May 9, 2011

Upcoming PBS primetime lineup brings first Arts Fall Festival

PBS announced today (May 9) its primetime lineup for this fall, which includes its long-awaited arts initiative and a refocus for WNET's Need to Know.

The network's first Arts Fall Festival, on the drawing board at least since 2009, will begin Oct. 14 and air Fridays through December with broadcasts of classic and contemporary performances including Women Who Rock, inspired by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit; Give Me the Banjo, narrated by Steve Martin; and "The Little Mermaid" from the San Francisco Ballet on Great Performances. There'll also be artist and performer profiles, behind-the-scenes documentaries and mini-films about the art scenes in Miami, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, the Blue Ridge Mountains and other areas of the country. Plans call for related online content educational tools.

The newsmag Need to Know relaunches on Sept. 16 "with a new format and focus," PBS said. The show will report on issues related to Election 2012. NTK has been retooling recently, dropping co-anchor Jon Meacham late in March. PBS said Meacham will continue to offer commentaries.

Schedule changes include pairing Nature and Nova on Wednesday nights.

The fall season officially premieres Oct. 2-4 with Prohibition from filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The series features music by Wynton Marsalis and the voices of Tom Hanks, Jeremy Irons, Paul Giamatti, Oliver Platt, John Lithgow, Samuel L. Jackson, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Sam Waterston, Josh Lucas and others, with narration by Peter Coyote.

Physicist and author Brian Greene returns to Nova with “The Fabric of the Cosmos” on Wednesdays, Nov. 2-23. The four-part miniseries looks at how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time and the universe

Details on the schedule and programs, along with additional content and digital and children’s initiatives, will be announced May 16-19 at the national PBS meeting in Orlando, Fla.

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