ARLINGTON, VA — PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced the following new programs and initiatives during her executive session at PBS’s TCA Press Tour.
LEONARDO da VINCI, a new, two-part, four-hour documentary directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon will air Nov. 18 and 19, at 8-10 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS App. The film, which explores the life and work of the 15th century polymath Leonardo da Vinci, is Burns’s first non-American subject. It also marks a significant change in the team’s filmmaking style, which includes using split screens with images, video, and sound from different periods to further contextualize Leonardo’s art and scientific explorations. LEONARDO da VINCI looks at how the artist influenced and inspired future generations, and it finds — in his soaring imagination and profound intellect — the foundation for a conversation we are still having today: what is our relationship with nature and what does it mean to be human.
In a multiyear effort to ignite hope and inspire action, PBS explores a spectrum of ocean and fresh water-related issues through a mix of new and returning series showcasing titles such as HOPE IN THE WATER, NATURE: PATRICK AND THE WHALE, DYNAMIC PLANET, INDEPENDENT LENS: ONE WITH THE WHALE, CHANGING PLANET, SEA CHANGE, and WEATHERED. In a critical year for ocean science and health, PBS is intensifying its commitment, complementing the multiyear climate initiative, and marking a crucial step towards enhancing awareness and tackling the urgent challenges our oceans face.
Nearly 50 years ago, the PBS series NOVA filled a gap in broadcast television — delivering entertaining and informative science stories to audiences at a time when there were very few science shows on the air. Produced by GBH and branded as “science adventures for curious grown-ups,” it debuted on March 3, 1974, setting a new standard for science documentary storytelling and becoming one of PBS’s flagship series. The series looked back on nearly half a century of groundbreaking science and human curiosity and announced a celebration featuring an awe-inspiring lineup of new specials, content, and initiatives through the end of 2024.
PBS tackles the surprising and overlooked history of disco – the preeminent popular music of the 1970s – in a three-part series, DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION. The docuseries captures the story of disco: its rise, its fall, and its legacy. From the basement bars of ’70s New York City to the peak of the global charts, along with iconic tracks and remarkable footage, DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION offers a powerful, revisionist history of the disco age. Told by the original musicians, promoters, and innovators – as well as modern-day musical icons – this BBC Studios Production will premiere Tuesday, June 18 on PBS (check local listings), PBS.org, and the PBS App.
Following a successful run on Broadway, the Emmy-winning performing arts series GREAT PERFORMANCES has announced the addition of “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch” to its Broadway’s Best lineup in May. Starring Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr., GREAT PERFORMANCES “Purlie Victorious” premieres Friday, May 24 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), on pbs.org/gperf, and the PBS App.
Beginning this year, PBS KIDS is rolling out a full slate of civics-themed content. The effort will span across a range of both new and existing series aimed at encouraging viewers to get involved in their communities and learn more about what’s happening around them. The programming, which will expand on PBS KIDS’s Social Studies learning goals, will feature a second season of hit shorts series, CITY ISLAND, and two new music video series, CITY ISLAND SINGS and TOGETHER WE CAN (w.t), created with Sesame Workshop. PBS KIDS is also in development with TIME Studios on a live-action shorts series supporting civic engagement through media literacy.
PBS has more than 330 member stations across the U.S.