PBS

It's a compelling story, believe it or not


There are plenty of interesting stories on PBS' "American Experience," but the new Robert Ripley profile is one of my favorites. This is a downright compelling chunk of Americana; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Picture a modern
media star – smooth, slick and handsome, with strong voice and easy
manner.

"Downton Abbey" keeps surprising us ... and its actors


 "Downton Abbey" returns Sunday, in an episode that's big, ambitious and (as usual) well-crafted. There are surprises ahead ... which, actually, shouldn't surprise us. From the beginning, "Downton" has sometimes managed to startle its viewers and its cast. Here's the story I sent to papers: 

 

Bing and Bowie? It was just one odd moment in a far-flung life


Each December, Bing Crosby's voice flows back at us, providing images of white Christmases and simpler times. What's interesting, however, is just how complicated Crosby's own life was. A superb "American Masters" portrait is airing Tuesday (Dec. 2) on some PBS stations and later on others; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

"Koch": A life that was big and brash and kind of fun

Keywords

 Some people and some cities are fascinating because of their sheer audacity. You can put New York on that list ... and you'll find the "Koch" documentary fascinating. Most PBS stations will air it Monday (Sept. 22), on the first day of the TV season; here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES

The war against disease: Big victories and then (oddly) a surrender


Forgive me for being a huge fan of vaccinations. That's on a small level -- in decades of annual flu shots, I've only had the flu once -- and on a bigger level: In one generation, I saw polio go from a terror to virtually an unknown.

Still, there are vaccination resisters. The issue will be raised Wednesday (Sept. 10), in a compelling documentary on PBS' "Nova." Here's the story I sent to papers:



Ah, memories: A presidency crumbled on late-night TV


Four decades ago, we had reality-TV times 1,000. Real-life people kept showing up on a late-night talk show, to deny, defend or attack Watergate and its aftermath. Now that will be marked in an interesting PBS special Friday (Aug. 8); here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES

"Capitol Fourth": Big crowds, big variety


Yes, there really is musical variety on TV ... but only if you promise fireworks and more. There's a terrific range to this year's "Capitol Fourth" concert on PBS. Here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES


Freedom Summer brought big danger, big change


Amid all its gloss and giddiness, summer TV can also deliver some important documentaries. Consider "The Sixties," Thursdays on CNN: June 19 eyed Vietnam; June 26 has civil rights. Or consider PBS: A week after rerunning "Freedom Riders," it has the debut (9 p.m. June 24) of the superb "Freedom Summer," by the same filmmaker. Here's the story I sent to papers:


It's a 25-year-old concert with (among others) a 17-year-old star


Each summer, two of TV's best music events are big and outdoors and don't need to hand out any awards. Those are concerts on the Capitol lawn on the 4th of July and on the eve of Memorial Day. Now the latter has its 25th concert ... which makes it eight years older than one of its stars, Danielle Bradbery. Here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES

Salazar symbolized a transforming Los Angeles



(TV story about Ruben Salazar, subject of a very interesting
PBS documentary Tuesday.)


By MIKE HUGHES