It’s not easy to be in the something-for-everyone business.
Other networks might specialize in food or weather or creepy crimes or such. But Paula Kerger describes PBS as “a variety network.” That means ranging from rap to Flack (Roberta Flack, shown here, that is), from “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” to Ukraine’s war-torn neighborhoods.
In a virtual press conference with the Television Critics Association, Kerger occasionally talked about shows that are on the air right now. She praised:
— “Green Planet” (concluding at 8 p.m. Aug. 3) for the “cutting-edge technology” that makes spectacular use of time-lapse and close-up photography.
— Ukraine coverage by “NewsHour” (7 p.m. weekdays) and “Frontline,” which has a new hour coming at 10 p.m. Aug. 2.
— And two shows “America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston” (9 p.m. Tuesdays) and “Great American Recipe” (9 p.m. Fridays) that are drawing “younger and more diverse viewers.”
The idea has always been for “Recipe” to be an ongoing series, Kerger said, with a new batch of home-chefs each season. The show hasn’t been renewed yet, but it’s had “some of the highest ratings we’ve had on Friday nights this year.”
Kerger also had a batch of announcements – some with airdates, some not – for the upcoming season. They offer true variety, including:
— A concert by the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, which has Ukrainian refugees and their supporters. PBS will tape the final Kennedy Center concert on Aug. 20 and show it in September.
— More from the Kennedy Center, with a series of specials that combine music and background perspective. The first season has The Roots (Oct. 7), the music of Charles Mingus (Oct, 14) and the music of Joni Mitchell.
— More music, with “Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World” (Jan. 31). Chuck D, co-founder of Public Enemy, is the producer and one of the commentators.
— New “American Masters” specials on Flack (Jan. 24) and — in a rare “Masters” step away from show business – Anthony Fauci.
— An “American Experience” portrait of the late author Zora Neale Hurston.
— A four-episode second season of “Native America.” That arrives five years after the first season.
— “Southern Storytellers,” arriving next summer. It will include writers, filmmakers and more.
— And kids’ shows. The newcomers are “Rosie’s Rules” (arriving Oct. 3) and “Work It Out Wombats” (Feb. 6). One of the old-timers is “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” It celebrates its 10th anniversary on Sept. 3 with “Top Ten Tiger Tales,” then launches a new season two days later.