TV Worth Blogging

by David Thiel, Program Director for WILL-TV

An insider's view of public television programming and the issues that help determine what and how you watch

Dr. Blake prepares for surgery; Doctor Who strikes an action pose

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

Two doctors. One is new, the other an old favorite. One solves mysteries in Australia, the other travels time and space. Both are coming to WILL-TV on Saturday nights in July!

Rebecca Eaton, Rufus Sewell and Daisy Goodwin converse in front of an audience.
David Thiel

Star-Gazing at the PBS Annual Meeting

In spring, PBS hosts an annual meeting that brings together station personnel, producers and (a handful of) celebrities to preview the upcoming TV season. And while our definition of celebrity runs more toward Henry Louis Gates, Jr. than George Clooney, every once in a while we get a pretty big name. This year, folks were giddy about the annoyingly good-looking actor Rufus Sewell, soon to be on PBS in a new drama based on the life of Britain's Queen Victoria. Click on through for more!

A woman sings while a man plays a guitar.

All the State is a “Song Stage”

It's not uncommon when a complete stranger approaches me to pitch a TV show concept, but it's unusual when I find myself excited by the prospect. That's what happened when I met the producers of Song Stage Illinois, an eight-part music competition series airing Fridays at 10 pm on WILL-TV. And now that it has premiered, I'm seeking your feedback about a potential second season for 2017.

A partial map of England marked with Downton Abbey filming locations.

Things Will Be Great When You’re Downton

As we bid adieu (for now) to the Dowager Countess and the other residents of Downton Abbey, I'd like to offer an epilogue in the form of a few random news items and yet another map of England.

© Tim Ritz

Where in the World is Coronation Street?

If you've ever thought, "I enjoy Downton Abbey, but I'd really like to find it on a map," you're in luck! Artist Tim Ritz engaged in an exercise of televisual cartography detailing both the fictional and filming locations of many popular U.K. TV shows. Click through for more!

The Next Downton Abbey?

With only a few episodes of the fan favorite British drama left to air in the US, many have wondered “What’s the next Downton Abbey?” By that, I don’t mean what creator Julian Fellowes or star Laura Carmichael are up to after saying "Ta ta!" to Highclere Castle. No, the real question could be rephrased as “Which period drama will be the next colossal hit?” I have some thoughts about that…

Sherlock and Watson, dressed in Victorian-era clothes.
Credit: Courtesy of (C) BBC/Hartswood Films for MASTERPIECE

Sherlock Holmes and the Sign of the Times

On New Year's Day, audiences in both the UK and the US watched Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. It was the first time an episode of that series debuted on PBS and the BBC on the same day.

There was something else unusual about that premiere. During the following week, there were no repeats of The Abominable Bride on this or any other PBS station. There was a reason for that, and I think it speaks to the evolving ways in which we consume traditional mass media.

A van marked TV Licensing sits in a garage.
From Wikipedia.

Asking Nicely

In England, sinister vehicles are said to roam the streets, peering into homes to catch those who might be illegally viewing public television. Happily, we have another way.

Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus and Cookie Monster examine a bowl of vegetables.
© Sesame Workshp via Facebook

Snuffy Days

There was a time when Big Bird was Sesame Street's equivalent of the guy who swears he saw a Sasquatch in his kitchen. No one believed his stories about a giant, furry pal named Mr. Snuffleupagus, who conveniently was nowhere to be seen. That is, until the day in 1985 when Snuffy made himself known.