PBS Fall 2013 Season premieres from WNET

Fall 2013 Preview programming was unveiled by flagship PBS station, WNET.

Signature series such as American Masters, Great Performances, Nature, all have exciting new offerings, including a couple of significant miniseries within those umbrella titles: "The Hollow Crown" from Great Performances, and "EARTHFLIGHT" from Nature.

September 2013

All-Star Orchestra(SERIES PREMIERE)

(Premieres nationwide September 2013 on public television stations through APT, check local listings; in New York, premieres Sunday, September 8, 12:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN and continues for seven consecutive weeks)

Classical masterpieces and new works by American composers performed by the All-Star Orchestra musicians and led by Music Director Gerard Schwarz. The series is distributed nationally by American Public Television. 8 one-hour episodes.


EARTHFLIGHT, A Nature Special Presentation

Wednesday, September 4 - Wednesday, October 9, 8 p.m. on PBS

A breathtaking voyage with the world's birds, soaring across six continents, witnessing spectacular animal migrations and great natural wonders, swooping down to interact with life-and-death dramas on land and at sea. The series employs state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated camera techniques to show the world from the amazing aerial perspective of a bird's-eye view.



Saturday, September 7 on PBS (check local listings)

PBS NewsHour Weekend will feature a summary of the day's national and international news, using renowned experts to provide in-depth analysis. Each weekend broadcast will contain original, in-depth field reporting on topics including education, healthcare, the economy, energy, science and technology, religion, finance and the arts. Anchored by Hari Sreenivasan. Weekly, half-hour episodes.


American Masters

Billie Jean King

Tuesday, September 10, 8 p.m. on PBS

For the first time, American Masters profiles a sports figure: a determined woman who has been a major force in changing and democratizing the cultural landscape. To commemorate the 40th anniversaries of the King v. Riggs "The Battle of the Sexes" match and founding of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) by King, the documentary looks back to the 12-year-old southern California girl who played tennis on public courts, observed disparity and, as she soared athletically, never stopped trying to remedy inequality. Her competitiveness on the circuit was matched by her efforts on behalf of women and her commitment to prove there's strength in diversity. In new interviews, King presents her own story with perspective from Serena and Venus Williams, Hillary Clinton, Sir Elton John, Maria Sharapova, members of the Virginia Slims Circuit "Original 9" including Rosie Casals, Gloria Steinem, Chris Evert, Margaret Court, Bobby Riggs' son Larry, family, friends, and many others. 90 minutes.


Brains on Trial

Wednesday, September 11 & 18 at 10 pm on PBS

The two-hour film, hosted by Alan Alda, explores the implications for the law of advances in neuroscience that enable us for the first time to get insights into how, and perhaps even what, people are thinking. The program is constructed around the trial of a fictional crime. The program is divided into two parts: the first hour takes in the guilt phase of the trial, conducted before a jury, and concludes with the defendant being found guilty of felony murder; and the second hour looks at the sentencing phase, when arguments for and against a severe sentence will be heard. While the defendant and witnesses are actors, the judge and the attorneys are real, playing the roles they have in real life. Mr. Alda will be observing the trial "live," accompanied by Vanderbilt University's law professor Nita Farahany who will be interpreting the legal issues being raised in the trial and how the neuroscience principles that Alda learns during visits into labs is relevant to a trial similar to the fictional one in the program. The fictional case will also allow viewers to explore some of the startling advances in neuroscience and its ability to literally see into people's heads that may profoundly affect how trials like this are conducted in the future. Two, one-hour episodes.


Great Performances (SEASON PREMIERE)

The Hollow Crown

Friday, September 20 - Friday, October 11, 9 p.m. on PBS

This ambitious four-part mini-series assembles four of Shakespeare's History Plays into a single chronological narrative-Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II, and Henry V. The original "Game of Thrones," these bold film adaptations will be a major television event, featuring an outstanding cast of leading Shakespearean talent. With Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Simon Russell Beale, Michelle Dockery, David Suchet, Patrick Stewart, James Purefoy, John Hurt, and many more.


