Fed by Blue's docuseries 'Hope in the Water' premieres

The three-episode documentary series highlighting the stories of innovators, fish farmers, and fishermen working for a sustainable future for the planet kicks off on PBS.
Actress and activist, Shailene Woodley participating in Fed by Blue's docuseries 'Hope in the Water'.

Actress and activist, Shailene Woodley has witnessed firsthand how "zombie" purple urchins have invaded and destroyed the kelp forests off the California coast where she grew up surfing, and she tells the story in the first episode of 'Hope in the Water'.

Photo: Fed by Blue LinkedIn page.

Today is the day. After just over two years since we first heard about the Fed by Blue-powered docuseries, which aimed to educate consumers about seafood and how it can help restore our world's oceans, and after several days of 'blue carpet' previews and presentations, 'Hope in the Water' finally premieres today on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in the United States.

The groundbreaking, three-part character-driven docuseries, from four-time James Beard and Emmy Award-winning chef Andrew Zimmern and his production company Intuitive Content in collaboration with multi-award-winning producer and storytelling visionary David E. Kelley, highlights the stories of innovators, fish farmers, and fishermen working toward a sustainable future for the planet.

Behind it all, the initial promoters of the idea were Fed by Blue co-founders Jill Kauffman Johnson, Jennifer Bushman, and Katherine Bryar. As the latter explained to us in her TalentView, they wanted to bring the whole blue foods movement together, showcase the variety of initiatives happening, and the vital role that seafood plays in our society today and can play tomorrow.

"We were kind of sick of all the doom scrolling. Everything is evil, everything's bad, the planet's going to die… and we thought it was time for some hope," she told WeAreAquaculture. This may be the reason why the series, originally titled 'Eating Up the Oceans: How Do We Save Our Seas?', was eventually renamed 'Hope in the Water'.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The full 'Hope in the Water' team.</p></div>

The entire "Hope in the Water" team, including David E. Kelley, Sharlene Woodley and Andrew Zimmern (center), plus co-founders Jill Kauffman Johnson (far left), Jennifer Bushman and Katherine Bryar (both right).

Photo: Fed by Blue.

Powerful voices to reach broad audiences

To convey that hope, David E. Kelley, Intuitive Content, Fed by Blue, and PBS have enlisted the help of environmental enthusiasts such as actress Shailene Woodley, entrepreneur, author and television host Martha Stewart, chef José Andrés, and comedian, writer, and cultural critic Baratunde Thurston.

Each reveals hidden underworlds threatened by climate change, irresponsible fishing and exploitation, and habitat destruction. Even more, each is authentically tied to a specific story, in search of intelligent solutions for a planet in peril.

"Through 'Hope in the Water' we are on a mission to reimagine a planet where both ecological balance and food abundance are possible. Our series is a fresh take on how we can rewrite menus worldwide that will create meaningful and lasting impact for generations to come. Andrew and I are buoyed by our enthusiastic collaborators – Shailene, Martha, Baratunde and José – and are proud to partner with the Earth-conscious changemakers at PBS."

Executive consultant David E. Kelley - who, in addition to his television career, is the founder of Riverence, North America's largest rainbow and rainbow trout breeder - explained Fed by Blue's project this way when PBS introduced the series last November.

"We’re particularly excited about 'Hope in the Water's potential to reach broad audiences thanks to the powerful voices at the forefront of the series, who demonstrate the possibilities of a more sustainable future," said for his part Bill Gardner, vice president, multiplatform programming and head of development at PBS.

"With a commitment to extensive public engagement around the series, we aim to not only bring compelling and authentic documentary content to audiences but also to connect and strengthen voices, people and communities with real world ways to make a difference," he added.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Behind-the-scenes scene from the docuseries 'Hope in the Water'.</p></div>

"Like all projects born of passion, #HopeInTheWaterPBS has been YEARS in the making," Fed by Blue said on its LinkedIn page in announcing the premiere of the docuseries.

Photo: Fed by Blue LinkedIn page.

A docuseries vetted by science

Fed by Blue's mission is to provide and inspire visionaries, thought leaders, ocean lovers, activists, early adopters, food enthusiasts, and consumers with the knowledge and materials to help protect and participate in a responsible blue food system.

As one of its co-founders, Jennifer Bushman said in November, "Fed by Blue is working to amplify efforts that are bringing new pathways, new dialogue and new perceptions about the importance of foods that come from water. Helping to develop a docuseries on this topic has been an anchor for our greater work." The choice of PBS as the channel to premiere the docuseries is, therefore, no coincidence.

In conversation with WeAreAquaculture, Katherine Bryar explained that to change people's perception - a perception that may be deeply rooted -, you need not only evidence but also people who are willing to participate in that evidence. But, as she noted, those people don't necessarily want to hear that information from the industry, they want to hear it from someone classified as more credible.

"This is a reason why our documentary series will first come out on PBS," she told us. "It is coming to a target market who is engaged enough to want to learn something new. They want to hear the latest science, and they're going to believe in Stanford University, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and all of these organizations who've put their names behind these papers."

The papers she referred to are the 'Blue Food Assessment' and the UN 'High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy', compiled by 100’s scientists from all around the world, outlining the role of blue foods in our society. Every episode, every moment in 'Hope in the Water' docuseries, is vetted not just by PBS but also by Jim Leape at the 'Blue Food Assessment' for accuracy of information and alignment with the science.

When it all started, there was a casting call in which they expected to find 300 stories to make their selection, but more than 1,200 came in. The production company Intuitive Content reduced the number of stories to 300 proposals - the initial idea - and so on until the three-episode documentary series, with three stories per episode. If you are in the United States, you can watch it from today, Wednesday, June 19, 2024 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm. The rest of the world will have to wait a little longer. 

Related Stories

No stories found.