science Guy
Bill Nye the Science Guy was everyone’s favorite show back in the day, usually because science teachers would play an episode in class from time to time. While the show, and it’s star, might seem greater than ever, nothing is ever as it truly seems.
Bill Nye was once a scientist, however, he then became a comedian. After that, he formed the two together and created his persona: Bill Nye the Science Guy. His persona also became the title of his very own children’s show. It premiered on PBS in the early ’90s, though it was an affiliate of Disney. The show concluded in the spring of 1999.
The show has won almost twenty Daytime Emmys. Everyone seemed to love the show’s sketch comedy style, especially since it was educational at the exact same time. Once Bill Nye the Science Guy ended, Nye continued to do both comedy and science. He now has another show, Bill Nye Saves the World, streaming on Netflix.
While everything might have seemed fine and dandy on screen, behind the scenes tells a different story. Here are the 15 Dark Secrets You Never Knew About Bill Nye The Science Guy.
15. BILL NYE WAS TURNED DOWN BY NASA
Bill Nye tried going down the regular scientist route, but it didn’t really end up working out for him. He received his degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell and went to work for the Boeing Corporation shortly after. He applied to work for NASA every few years, but they always came back saying he wasn’t good enough for their programs.
After that, Bill Nye decided he wanted to be a comedian instead and ended up progressing more in that field than in the engineering field. He would do comedy gigs and then he would eventually land an opportunity to write and star in a sketch comedy show called Almost Live! in Seattle. After that, he was given the name Bill Nye the Science Guy, and the rest is history.
This is why so many people criticize Bill Nye– they don’t think that he’s a real scientist. Specifically, former vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, took issue with Nye due to his perspective on climate change, calling herself “just as much a scientist” as him.
14. BILL NYE’S CLAIM TO FAME STARTED WHEN HE WON A STEVE MARTIN LOOKALIKE CONTEST
All Bill Nye wanted was to be taken seriously. Whether he was to be a scientist or a comedian, he wanted people to know he was for real. However, everyone has to start somewhere.
After college, Nye won a Steve Martin lookalike contest. Thereafter, he started “acting like” Martin at parties. This is how Nye first got a taste of the comedy business: he liked making people happy by pretending to be Steve Martin.
Nye has obviously come a long way since then. He combined two of his favorite things and created Bill Nye the Science Guy. He’s still on pace to encourage those with interest to become more involved with science and to learn more about what science has to offer.
While his start might not have been the prettiest or the smoothest, he’s certainly come a long way.
13. BILL NYE IS IN A 37 MILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT WITH DISNEY
This past August, Bill Nye sued Disney for $37 million due to a royalties issue. Nye claims that Disney held onto $9 million in profits that was rightfully his. The lawsuit is also calling forward the distributors of the show: Buena Vista and ABC.
According to a spokesman for Buena Vista, the “lawsuit is a publicity ploy” and they “look forward to vigorously defending it.” Essentially, Disney and the gang claim that Bill Nye is only suing them for attention. Nye, however, claims that he is doing it because Disney held onto profits that belong to him.
While Bill Nye was on PBS, Disney was the one running the show. Since the show is in syndication, he still revives royalties. Nye claims that the royalties stopped coming. He blames “bad bookeeping” and says he only wants what is fair. Hopefully there will be a resolution soon.
12. THERE WERE FALSE RUMORS THAT THE SHOW WAS CANCELLED DUE TO AN EVOLUTION EPISODE
Bill Nye has always been a strong supporter of evolution, but when his show ended in 1999, many believed it was cancelled after an episode debunking creationism. Rumors started to swirl that the show had ended because so many people were against him.
However, this is not true. The evolution episode is actually from season 3 and it was not the reason why Bill Nye the Science Guy ended. The show actually ended on the hundredth episode and it wasn’t about evolution– it was about motion.
Each season of the show consisted of twenty episodes, including the last and final season, just as planned. While rumors might have swirled around that Bill Nye was told to quit his show after pushing evolution onto children, the end came much more naturally for him.
Bill Nye might have moved on from his show, but he still kept up his Bill Nye the Science Guy persona elsewhere.
11. AN EPISODE THAT DISCUSES GENDER WAS NOTICEABLY EDITED DURING NETFLIX STREAMING
A previous episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy claimed that there are only two genders. Having been filmed twenty plus years ago, science has evolved since then. Therefore, the episode was edited. Although, many blamed Netflix for doing it after the show premiered on the streaming service, the edit actually happened in 2007.