Richard II

Friday, September 20, 9 p.m. on PBS


Henry IV, Part I

Friday, September 27, 9 p.m. on PBS


American Graduate Day 2013 (LIVE)

Saturday, September 28, 12 noon -7 p.m. on public television stations

Last September marked the first annual broadcast of American Graduate Day, a live broadcast and outreach event dedicated to helping all students stay on the path to on-time high school graduation and future success. This fall, broadcast nationally on September 28 at 12 noon from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City, the seven-hour special highlights community partners, business leaders, youth, and celebrities involved in supporting at-risk students in school. Content strands include Early Learning, Career Readiness and College Completion, STEM, More and Better Learning Time, Dropout Recovery and Prevention, Mentoring and Family Support. Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Horizons National, and United Way are among the community partners participating.


Great Performances

The Hollow Crown - Henry IV, Part II

Friday, October 4, 9 p.m. on PBS


Henry V

Friday, October 11, 9 p.m. on PBS

HENRY V has settled onto the throne and has the makings of a fine King. The French



Saving Otter 501

Wednesday, October 16, 8 p.m. on PBS

On a typical late summer day a baby sea otter washes up on the beach in Monterey, California - hungry, lost, injured. It's a tragic event, but not surprising. California sea otters are struggling. For decades marine biologist Karl Mayer and his small staff have worked unceasingly - one otter at a time - to bring this "keystone" species back from the brink of extinction so it can play its important role in the local marine environment. But the effort has stalled, and no one knows why. This is the story of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's 501st attempt to save an orphan otter. From her discovery as a stranded newborn pup crying on the beach through her rehabilitation in secret roof tanks atop the Aquarium, we follow as Otter 501 learns how to dive, hunt, eat, and fend for herself in the wild, where survival is a long shot at best.


Great Performances

40th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, October 18, 9 p.m. on PBS (Part of PBS Arts Fall Festival)

Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America's most prestigious center for the lively arts. Over the course of its four decades, GP has provided a national stage where popular artists not only reveal the surprising dimensions of their creative gifts but often go beyond audiences' wildest expectations. GP has also offered artists the opportunity to celebrate and pay homage to the influential figures in their lives and careers, as well as be the first to spotlight emerging artists with their feature-length television debut. In celebration of this invaluable legacy on the occasion of the series' 40th anniversary on PBS, Great Performances hosted an all-star celebration from Lincoln Center. A stellar roster of diverse alumni gather share their personal stories of what Great Performances has meant to them, including reminiscences and performances by Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, Don Henley, David Hyde Pierce, Josh Groban, Itzhak Perlman, Peter Martins, Patti Austin and Take 6, Met Opera star Elîna Garanèa and Michael Bublé. 90 minutes.


The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (SERIES PREMIERE)

Tuesdays, October 22 and 29 and November 5, 12, 19 and 26, 8 p.m. on PBS

This six-part, six-hour series, is the first documentary film to air since 1968 that chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through over four centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today-when America has a black President yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. Written and presented by noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the series is Gates' most personal story yet and draws on some of America's top historians and heretofore untapped primary sources. The series will guide viewers on an engaging journey across two continents to shed new light on the experience of being an African American. By highlighting the complex internal debates and divisions within the black experience, viewers of Many Rivers to Cross will learn that the African American community, which the black abolitionist Martin R. Delany described as "a nation within a nation," has never been a truly uniform entity and that its members have been debating their differences of opinion from their very first days in this country. The series will emphasize the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood. The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a joint production of Kunhardt McGee Productions, WNET, and Inkwell Films in association with Ark Media.


