On November 22, 1977, the First episode of KCET's "The Cousteau Odyssey" documentary series premiered, which chronicled the underwater explorations of Jacques Cousteau and the crew of his exploring ship, the Calypso.
Explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, and author Jacques Cousteau was already a household name in the U.S., with his series, "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" having aired from 1966 to 1976 on the ABC and NBC networks, and on Metromedia affiliated stations.
KCET Programming Director Chuck Allen approached The Cousteau Society to co-produce a new ocean exploration series over the course of three years, this time solving the mystery of what happened to the British naval hospital ship Britannic, which was sunk by an enemy torpedo during World War II.
The Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) agreed to fund the series with a $4 million grant. It was KCET's most-watched science program until "Cosmos" aired in 1980.