PBS: America’s Home for Documentaries This Fall

Last Updated by Dale Fisher on

Programming Includes Premiere of Critically Acclaimed Filmmaker Ken Burns’s Long-Awaited COUNTRY MUSIC and Peabody Award-Winning Filmmaker Lynn Novick’s COLLEGE BEHIND BARS
 
PBS Schedule Includes New Weekly Contemporary History Series
RETRO REPORT ON PBS
 
Along with New Reporting from FRONTLINE, Independent Documentary Strands Debut Compelling New Documentaries with INDEPENDENT LENS “Made in Boise” and POV “The Feeling of Being Watched”
 
Robust Fall Lineup Includes Programs Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Veterans Day, Native American Heritage Month, “Broadway’s Best” from GREAT PERFORMANCES and the final season of MASTERPIECE“Poldark”

 

ARLINGTON, VA; July 18, 2019 – PBS today unveiled a robust fall slate with a focus on impactful documentary programming.  Premieres include the long-awaited eight-part, 16-hour documentary COUNTRY MUSIC from director Ken Burns on September 15-18 and 22-25, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET; Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick’s COLLEGE BEHIND BARS on November 25-26, 9:00 p.m. ET; and new weekly one-hour magazine format series RETRO REPORT ON PBS, Mondays and Tuesdays, October 7-29, 9:00 p.m. ET. Additional programs from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, NATURE and NOVA, along with new seasons of INDEPENDENT LENS, POV and FRONTLINE add to the expansive fall documentary slate.
 
PBS is America’s home for documentaries, offering a vast array of traditional documentary films, in-depth investigative reports, biographies, history, and news and public affairs programming. Year after year, PBS showcases compelling, high-quality content that encourages conversation and understanding. 
 
For its fall season, PBS will also highlight cultural and thematic programming, including Hispanic Heritage Month—with a new film co-presented byAMERICAN MASTERS and VOCES about the life and career of Raúl Juliá (Friday, September 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET)—along with special films for Veterans Day and Native American Heritage Month, and “Broadway’s Best” with new performance specials from GREAT PERFORMANCES.
 
“PBS is the most prolific platform for documentaries, with more than 200 hours per year,” said Perry Simon, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming, PBS. “This fall, we are showcasing first-rate programs featuring award-winning directors, diverse storytellers, hard-hitting investigations and untold stories, solidifying our status as America's premier destination for documentary film.  We are also excited about our programs representing the best in news, arts, drama, history and science — this fall has something for everyone.”

Celebrating our culture through music, anchoring the fall PBS schedule is the two-week premiere of the highly anticipated 16-hour documentary COUNTRY MUSIC on Sunday-Wednesday, September 15-18, 8:00 p.m. ET and Sunday-Wednesday, September 22-25, 8:00 p.m. ET. Directed by Ken Burns, this special event is an exploration of country music—from its roots in ballads, hymns and the blues to its mainstream popularity—and highlights the unforgettable characters and storytellers who made it “America’s music.” Beginning the night of the premiere, the entire eight-episode film will also be available on PBS Passport through February 28, 2020.
 
In advance of the premiere, PBS will debut a 90-minute special, COUNTRY MUSIC: LIVE AT THE RYMAN, A CONCERT CELEBRATING THE FILM BY KEN BURNS, on Sunday, September 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by Burns, the show features performances and appearances by celebrated musicians Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and more.  Additionally, PBS will present encores ofAMERICAN MASTERS“Charley Pride: I’m Just Me, on Thursday, September 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET and SOUNDBREAKING “The Art of Recording” on Thursday, September 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET, along with AUSTIN CITY LIMITS“Chris Stapleton/Turnpike Troubadours” on Saturday, September 14 and “Willie Nelson” on Saturday, September 21 (check local listings).
 
In October, RETRO REPORT ON PBS, a new weekly one-hour magazine series, hosted by journalist Celeste Headlee and artist Masud Olufani and featuring New Yorker humorist Andy Borowitz, goes beyond the headlines to understand the present by revealing the past.  By exploring often surprising historical roots and debunking widely believed myths, the program, airing Mondays-Tuesdays, October 7-29 at 9:00 p.m. ET, gives viewers a fresh perspective and a more complete picture of today's most important stories. 
 
FRONTLINE delivers tough investigative journalism, taking viewers inside controversial and complex stories currently shaping our times. “The Crown Prince” on Tuesday, October 1, 9:00 p.m. ET, investigates the rise of the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his vision for the future, his handling of dissent, and the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. “For Sama” on Tuesday, November 19, 10:00 p.m. ET, is an intimate and visceral documentary about a mother’s experience during the Syrian war, as she determines whether to flee or stay. This critically acclaimed film, produced by Channel 4 News/ITN Productions for Channel 4 and WGBH/FRONTLINE, is the 2019 winner of the Cannes Film Festival Best Documentary Award, and the Documentary Feature winner at the 2019 SXSW Feature Film Grand Jury Awards.
 