November 2013

Great Performances

MOBY-DICK from San Francisco Opera

Friday, November 1, 9 p.m. on PBS (Part of PBS Arts Fall Festival)

One of the nation's leading opera companies, San Francisco Opera has been the site for many memorable Great Performances productions. In October 2012, GP partnered with SFO once again to record composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer's acclaimed adaptation of the classic Herman Melville novel Moby Dick. Joshua Kosman in The San Francisco Chronicle dubbed the opera "a masterpiece of clarity and intensity, with a score that is at once thematically compact and richly inventive." Fresh from his headline-making appearance as a last minute replacement in the title role of Siegfried in the Met Opera's epic Ring Cycle, Jay Hunter Morris stars as the obsessive Captain Ahab. Richard Scheinin in the San Jose Mercury News raved that the tenor "sang with a pressurized fury that practically shook the seats of the War Memorial Opera House." Two hours, 30 minutes.


American Masters

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'

Tuesday, November 5, 9 p.m. on PBS

The Hendrix estate has cooperated fully with this film, releasing performance footage of Jimi Hendrix that has never been seen before, as well as an extensive archive of photographs, drawings and family letters. A pioneering electric guitarist, Hendrix had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy. Presented as part of a year-long celebration concluding what would have been his 70th year (11/27/1942), this is his definitive story, illustrated by interviews with Hendrix and illuminated with commentary by Paul McCartney, Noel Redding, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, and others. Poignant, protected footage from his final performance in Germany in September 1970, just 12 days before his drug-related death at age 27, concludes the film. Filmmaker is Bob Smeaton (Festival Express; The Beatles Anthology; Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child; Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock).



Love in the Animal Kingdom (wt)

Wednesday, November 6, 8 p.m. on PBS

Animals dance, sing, flirt, and compete with everything they've got to find and secure a mate.  For many, the all-important bonds they share as a couple are what enable the next generation to survive.  Can we call these bonds love?  In this delightful, provocative look at the love life of animals, we see the feminine wiles of a young gorilla, the search for Mr. Right among a thousand flamingos, the open "marriages" of blue-footed boobies, the soap opera arrangements of gibbons, and all the subtle, outrageous, romantic antics that go into finding a partner. These are love stories all right, as various and intriguing as the lovers themselves.


Great Performances

Stephen Sondheim's COMPANY with the New York Philharmonic

Friday, November 8, 9 p.m. on PBS (Part of PBS Arts Fall Festival)

Legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking musical Company-which premiered in 1970 with a book by George Furth and a cast including Broadway luminaries Dean Jones (later replaced by Larry Kert), Elaine Stritch, and Donna McKechnie-has continually acquired generations of new fans through various regional productions as well as Broadway revivals in 1995 and 2006. Centering on Bobby, a confirmed bachelor celebrating his 35th birthday with his ten closest friends (who also happen to be five couples), Company culminates in Bobby's transformation from unattached swinger to tentative monogamist. This New York Philharmonic gala concert production starring Neil Patrick Harris as Bobby won rave reviews. Directed by Sondheim veteran Lonny Price, Harris' co-stars include Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), Jon Cryer and Martha Plimpton performing the show's many Sondheim standards, including "Another Hundred People," "Barcelona," "Side by Side," "The Ladies Who Lunch," and "Being Alive." Also starring is Craig Bierko, Katie Finneran, Aaron Lazar, Jill Paice, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jim Walton, and Chryssie Whitehead. Two hours, 30 minutes.



Parrot Confidential

Wednesday, November 13, 8 p.m. on PBS

Meet Lou. Abandoned in a foreclosed home, Lou is one of thousands of parrots in need of rescue. From the wilds of Costa Rica to suburban America, a loveable, quirky cast of parrots will reveal their unforgettable tales and the bittersweet world they share with humans. Their outrageous intelligence and uncanny ability to communicate in any language has made parrots one of the world's most popular pets. But unlike dogs and cats, parrots have not been domesticated. Hardwired for the wild, their ear-shattering squawks and unpredictable behavior are designed for the rain forest, not the suburbs. Add a lifespan of 50+ years to their intense need to bond, and a life in captivity often ends in disaster. With shelters and sanctuaries bursting at the seams, too many birds like Lou have no place to go.


