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Programming


Tuesdays, beginning June 30, 2009, 9:00-10:00 p.m.

The fast-paced science magazine series NOVA scienceNOW returns to PBS this summer with a 10-week season full of fresh new perspectives, fascinating scientists, cutting-edge innovations and provocative stories from the frontlines of science, technology and medicine. Hosted by renowned author and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series also introduces a new correspondent this season, Ziya Tong, former host and producer of WIRED SCIENCE.

“In an era when the innovations made possible by science and technology often resonate on a global scale and rapidly change the way we live, NOVA scienceNOW is there to inform, engage and inspire viewers about all of the exciting possibilities and help them understand how these latest developments will affect their daily lives,” said senior executive producer Paula Apsell.

Each week, host Neil deGrasse Tyson and the team of NOVA scienceNOW correspondents find creative and entertaining new ways to bring viewers four current stories on the most intriguing discoveries and biggest breakthroughs from an array of scientific fields — ranging from biomedicine and technology to archeology, astrophysics, natural history and more. In every episode, the series also offers one profile piece, spotlighting a scientific personality with a compelling career or surprising personal history. Tyson, who is also director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, then closes each show with his signature “Cosmic Perspective.”

Programming highlights featured this summer on NOVA scienceNOW include:

•    Synthetic Diamonds: A blindfolded Tyson is led to a top-secret “diamond farm” to investigate breakthroughs in the engineering of artificial diamonds. Indistinguishable from the real thing, these glittering, scientifically mastered creations may one day adorn more than ring fingers. They could replace silicon transistors in everything from supercomputers to high-speed electric trains.

•    Hunting Hidden Planets: NOVA scienceNOW visits astronomers on the brink of finding “another Earth” in our galaxy with a new planet-hunting machine: the Kepler telescope. This and other ingenious new techniques could turn up hundreds of Earth-like worlds and finally answer the age-old question: Are we alone?

•    The Sounds of Science: Do you have what it takes to be a rock star? Neil deGrasse Tyson tests his singing talents in a segment using “AutoTune,” the controversial computer pitch-correction software that turns sour notes into sweet ones.

•    The Dinosaur Plague: Renowned paleontologist George Poinar — whose study of extinct creatures exquisitely preserved in amber partly inspired Jurassic Park — has announced his discovery of multiple clues to parasitic pandemics that could have been just as instrumental in wiping out the dinosaurs as the hypothesized asteroid impact.

•    Anthrax Attack: NOVA scienceNOW goes behind the scenes to explore the science that went into solving the case of the deadly anthrax attacks after 9/11 and the ingenious technique researchers developed to pinpoint the source. This revolutionary method also has the potential to identify the microbes responsible for everything from food-borne poisonings to deadly epidemics.

•    The Moon Smasher: A team of NASA scientists will smash two SUV-sized rockets onto the lunar surface and unleash a debris cloud to study with LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite). The data could provide the key to understanding how to build a permanent base on the moon, and findings could accelerate a new “race to the moon” and an era of “colonizing the stars.” NASA is enlisting the aid of amateur astronomers to witness and document this experiment.

For more of this month's special programming click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.

On August 25, 2008, just two months after undergoing surgery for a malignant brain tumor, “The Lion of the Senate” and the Kennedy family’s lone male survivor—Edward M. Kennedy—surprised attendees with an unscheduled speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

“As I look ahead, I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me in the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat,” Kennedy said.

PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents The Kennedys, an American story unlike any other: a saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy. Edited down to three hours from its original four, The Kennedys draws on a wealth of still photographs, archival footage, and home movies, and features extensive interviews with family members, friends, and first-hand witnesses to the many chapters of the Kennedy story.

The Kennedys first premiered in 1992 to vast critical acclaim, hailed for having “the epic scope and dramatic depth of a classic Shakespearean tragedy” (Chicago Sun-Times) and as “novelistic and anecdotal, emotional while rarely sensational…colorful and compelling” (USA Today). Nearly two decades later, the Kennedy story continues to capture the imagination of Americans of all ages.

The founding father, Joseph Kennedy, rose to wealth and power by way of Boston, Wall Street, Hollywood and Washington. Then, moving on to London as Franklin Roosevelt's ambassador to the Court of St. James -- his popularity greatly enhanced by his large, photogenic family -- Joe Kennedy seemed poised for the pinnacle, the presidency, his lifelong goal.

But, ironically, the man who had so long prided himself as a publicity genius was undone by his own remarks to a reporter, to the effect that democracy was finished in Britain -- and possibly in America, too. In the parlance of a later time, Joe Kennedy sounded soft on fascism. His presidential prospects in ruins, he vested all in the next generation. By 1960, son John had at last attained the White House -- "the long of arm" of Kennedy power, as was said, plus a seemingly endless fund of Kennedy family charm having played
a part all the way.

