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Politics, Social Issues Flavor PBS Fall Lineup

Politics past and present factors into the PBS fall lineup. The Contenders–16 for ’16 debuts Sept. 13 and looks at previous elections, while Frontline’s series The Choice 2016 returns Sept. 27 with an in-depth look at the presidential election.

Politics, history and the arts meld into one for Hamilton’s America, from Great Performances, about the making of the wildly successful Broadway show. That debuts Oct. 21.

Other fall highlights include Ken Burns’ Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War, about an American couple that rescued hundreds trying to escape the Nazis, airing Sept. 20; and season two of Masterpiece romance drama Poldark, arriving on a date to be determined.

On Oct. 25, Norman Lear is the focus of an American Masters special entitled Just Another Version of You. On Nov. 15 and 22, Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise debuts, with acclaimed scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosting.

The public broadcast network will also air a week of primetime programming dedicated to America’s education system. Spotlight Education starts Sept. 12. And Claire Danes hosts Art in the 21st Century on Friday, Sept. 16 and 23.

Looking to the holidays, the feature film Anne of Green Gables airs Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, and a Call the Midwife special runs on Christmas.   

“PBS’ fall programming truly stands out for its amazing variety, quality and diversity,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS’ chief programming executive and general manager. “Like the artists who populate our Friday primetime cultural programs this fall, PBS brings new perspectives to stories both well-known and untold. PBS viewers will discover everything from joyous musical creations to thoughtful approaches to presidential elections, learn from biographies of acclaimed Americans and find inspiration even in history’s darkest hours.”

PBS has 350 member stations.

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.