Secrets of the Dead

OnePM (w.t)

Wednesday, November 13, 10 p.m.on PBS

Fifty years after the tragic shooting of President John F. Kennedy, Secrets of the Dead chronicles minute-by-minute the assassination as it was revealed in the CBS newsroom from the moment the President was shot until Walter Cronkite's emotional pronouncement of his death, one hour and eight minutes later. The drama of OnePM (wt) -- the episode title is taken from the time President Kennedy was declared dead at Parkland Hospital -- is played out amidst the chaos in Dallas, in the hospital, and in the CBS newsroom in New York. Included in the program will be moving memories from men and women who were with there on the day - in Dallas and New York such as Robert MacNeil, Dan Rather, and Bob Schieffer, among others.


Great Performances

Rodgers & Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA!

Friday, November 15, 9 p.m. on PBS (Part of PBS Arts Fall Festival)

Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2013, Rodgers & Hammerstein's landmark musical Oklahoma! is "still "doin' fine" in this award-winning production from London's National Theatre, and returns to Great Performances for a special commemorative encore telecast. This acclaimed production directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Susan Stroman set box office records during its original runs in the West End and then later on Broadway, with critics and audiences alike captivated by its fresh new take on a venerable classic. The original London production also featured a sensational, star-making performance by Hugh Jackman as Curly before his ascent to international movie stardom in the X Men franchise. Luckily for television audiences, the magic of the original London cast was captured in a handsome film adaptation just prior to the show's move from the National Theatre to the West End. Also featured are original cast members Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey, Maureen Lipman (The Pianist) as Aunt Eller, and 2002 Best Supporting Actor Tony-winner Shuler Hensley as the menacing Jud Fry. Three hours.


Great Performances

Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn

Friday, November 29, 9 p.m. on PBS (Part of PBS Arts Fall Festival)

Barbra Streisand makes a historic homecoming Back to Brooklyn at the new Barclays Center arena, marking the superstar's first Brooklyn concert. Joined by special guests Il Volo and Chris Botti, Streisand performs an extensive selection of songs from throughout her five decade career, and duets with her son Jason Gould on "How Deep is the Ocean." Other selections include "Nice N Easy," "Didn't We," "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)," "Rose's Turn," "My Funny Valentine," "Some Other Time," and "Make Our Garden Grow," along with such Streisand standards as "Evergreen," "The Way We Were," "People," and "Happy Days are Here Again." Reviewing her opening night, Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, "Like few singers of any age, she has the gift of conveying a primal human longing in a beautiful sound." Two hours, 30 minutes.



Great Performances

The Dukes Of September In Concert (pledge)

Premieres December 2013 on PBS (check local listings)

Rock & roll royalty Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) and Boz Scaggs join forces to form their own new super group The Dukes of September, delighting audiences with high octane new performances of their greatest hits, along with other chart-topping favorites from the 60s and 70s. Among the many crowd-pleasing favorites are "What a Fool Believes," "Low Down," "Lido Shuffle," "Pretzel Logic," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Reelin' In the Years" and many more.


American Masters (SEASON FINALE)

Marvin Hamlisch: The Way He Was (w.t.)

Friday, December 27, 9 p.m. on PBS

By age 31, Marvin Hamlisch had won four Grammys, an Emmy, three Oscars, a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize, making him one of only 2 PEGOT winners ever. Hit after hit - "The Way We Were," "Nobody Does It Better" and scores for The Sting, Sophie's Choice and the Broadway juggernaut A Chorus Line - made him the go-to composer and performer for film, Broadway, every president since Reagan, and concert halls worldwide. A child prodigy accepted at Juilliard at age six, he defied classical expectations to create his own music. When his unprecedented streak ended, Hamlisch fell into a self-described "period of suffocating despair," before rebounding to find true love (worthy of a Broadway musical) and renewed passion for creation. With exclusive access to Hamlisch's personal archival treasure trove, new interviews with A-list collaborators from Quincy Jones to Steven Soderbergh, and complete cooperation from his family, this documentary tells a deeply personal, insider story of one of the greatest artists of our time. He died August 6, 2012. 90 minutes.

Further Reading on M&C