When Nick Uhas graduated from Ohio State in 2009 with a degree in biology, he expected to take the Medical College Admission Test, attend medical school and become a doctor. But one entrepreneurship camp and a minor in theater and video production later suggested he could pursue a different path.
Now, the creator of a science education-based YouTube channel with more than 227,000 subscriptions, Uhas has found himself hosting a Netflix show, “Blown Away” — released July 12 — that combines the art of glass blowing with reality competition.
“A lot of times, you get a lot of rehashing of old ideas or concepts that are very similar in nature,” Uhas said. “But never in history has there ever been a show that has either been about glass blowing or has combined both glass blowing and reality competition.”
“Blown Away” — developed by Netflix, Blue Ant Media and Marblemedia — follows 10 glass artists as they take on weekly challenges that vary in functionality and requirements, Uhas said. Contestants aren’t just experienced in glass blowing; they work with the material in a variety of ways, he said.
The winning artist of “Blown Away” receives $60,000 and a residency at the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York — a large contributor to the show, Uhas said. The museum has millions of visitors every year, and its campus acts as a home for artists who specialize in glass blowing and glass art.
“The Corning Museum of Glass inspires people to see glass in a new light,” Eric Meek, final guest judge on the show, said in a statement. “‘Blown Away’ is a global platform, and it’s exciting to think about how this will broaden glassmaking’s level of exposure.”
Uhas said he was able to visit the Corning Museum of Glass and record videos for his YouTube channel with help from the museum, and he discovered how dynamic the material is.
“You can actually melt glass in a microwave,” he said. “That kind of blew my mind. I didn’t think that you could, but there’s actually a couple of steps you can take in order to make glass in its liquid state just through a standard household microwave.”
Uhas’ YouTube channel is not a one-man show; he has help from a science-based production company — a small team that helps write, shoot, produce and edit his content.
“If you think about Netflix as a digital publisher, kind of like a giant YouTube channel, it’s very similar,” Uhas said. “So, for a YouTuber or anyone who makes their own content, doing TV on Netflix is a big step.”
Uhas’ fit as a reality competition host doesn’t just come from his YouTube experience. He gained hosting experience in New York City — where he lived after briefly working on television pilots in Chicago post-graduation — doing red carpet interviews and entertainment reporting.
Throughout these experiences, Uhas learned more about writing, editing and producing his own content, which led him to YouTube. Uhas then moved to Los Angeles to compete on season 15 of “Big Brother” and season 12 of “America’s Got Talent.”
“When I went on the set of ‘Blown Away,’ all of my experience with being a reality TV contestant felt so correct,” Uhas said. “It actually felt like I knew definitely what I was doing, where the cameras were, what cameras A, B and C were doing, the director asking me how this was going to look as an editor.”
While Uhas’ undergraduate experience didn’t necessarily point in the direction of entertainment, he still acknowledges Ohio State as a contributor to his current involvement with the industry.
“I think the one thing that I will always remember from Ohio State is that Ohio State offers an education in a city diverse enough, in-the-know enough, progressive enough,” Uhas said. “Growing up there and spending time there offers enough global experience that anybody graduating from in or out of state who are living in Columbus can go off and do anything they want.”