The Roosevelts: An Intimate History airs on WILL-TV over seven consecutive nights beginning at 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 14. Each episode is repeated at 9 pm the same night.
The film weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. The series marks the first time their individual stories have been woven into a single narrative.
“The Roosevelts have played significant roles in other stories we’ve told before, from the National Parks to World War II,” said filmmaker Ken Burns. “It’s impossible, in fact, to visit many parts of the American experience without encountering their presence. But beyond simply sharing a bloodline or political success, they each shared a passionate belief that America is at its strongest when everyone has an equal chance. And on a personal level, they each struggled to overcome their own fears while maintaining a public face of courage.”
The Roosevelts follows the family’s story for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962. Over the course of those years, Theodore would become the 26th president of the United States, and his beloved niece, Eleanor, would marry his fifth cousin, Franklin, who became the 32nd president. Together, they redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other, and redefined, as well, the role of the United States within the wider world. The series encompasses all the history the Roosevelts helped to make — the creation of National Parks and the digging of the Panama Canal, the New Deal and the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights around the world in which Eleanor Roosevelt played a central role. But it is also an intimate human story about love and betrayal, family feeling and personal courage and the conquest of fear.
Legendary actress Meryl Streep portrays Eleanor Roosevelt in readings from her personal letters and writings. Of her performance, Burns said, “As we’ve seen time and time again, Ms. Streep is a magician. Here, she completely transformed herself into Eleanor Roosevelt, simply through her voice. It was remarkable to witness. The entire cast delivers what I consider to be some of the finest voice-over work we’ve ever been fortunate enough to present.”
Joining Streep are Paul Giamatti as the voice of Theodore Roosevelt and Edward Herrmann, two-time Emmy Award nominee for his performance as Franklin Roosevelt, as the voice of FDR.
Rounding out the cast are Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco, Keith Carradine, Kevin Conway, Ed Harris, John Lithgow, Josh Lucas, Carl Lumbly, Amy Madigan, Carolyn McCormick, Pamela Reed, Billy Bob Thornton and Eli Wallach.
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From AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (2006) through the first season of FINDING YOUR ROOTS (2012), Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been helping people identify relatives hidden for generations. Professor Gates employs a team of genealogists and the world’s leading geneticists to uncover the origins of a diverse group of 30 guests. Each of the 10 episodes will feature three guests bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden, link, as Gates treks through layers of ancestral history, uncovers secrets and surprises, and shares life-altering discoveries.
The premiere of the second season of Finding Your Roots comes on the heels of Professor Gates’ Peabody Award-winning PBS series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, which debuted in the fall of 2013 to critical acclaim. In each hour-long episode of the second season of Finding Your Roots, Gates continues his quest to, as he says, “get into the DNA of American culture.” By weaving a group of celebrity stories together, each episode takes viewers on a journey through layers of ancestral history, uncovering familial secrets and sharing life-altering discoveries that ultimately reveal an intimate bond that links each individual’s story together.
The episode construction of Season Two explores a much wider array of themes than Season One. In each episode, Gates focuses on the specific ethnic roots, cultural traditions and deep interplay of family influence and genetics of three guests, including: celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio, Aaron Sanchez and Ming Tsai, who cook the food of their ancestors and discover family members who have shaped their lives—and America’s cuisine; Derek Jeter, Billie Jean King and Rebecca Lobo, three of America's greatest athletes whose determination and love of sports were deeply shaped by their families, but who were all cut off from their true origins—raising the question of whether champions are made or born; actress Tina Fey, humorist David Sedaris and journalist George Stephanopolous, all of whom look into their Greek American ancestry; and American playwright Tony Kushner, singer-songwriter Carole King and lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who not only share a Jewish heritage, but a history of perseverance in the face of withering opposition.
