PBS Shares Plans for Upcoming Season

PBS's 50th anniversary logo
(Image credit: PBS)

PBS shared its programming plans for the upcoming months as part of a virtual Television Critics Association presentation. Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO, noted that PBS turns 50 in October. She called it a “wrenching time” in our nation. “We are committed to leveraging the unique strengths of public television to enable meaningful change,” Kerger said. 

PBS will debut interview series Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan Oct. 5. PBS promises “candid conversations with influential leaders in their fields,” including public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson. In each one-hour episode, Corrigan will explore her guests' universal humanity and passions. 

On Oct. 9, PBS will premiere special PBS Kids Talk About: Race and Racism. The half-hour program will feature “authentic conversations between real children and their parents,” said PBS, and will include content from PBS Kids series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Arthur and Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Looking ahead to 2021, The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song airs February 16 and 23. Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. executive produces the four-hour series, which traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America. The documentary features interviews with Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Bishop Michael Curry, Cornel West, Pastor Shirley Caesar and Rev. Al Sharpton. 

The American Masters documentary How It Feels to Be Free is about trailblazing Black female entertainers, including Lena Horne, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier. It premieres in winter 2021. Alicia Keys is executive producer. Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson share their perspectives. 

Independent Lens documentary Mr. Soul!, about America’s first Black variety show, Soul!, and host Ellis Haizlip, premieres in winter 2021. Melissa Haizlip, niece of Ellis, is behind the project. 

PBS announced a new Amazon Prime Video channel, PBS Documentaries. “The PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is another way for curious viewers to access PBS content outside the PBS Video App,” said PBS. “The PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel will include a robust library of critically acclaimed, thought-provoking programs,” including the entire Ken Burns collection and films from Nova, Frontline, American Masters, Nature, American Experience, Independent Lens and POV. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.