From independent producers, INDEPENDENT LENS“Made in Boise” airing Monday, October 28, 10:00 p.m. ET, goes inside the lives of four surrogates in Boise, Idaho and the intended parents whose children they carry. The film follows the women as they navigate the rigors of pregnancy and the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else.POV “The Feeling of Being Watched” on Monday, October 14 at 10:00 p.m. uncovers one woman’s quest to investigate and uncover one of the largest pre-9/11 counterterrorism probes conducted on domestic soil, right in her suburban Chicago hometown.
 
In November, COLLEGE BEHIND BARS debuts on Monday, November 25 and Tuesday, November 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The four-part documentary film series, directed by award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick, produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive produced by Ken Burns, explores the transformative power of education through the eyes of incarcerated men and women trying to earn college degrees. Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York State, the series examines America’s failure to provide meaningful rehabilitation for the over two million men and women living behind bars.
 
MASTERPIECE will continue to enthrall audiences with period and modern British dramas, including the fifth and final season of “Poldark,” premiering on Sunday, September 29, 9:00 p.m. ET. Aidan Turner returns as the heroic Ross Poldark, Eleanor Tomlinson revisits her role as Demelza and Jack Farthing stars as George Warleggan. Beginning the night of the September 29 broadcast premiere, all eight episodes of Season 5 will be available on PBS Passport. Seasons 1-4 are also available for catch-up streaming. Additionally, from MASTERPIECE, “The Durrells in Corfu” returns for a fourth and final season of the heartwarming dramedy on Sunday, September 29, 8:00 p.m. ET, and new miniseries “Press, beginning Sunday, October 6, 10:00 p.m. ET and set in London, explores the current turbulent media landscape and the ethical dilemmas that journalists and editors face each day.
 
This fall, GREAT PERFORMANCES brings viewers the broadcast premieres of “Broadway’s Best” every Friday night, beginning November 1 with “42nd Street, the Broadway fable of a star-struck chorus girl dreaming of her big break; “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I” on November 8, Lincoln Center Theater’s Tony Award-winning revival of the beloved musical classic inspired by the true story of a British school teacher in the royal court of Siam starring Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe; “Red” on November 15, the Tony Award-winning play starring Alfred Molina as painter Mark Rothko and Alfred Enoch as his assistant as they clash over the murals for New York’s Four Seasons restaurant; “Much Ado About Nothing” on November 22, The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s romantic classic featuring Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman and directed by Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon; and “Kinky Boots”on November 29, the 2013 Broadway blockbuster about an unexpected duo joining forces to create an extraordinary line of shoes featuring music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a book by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein.
 
PBS will showcase some of the best programs of its upcoming season at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour on July 29 and 30. During its two days, PBS will present a diverse array of talent from arts, entertainment, news, science and history, and showcase independent producers with award winning documentaries. Those appearing on panels include six-time Olympic medalist and heptathlon world-record holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee for XAVIER RIDDLE AND THE SECRET MUSEUM(PBS KIDS); Henry Louis Gates, Jr., actress Justina Machado and comedianSasheer Zamata for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR; Ken Burns, Rosanne Cash, Dwight Yoakam and Marty Stuart forCOUNTRY MUSIC; For “Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation” from AMERICAN EXEPRIENCE, Oscar-nominated filmmakerBarak Goodman and original Woodstock co-creator Joel Rosenman; and comedian Andy Borowitz for RETRO REPORT ON PBS.  James Beard Award-winning Chef Marcus Samuelsson for NO PASSPORT REQUIRED, along with Chef Vivian Howard for SOUTH BY SOMEWHERE.  National Correspondent Amna Nawaz joins us for PBS NEWSHOUR, and forMASTERPIECE “Sanditon”Theo James, actor (Divergent movies“Mr. Pamuk” in Downton Abbey); Rose Williams, actor (Curfew); and Andrew Davies, writer and executive producer (Pride & PrejudiceLes Misérables).
 
The PBS fall season includes many additional shows, series and specials, with most program descriptions listed in the complete PBS Fall Programming Guide. For photography, screeners and additional assets visit www.pbs.org/pressroom.
 
PBS fall programming will be available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members will be available to view all episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). 

About PBS
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 126 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

Contact: Michae Godwin, PBS Communications, mmgodwin@pbs.org

About the Nine Network of Public Media

The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine Network offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life. Nine’s platforms include four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine PBS KIDS®), the Nine Center for Public Engagement, the Public Media Commons, social media, and multiple websites accessible at nineNet.org. Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our vision of a strong and healthy community working together through public media and our mission of igniting the spirit of possibility.

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Matt Huelskamp
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(314) 512-9117
mhuelskamp@ketc.org