NOVA Show on Petra Featuring U of A Professor Scores PBS' Highest Ratings

Professor Tom Paradise, center in blue, on location at Petra, Jordan.

Professor Tom Paradise, center in blue, on location at Petra, Jordan.

The NOVA special Petra: Lost City of Stone was the highest rated show on PBS during the last season. The show features Tom Paradise, a professor of geosciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, who did scriptwork, graphics, on-air commentary and voice-over narration for the special.

Petra: Lost City of Stone was one episode in a three-part series about the ancient buildings of the world. The project was filmed and produced by Providence Pictures for NOVA, and Petra was featured along with the Roman Colosseum in Rome, Italy, and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.

Paradise, one of the lead researchers on the project, started as a consultant for the films on the Colosseum and Hagia Sophia before he was asked to contribute to the Petra film. Because Paradise has training in geology, architecture and geomatics, NOVA asked Paradise to oversee the design, re-creation, on-air commentary, script work, imagery and fact-checking, making him part of the project and TV special from beginning to end. Producer and director Gary Glassman said last year that Paradise's insight into Petra and the Nabateans "provides the soul of the film."

Along with being the most-watched show on PBS, beating out perennial favorites such as the Downton Abby series, Petra: Lost City of Stone also won the Favorite Audience Award in the archaeology category at Italy's Rovereto Film Festival.

Petra: Lost City of Stone is available for viewing at the NOVA website.


Tom Paradise, professor of geosciences
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Charlie Alison, executive editor
University Relations


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