In other episodes, actors Ben Affleck and Khandi Alexander come to realize their families have long been engaged in the battle for freedom and civil rights, but they had no idea that those principles were passed down through generations of ancestors. Gates also explores the history of the Vanderbilt family with Anderson Cooper, discovers a web of intimate relationships between Nas’ slave ancestors and their masters, and traces Sting’s roots back centuries in England where we find that being close to the seat of the Empire doesn't mean that life is any better.
New advancements in DNA testing since the first season allow Gates and his team to use genetic genealogy to make unprecedented discoveries about the past in Season Two, including being able to identify tribal Native American ancestry, solve paternity mysteries, and pinpoint the geographic origins of hidden ancestry. These new achievements in DNA testing take center stage with an entire episode devoted to exploring the possibilities, all the while featuring the stories of actress Jessica Alba, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and even Gates, himself.
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From the time of its birth, the baby boomer generation (1946-1964) has significantly and uniquely changed our world. 2014 marks an important shift in American culture, as the last boomers turn 50. American Masters: The Boomer List tells the story of this influential generation through the lives of 19 iconic boomers—one born each year of the baby boom:
1946 Tim O’Brien, Vietnam vet / author
1947 Deepak Chopra, M.D., New Age guru
1948 Samuel L. Jackson, actor
1949 Billy Joel, singer-songwriter
1950 Steve Wozniak, co-founder,
1951 Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
1952 Amy Tan, author
1953 Eve Ensler, playwright
1954 Julieanna Richardson, founder,
1955 Maria Shriver, journalist
1956 Kim Cattrall, actor
1957 Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM
1958 Ellen Ochoa, Director, Johnson Space Center
1959 Ronnie Lott, athlete
1960 Erin Brockovich, environmentalist
1961 Peter Staley, AIDS activist
1962 Rosie O’Donnell, entertainer
1963 David LaChapelle, artist
1964 John Leguizamo, actor
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Intimate interviews by filmmaker/photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders focus on these individuals’ exceptional achievements, struggles and identities, sharing the experiences of these extraordinary Americans and the history they lived through and often created. Subjects illuminate the key movements and changes that shaped the world during the baby boom years, discussing the environment; arts and entertainment; science; civil, LGBT and women’s rights; law; politics; public service; sports; the military; technology and media.
“When I learned about this year’s boomer milestone, I came up with the idea for The Boomer List,” says Greenfield-Sanders, whose past films include About Face: Supermodels Then and Now and American Masters — Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart. “The film captures the boomer generation’s dynamic spirit through 19 distinct ‘American Masters’ who had a profound effect on our world.”
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 4 in D Major for Strings, Op. 83 (Jerusalem Quartet)
Stravinsky: Tango for Four Cellos (Nicolas Altstaedt, Dorothea Figueroa, Eileen Moon, Fred Sherry, cello)
Prokofiev: Quartet No. 2 in F Major for Strings, Op. 92 (Escher String Quartet)
Civic Orchestra of Chicago
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral
The life of a penguin is not an easy one, but recording the challenges faced by nature’s most devoted parents and their offspring in remote parts of the world was nearly as hard, and only possible due to the placement of spycams in their midst. For nearly a year, filmmakers deployed 50 animatronic cameras disguised as realistic life-size penguins, eggs and rocks to infiltrate the colonies of three very different species: emperor penguins in Antarctica, rockhopper penguins on the Falkland Islands, and Humboldt penguins in Peru’s Atacama Desert. The resulting footage shows what it is really like to be a penguin from a whole new perspective.
Take a front row seat as they journey to their breeding grounds, raise chicks, dodge predators and return to the sea when Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, A Nature Special Presentation airs on three consecutive Wednesdays, September 24, October 1 and 8, 2014 at 7 pm on WILL-TV. After broadcast, the episodes will be available for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.
Series director John Downer (“Earthflight”) and his team filmed 1000 hours of intimate behavior for this project using both animatronic and conventional cameras, footage which was later condensed to three hours for broadcast. Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, A Nature Special Presentation contains a number of notable firsts due to the sheer length of time the production crews spent observing the colonies as well as to the presence of the spycams.