Disney’s Buena Vista, which distributes the show, edited the show after the science behind gender began to change. The show received major backlash after many fans watching Netflix noticed the difference. While rumors began developing that Bill Nye and Netflix had changed the episode for some political agenda, this wasn’t the case.
The episode explained chromosomes, and the show originally stated only XX and XY. However, Nye said he didn’t have the knowledge back then that he does now, stating there are “more combinations in real life.” He defends the decision whole-heatedly.
10. BILL NYE WAS RUMORED TO BE DEAD
Everyone should know that The Onion isn’t a good resource for news. Sadly, not everyone realizes that they focus on satires. So, when The Onion posted an article in 2000, two years after the show had ended, stating that Billy Nye the Science Guy was dead, a lot of people believed it.
The article claimed that Bill Nye was killed per a giant “vinegar/baking-soda explosion.” It continued on to explain that a spokesman for the “Nye Lab” had this to say: “Bill Nye was a man who, more than anything else, wanted to enlighten, entertain, and demonstrate how vinegar and baking soda combine to create carbon-dioxide gas.” Obviously, this doesn’t sound like real news. However, plenty of people believed it.
After The Onion posted the article, Nye had to let everyone know that he, in fact, was not dead. There have been plenty of celebrity death hoaxes throughout recent history, so it’s not too surprising that one would revolve around America’s favorite scientist.
9. ONE OF THE SONGS CREATED FOR THE SHOW IS BASED OFF OF A SCANDALOUS SALT-N-PEPA SONG
Both Bill Nye the Science Guy and Bill Nye the person were known for being wacky. Part of that came from the songs the show would create that were usually science versions of already-popular songs.
Examples of this include “R.E.C.Y.C.L.E.” (based off of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”), “Fossil Man” (based off of Elton John’s “Rocket Man”), and “Drip It” (based off of Devo’s “Whip It”).
While the songs always had something to do with the episode itself, kids started to catch on that they were actually based off of real songs. Kids wanted to know about where the parody songs were coming from. Unfortunately, this became a scandal after the season 1 song “Let’s Talk About Stress” was found to be based on Salt-n-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
While Bill Nye’s songs were harmless, he was willing to take a big chance in order to make these songs work for the show.
8. BILL NYE’S FORMER SIGNIFICANT OTHER POURED TOXIC LIQUID ON HIS GARDEN
Bill Nye is known for being a bachelor. However, he once was in a romantic relationship with Blair Tindall. In fact, the two were married… kind of.
You might recognize Blair Tindall as a musician who has worked on the critically acclaimed Amazon television show, Mozart in the Jungle. Back in the day, though, she was known for pouring a “toxic liquid” on Bill Nye’s roses, which lead him to take her to court.
Nye and Tindall ended up “marrying” in 2006, though the state of California never acknowledge that their marriage license was legal. So, the two decided that that was a sign and decided not to make it official. The wedding had been spontaneous and the couple, specifically Nye, had some doubts.
Tindall and Nye had some issues thereafter. There was a lot of fighting. When asked about why she poured toxic liquid over Nye’s garden, Tindall said: “I became very angry, and could only think of destroying the rose garden, so he couldn’t give another woman the roses which I had cared for.”
Needless to say, Bill Nye was granted a restraining order against his former kind-of ex-wife.
7. DISNEY DOESN’T WANT TO AIR RERUNS OF THE SHOW
Tensions between Bill Nye and Disney are now at an all-time high. With Bill Nye suing Disney for millions beyond millions of dollars, it’s easy to say that things aren’t going to great right now between the two parties.
While Disney owned Bill Nye’s show, Bill Nye the Science Guy, the show never premiered on Disney. Instead, it was given to PBS and the show ran there. It was much more fitting for PBS which tends to be more focused on education than other children’s networks.
Sadly, Bill Nye never earned the respect that he deserved from Disney. While the company continued to back his show, it never chose to put it in the limelight.
It wasn’t until Bill Nye the Science Guy became nostalgic years later that it thought it needed to do something about it. This is why, around 2008 or so, the show started being syndicated.
6. BILL NYE HAS BEEN BOOED OFFSTAGE
In 2009, Bill Nye was invited to speak to a group in Waco, Texas. During his lecture, he was booed and criticized so much that the lecture began to crumble.
People started walking out and everything became a mess. The reason why he was being booed? He told the audience that the moon reflects the light of the sun, contrary to people believing that the moon produces its own light.
