Although the final CGI for the new Discovery Series: Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking, was created with Maya, Blender was used for pre-vis and concept tests. Nathan Williams, one of the directors, found Blender a valuable tool in creating this ambitious series.
I directed one of the episodes of the new Discovery Series: Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking - mine was the episode on Time Travel. The series was heavily reliant on CGI, created by British graphics company Red Vision (using Maya, not Blender). However, at the time I was teaching myself to use Blender in my spare time and so I started using it to create pre-vis, tests and concept graphics. (ie nothing actually on screen was Blender. Not that blender couldn't have done it!)
I found the process incredibly helpful. It allowed me to block out sequences so that we had material we could edit with before any of the "official" CGI came through. It also allowed us to try out ideas without spending money! Because this was new, the pre-vis I did wasn't properly integrated into the main CGI process. Certainly if I were doing this again, I would build the use of Blender into the pipeline from the start.
After working on this I went on to produce a history documentary where I did use Blender for the final graphics as covered previously here.
You can see a trailer of the series:
It next airs in the US on May 17, 8:00 pm
and in the UK (where it's called Stephen Hawking's Universe) it's on Sunday 16 May at 9pm