At the cold Antarctic breeding ground of the emperor penguins, emperorcams and eggcams await the arrival of prospective parents. In a humorous sequence, female emperors engage in flipper fights over the more limited pool of potential mates. Even when it’s clear which emperors are officially couples, some female rivals still try to disrupt a pair, sometimes when mating. Later, egg-laying by a female is filmed for the very first time. The footage shows how the mother uses her tail feathers to catch the couple’s single egg while her feet cushion the fall. A dropped egg on the ice would quickly freeze leaving the parents childless.
On the Falkland Islands, rockhoppercams, eggcams and even rockcams capture other firsts, including the underwater arrival of rockhopper penguins battling the stormy South Atlantic seas as they head for dry land. Some rockhoppers are also filmed using mountaineering techniques, rather than hopping, as they struggle to scale the steep rock walls to reach their clifftop nests. On a darker note, pairs that have lost their chicks to predators turn to kidnapping from others in their desperation to find another chick to care for and heated fights ensue.
The shy and rarely-filmed Humboldt of Peru’s Atacama Desert is the only mainland penguin to live in the tropics. At night, low-light Humboldtcams reveal for the first time how hungry vampire bats feed on both adults and chicks while the Humboldts fight back by kicking dirt in their faces. Other sequences show how the penguins maneuver through dangerous booby bird colonies, gangs of fur seals and potentially deadly sea lions to make their way back and forth to their nests from the sea.
With 50 remotely controlled spycams operating in tough environments, there are always mishaps: losing three eggcams in a blizzard or having a rockhoppercam lose its head in an attack by a jealous mate. But when a predator bird mistakes eggcam for the real thing and flies off with it, viewers are treated to the first aerial of a penguin colony shot by a flying bird. The spycams, which captured many first time events and challenges faced by these dedicated parents and chicks, provide new insights into the study of penguin behavior.
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While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, OTM tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency that has built trust with listeners and led to more than a tripling of its audience in five years.
Since OTM was re-launched in 2001, it has been one of NPR's fastest growing programs, heard on more than 300 public radio stations. It has won Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting, the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism and a Peabody Award for its body of work.
For more on the history of On the Media, and how it fits in to the rest of public radio, check out the "manifesto" written by OTM managing editor Brooke Gladstone for Transom.org back in 2004. You can find it here.
The Moth Radio Hour has joined WILL-AM’s schedule at 10 am Tuesdays. The Moth Radio Hour features true stories told live on stage without scripts, notes, props or accompaniment. Each show mixes humorous, heartbreaking, and poignant tales that captivate, surprise, and delight audiences with their honesty, bravery and humor.
The Moth was originally formed by the writer George Dawes Green as an intimate gathering of friends on a porch (where moths would flutter in through a hole in the screen). Today, The Moth is a nonprofit organization with ongoing programs such as StorySlam competitions that contribute their best stories to The Moth Radio Hour.
“I love the feeling of The Moth,” says program producer Jay Allison. “You can feel the risk each storyteller takes, getting up before us to recount something spellbinding and real. It makes you recognize how rare it is to hear truly honest, vulnerable voices on the airwaves.”
We are offering a different program each day at 10 am Monday through Friday, with some of our most popular weekend programs repeated to give you another chance to hear them.
Here's the rest of the 10 am weekdays schedule:
Mondays: On the Media
While maintaining the civility and fairness, On the Media tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency .
Wednesdays: Big Picture Science
Big Picture Science takes on big questions by interviewing leading researchers and weaving together their stories of discovery in a clever and off-kilter narrative style. The show reveals science as an adventure.
Thursdays: TED Radio Hour
Hosted by Guy Raz , the program is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme, and injects soundscapes and conversations that bring these ideas to life.
Fridays: State of the Re:Union
Hosted by Al Letson, the program takes a journalistic, documentary-style approach, with each episode focusing on one city or region.