The conversation started when Nye brought up a verse in the bible, Genesis 1:16, that claims “God made two great lights,” speaking of the sun and the moon. Billy Nye wasn’t really into that, so he explained that the moon doesn’t have its own light.
Waco isn’t necessarily known for being progressive, but Bill Nye is. So, while he didn’t think anything of it, the entire audience was up in arms about it. They booed him for “disgracing” the bible and left his lecture up in arms.
5. BILL NYE WANTS TO CHANGE NASCAR
NASCAR and energy efficient cars are basically oil and water– the two just don’t go together. Or, maybe they do… at least, according to Bill Nye.
Bill Nye has recently come out with the idea that NASCAR should no longer use their current vehicles and instead change to energy efficient race cars instead. The use of electric engines would change NASCAR, some think for better, while others think for worse.
To say that Nye received backlash on this would be an understatement. After claiming that he wanted to change the sport name to NESCAR (National Electric Stock Car Racing), many people had had enough.
Fans were outraged by the idea. However, NASCAR’s Managing Director of Green Innovation loved the idea. He said it was something that they were certainly going to look into, so be prepared for some NASCAR changes thanks to Bill Nye the Science Guy.
4. PEOPLE OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA THINK THE SHOW IS BORING
While everyone in North America might be on board with Bill Nye the Science Guy, other countries don’t get it. Other countries see the show as extremely boring and in no way interesting. The same people call his new show, Bill Nye Saves the World, boring as well.
So, why does North America love Bill Nye so much while everyone else thinks he’s lame? It’s because Bill Nye’s show is specific to North America. The education system in North America, especially in the United States, is lackluster at best when compared to other countries, such as England and China. It takes more to get kids interested due to how the schooling system in the US treats kids.
Thus Bill Nye made science fun. That being said, other countries think he’s kind of a dork and don’t get why anyone would need or want a kid’s comedy show revolving around science.
It’s a cultural difference that shows that kids from different countries not only differ when it comes to their entertainment choices, but the entire educational system is extremely different too.
3. BILL NYE REFUSED TO LISTEN TO DOCTORS WHEN THEY TOLD HIM HE SHOULDN’T PERFORM ON DANCING WITH THE STARS
For a guy who believes strongly in science, Bill Nye tried going against it when he performed on Dancing with the Stars. Doctors told Nye that he had torn a ligament and that he shouldn’t dance, as it would be a danger to his health. He, of course, didn’t listen.
Bill Nye ended up doing a robot style dance to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” back in 2013 during season 17 of the show. Other contestants on that season included Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, Keyshawn Johnson, and Leah Remini. Bill Nye was eliminated very early in comparison to the rest of the contestants that year.
A lot of people didn’t understand why Bill Nye was even on the show. He just didn’t seem to fit. The people who like Bill Nye aren’t necessarily the same people who watch Dancing with the Stars, so he didn’t really have a whole lot of people pulling for him. Plus, he couldn’t really dance.
2. BILL NYE AND FOX NEWS HOST TUCKER CARLSON HAD AN ARGUMENT ON LIVE TV
Bill Nye went viral once again after agreeing to take part of a Fox News segment opposite anchor Tucker Carlson. This was purposley done to start drama, as Bill Nye isn’t really the face of conservative news, to say the least.
The two ended up discussing climate change. Nye is known as being a major climate change believer since he has full faith in science. Carlson, on the other hand, is a major doubter. The two debated the issue, with Bill Nye insisting that it’s stupid to debate a fact. The whole thing led to Carlson absolutley losing it and stating that Nye was “not a scientist.”
Bill Nye claims that Carlson is basically crazy and tried to undermine him for the sake of his own agenda, telling Vulture: “All I did was physics for years! Did he take courses in heat transfer and thermodynamics and fluid mechanics? I did!” Needless to say, the two aren’t on friendly terms.
1. THERE ARE MANY PETITIONS TO REMOVE THE SHOW FROM STREAMING SERVICES
Not everyone is pleased with Bill Nye the Science Guy. The show, while pleasing many science teachers and students alike, isn’t a fan favorite with some. Most people who take issue with Bill Nye’s show have issues with it being too straightforward when it comes to science.
Some people believe that Bill Nye is a brainwasher and that he tries to convince kids to believe things that their parents don’t want them believing. Beyond that, though, Nye just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Every since his new Netflix show came out, along with reruns of Bill Nye the Science Guy, Nye has received a lot of backlash.
This hasn’t been enough to stop Nye’s progress, however. His new show, Bill Nye Saves the World, has been renewed for season 2. His reruns are also reaching more kids and adults than ever before.