PBS

"Motown 25"? Now it's sort of "Motown 57" and forever


Most music fades away quickly, but Motown is forever ... just as its TV special said, 32 years ago. Now that special is back as a pledge-drive special on many PBS stations. Here's the story I sent to papers:

 

By Mike Hughes

For one grand
evening in 1983, music history filled our TV sets.

August Wilson let his words and his characters soar


Rhetoric seemed to flow splendidly from August Wilson's notebook and from his character's mouths. He was, perhaps, the great American playwright; now PBS' "American Masters" has created a splendid profile, which airs Friday. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

A fraction of Italy becomes an American powerhouse


Over the next two Tuesdays (Feb. 17 and 24), PBS will offer some fascinating looks at Italian Americans. Especially interesting, perhaps, is the way one region -- short on wealth, on education, on trust of government -- would have a powerful impact. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Want a romance writer? This one is 450 years old


For a guy who died almost 400 years ago, William Shakespeare keeps stirring interest. Now this year's final chapters of "Shakespeare Uncovered" ponder three classic love stories -- an appropriate subject as Valentine's Day nears. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

As Valentine's Day
nears, people might debate which writer created the ultimate romance.

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