PBS announced today an expansive fall Primetime lineup that launches with the premiere of Ken Burns's seven-part series THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY, introduces HOW WE GOT TO NOW, a new "Think Wednesday" series hosted by the popular American Science author and media theorist Steven Johnson, and presents the compelling new documentary THE PILGRIMS from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Fall also marks the second seasons of the popular series FINDING YOUR ROOTS with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and MAKERS, as well as expanded entries from the PBS Arts Fall Festival, which features new specials, including LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER's "Sweeney Todd" starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel, and "The Nance" starring Nathan Lane.
THE ROOSEVELTS kicks off PBS' fall season Sunday, September 14, with an epic seven-night premiere. The 14-hour documentary airs nightly at 8 p.m. through Saturday, September 20 with a repeat at 10 p.m., and for the first time on television weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. (See an embeddable clip here.)
"The PBS fall schedule is remarkable for its variety and quality - from an epic, binge-worthy serving of Ken Burns's new documentary THE ROOSEVELTS - to a star-studded lineup of drama and performance. We're incredibly proud of the strength of our line-up and our commitment to bring viewers the best content available in history, science, drama, documentary, the arts and performance and much more," said Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming.
Sunday nights feature the best of British drama and intriguing documentaries on historical icons, and this fall season is no exception. Star-studded dramas come to MASTERPIECE, including "Death Comes to Pemberley," an adaptation of P.D. James' witty and inventive continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, starring Matthew Rhys ("The Americans") and Anna Maxwell Martin ("Bleak House") on October 26 and November 2. Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) reprises his role as MI5 spy Johnny Worricker - first seen in 2011's acclaimed "Page Eight" - in two new "Worricker" stories: "Turks & Caicos" and "Salting the Battlefield" on November 9 and 16, respectively. Joining Nighy are top-tier costars Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.
On Mondays, audience favorite ANTIQUES ROADSHOW premieres six new episodes for the fall season, beginning September 22, traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee, and Jacksonville, Florida, to uncover valuable treasures such as Muhammad Ali's training shoes and Robert E. Lee's Richmond map. POV explores the art of politics in "Koch" on September 22, recalling the life and times of New York City's former mayor Ed Koch that is as boisterous and unconventional as the man himself. INDEPENDENT LENS returns with a roster of new documentaries, among them "Twin Sisters," the fascinating story of Chinese foundling twins who are adopted by two sets of parents and grow up halfway across the world from each other - one in California and the other in Norway. When the girls are finally reunited eight years later, they not only look and act alike, but are connected by an unmistakable and inextricable bond.
Tuesday nights are devoted to exploring the personal histories and ancestries of pioneers who helped shape modern society, including the return of FINDING YOUR ROOTS with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on September 23, in which the Harvard scholar and cultural critic helps famous people identify relatives hidden for generations. This second season features 30 guests, including actor/director Ben Affleck, journalist Anderson Cooper, tennis great Billie Jean King, author Stephen King and rapper Nas. As Thanksgiving nears, filmmaker Ric Burns' THE PILGRIMS: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, premiering November 25, explores the converging forces, circumstances, personalities and events that propelled a group of English men and women across the Atlantic in 1620. Six new documentaries from Makers begin September 30 and feature groundbreaking American women in different spheres of influence, including war, comedy, space, business, Hollywood and politics. AMERICAN MASTERS spotlights notable Baby Boomers September 23 with THE BOOMER LIST, from acclaimed filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, and BING CROSBY, a profile of the most popular and influential multi-media star of the first half of the 20th century from Emmy-winning director Robert Trachtenberg, on December 26.
"Think Wednesday," PBS' Primetime lineup of television's best nature, Science and technology programming, returns with new episodes of acclaimed series NATURE and NOVA in the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. hours respectively, and new specials debuting at 10 p.m. NOVA debuts "Acid Ocean" (w.t.) October 1 and NATURE premieres "Animal Misfits" October 22. Premiering October 15 is the new six-episode series HOW WE GOT TO NOW WITH STEVEN JOHNSON, which tells the stories behind remarkable ideas that made modern life possible. (See an embeddable clip here.) Also joining the "Think Wednesday" lineup is LIFE ON THE REEF, a fresh view of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, beginning September 24.
The arts remain a cornerstone of PBS Primetime on Fridays. The PBS Arts Fall Festival, entering its fourth season, has become a Friday night tradition that will now expand to an 11-week footprint in the PBS Fall schedule. Included this year is the start of LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER's 40th anniversary season with "'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' In Concert With the New York Philharmonic," starring Emma Thompson as Stephen Sondheim's conniving piemaker and Bryn Terfel as the barber, on September 26; AUSTIN CITY LIMITS CELEBRATES 40 YEARS, a celebration of the seminal music series with special performances from some of the biggest stars in the show's 40-year history, on October 3; THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS SM FROM SAN FRANCISCO OPERA (by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin) starring bass-baritone Eric Owens as Porgy and soprano Laquita Mitchell as Bess on October 17; MICHAEL FEINSTEIN AT THE RAINBOW ROOM, celebrating the reopening of the historic restaurant and nightclub known for hosting the elite and influential, on October 31; THE HITMAKERS (w.t.), an up-close look at the music industry's resilience in the digital age, on November 14; an encore presentation of GREAT PERFORMANCES "Cats" on November 21; and much more, including LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER's "The Nance," a heartbreaking drama starring Nathan Lane (produced by Lincoln Center Theater) as a gay burlesque performer in the dangerous world of 1930s New York. PBS' acclaimed public affairs shows WASHINGTON WEEK WITH GWEN IFILL and CHARLIE ROSE - THE WEEK return to kick off the weekend and the arts on Friday nights. Monday-Friday, the PBS Newshour offers in-depth stories on the top news events.
For more information and descriptions of the full schedule, please visit: http://www.pbs.org/about/news/archive/2014/fall2014-season/.
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Photo courtesy of Lincoln Center
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