TCA 2019: PBS to Air Ken Burns Documentary ‘Country Music’ Sept. 15

Ken Burns is behind the 16-hour documentary Country Music, which premieres on PBS Sept. 15. The Carter Family, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton will be among those being spotlighted.

Country Music will air in eight parts. Burns directs, and produces along with Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey.

PBS will premiere Country Music: Live at the Ryman, a Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns March 27. Burns hosts, and introduces performances by Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Brenda Lee, Kathy Mattea, Asleep at the Wheel and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

Addressing the TCA gathering in Pasadena, Perry Simon, PBS chief programming executive, announced the new weekly series Retro Report, offering “historical context to today’s headlines.” It debuts in the fall.

Presented by Georgia Public Broadcasting and produced by Retro Report, the one-hour show is hosted by Celeste Headlee and Masud Olufani. Humorist Andy Borowitz is on it too. Retro Report promises “a fresh perspective on current headlines, revealing their unknown--and often surprising--connections to the past.”

PBS and Smithsonian Channel offer When Whales Walked: A Deep Time Journey this summer. The two-hour film is aligned with the opening of the Smithsonian’s Deep Time Hall at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington. It will show “the amazing origin stories of some intriguing animals,” said PBS.

The second season of No Passport Required, hosted by Marcus Samuelsson, airs in the fall. Chef Samuelsson explores the food and culture of immigrant communities in Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Samuelsson executive produces too.

The four-part documentary College Behind Bars airs in November. Lynn Novick directs the series about “the transformative power of higher education through the experiences of incarcerated men and women.”

Kids show Molly of Denali premieres July 15. The adventure comedy features a Native American lead. Produced by WGBH Boston, the show is set in Alaska. It targets children ages 4 to 8.

Kids show Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum debuts Nov. 11. Based on the children’s book series Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Meltzer, the series looks at “inspiring historical figures and the character virtues that helped them succeed.”

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.