Buzz From the PBS Press Tour
by David Thiel
There truly has been a lot of excitement surrounding PBS programs these past few weeks. Not only was the January 5 season premiere of Downton Abbey the highest-rated drama premiere in PBS’ history, the the 10.2 million viewers initially reported swelled to 15.5 million once DVR watching was factored in!
That buzz carried over to this month’s PBS Winter Press Tour, at which President Paula Kerger introduced both returning favorites and new shows. Read on for news about Last Tango in Halifax and more!
Six new episodes of Last Tango in Halifax, the romantic drama starring Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, will air Sundays at 7:00 pm on WILL-TV beginning June 29. And a week later, Jacobi will be joined by Ian McKellen for the debut of a new comedy called Vicious. The latter is about a gay couple whom have weathered five decades of togetherness. It will air Sundays at 9:30 pm Central Time.
But first will see the return of Call the Midwife. The third season, beginning Sunday, March 30 at 7:00 pm, brings the story to edge of the Swinging Sixties.
Another show making a comeback is The Bletchley Circle. The crusading codebreakers will tackle two new mysteries Sundays at 9:00 pm starting April 13.
But it’s not all about Sunday night drama. Forthcoming documentaries include the series How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson, in which the science author charts the unlikely course of progress; Coming Back with Wes Moore, about the experiences of returning soldiers; and a second season of Makers: The Women Who Make America, which looks at female pioneers in the spheres of business, politics, war, space, comedy and Hollywood.
The Fred Rogers Company will have a third program in the PBS Kids lineup soon, joining Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Peg + Cat. Odd Squad will be a live-action series for kids aged 5 to 8 about an agency that protects their city from math-related crises.
And, lest you think that filmmaker Ken Burns would fail to get a mention here, it appears that he will remain busy for the foreseeable future. He’s working on a major documentary series charting the evolution of Country Music. It’ll air sometime in 2018. (Add it to your calendar!)