What followed was a human drama as powerful and painful as any in our history, a compounding national tragedy, as one violent, senseless act followed another.

Taken in all, the long Kennedy quest for the presidency can be seen as a chronicle of evolving political ideology from the isolationism of Joe Kennedy to the cold warrior stance of John to the fierce social activism of Robert Kennedy; and, finally, to Edward, the lone male survivor.

For more of this month's special programming click here.

Wednesday, August 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Celebrated violinist Joshua Bell joins Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, live from Avery Fisher Hall, in this LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER telecast. The concert, led by Mostly Mozart Festival Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director Louis Langrée, will feature Haydn’s beloved “London” Symphony, as well as Mozart’s Adagio for Violin and Orchestra in E major and Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, and Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides” Overture and Violin Concerto in E minor. LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “Joshua Bell and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra” airs Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS. Alan Alda hosts.

Bell, best known for performing the Oscar-winning soundtrack of John Corigliano’s The Red Violin, and whose latest Sony/BMG Classics CD release of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical Music Chart, was last featured on LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER on New Year’s Eve 2008 with the New York Philharmonic and in January 2004 for a special evening of violin favorites from the Kaplan Penthouse.
 
For more than two decades, Bell has enchanted audiences worldwide with his breathtaking playing and tone of rare opulence. Today, he is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra leader. His restless curiosity and multifaceted musical interests have taken him in exciting new directions and have earned him the rare title of “classical music superstar.” He was recently featured on the soundtrack of the Paramount Vantage film Defiance, directed by Edward Zwick and starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. Bell has made acclaimed Sony Classical recordings of the concertos of Beethoven and Mendelssohn (both featuring his own cadenzas), Sibelius and Goldmark, and the Grammy Award-winning Nicholas Maw concerto. The success of his Grammy-nominated Gershwin Fantasy — which premiered a new work for violin and orchestra, based on themes from Porgy and Bess — led to a Grammy-nominated all-Bernstein recording that included the composer’s Serenade and the premiere of West Side Story Suite. He currently serves on the artist committee of the Kennedy Center Honors and plays the 1713 Gibson ex Huberman Stradivarius.
 
Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival — America’s first indoor summer music festival — was launched as an experiment in 1966. Called Midsummer Serenades: A Mozart Festival, its first two seasons were devoted exclusively to the music of Mozart. Renamed the Mostly Mozart Festival in 1970, it has become a New York institution and, now in its 43rd year, continues to broaden its focus to include works by Mozart’s predecessors, contemporaries and related successors. In addition to concerts by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Mostly Mozart now includes concerts by visiting period-instrument ensembles, chamber orchestras and ensembles, and acclaimed soloists, as well as staged music presentations, opera productions, dance, film and visual art.
 
LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER is in its 33rd broadcast season. The series has received 13 Emmy Awards, most recently for this year’s broadcast of New York City Opera’s Madama Butterfly. The series has made the world’s greatest artists on Lincoln Center’s renowned stages accessible to home viewers in virtually every corner of the United States. It remains the only series of live fine arts performances on American television today.

For more of this month's special programming click here.

Sundays, August 30 through October 18, 2009 at 9 p.m. on WVPT

“Inspector Lewis is more than just an homage to ‘Morse’: With Whately and Fox in the leading roles, it works quite well on its own.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Kevin Whately returns as Inspector Lewis in seven thrilling new 90-minute episodes. Teamed with his cool, cerebral partner DS Hathaway (Laurence Fox, A Room with a View) Morse’s former sidekick tackles murder and mayhem in the seemingly perfect academic haven of Oxford. Several crimes take a personal turn, revealing new sides of the inimitable duo as the relationship between Inspector and Sergeant deepens.

“And The Moonbeams Kiss the Sea”

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 9 p.m.
Stolen rare books and the murders of a brilliant Oxford Fine Art student and a library maintenance engineer lead Lewis and Hathaway to a treatment center for gambling addicts and two talented painters. Can Oxford’s finest trace the killers before they claim their next victim?

“Music to Die For”

Sunday, September 6, 2009 at 9 p.m
The worlds of no-rules boxing, academia and Cold War intrigue surround the death of a prominent Oxford Don. Consequences from the investigation hit Lewis surprisingly close to home, leading to revelations about the pain suffered by Lewis since the death of his wife.

“Life Born of Fire”
Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 9 p.m
A serial killer seems to be targeting a religious group, “The Garden,” which claims to give guidance to lost souls. As he learns more about the group and its true purpose, Lewis begins to lose trust in Hathaway as he discovers his young sergeant’s dangerous personal connections to ”The Garden”.

“The Great and the Good”

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 9 p.m
When a teenage girl is assaulted, Lewis and Hathaway track down a possible suspect— only to find he has a seemingly watertight alibi provided by three pillars of the Oxford community. When the suspect is suddenly murdered, Lewis untangles a web of intrigue to expose the Oxford elite.

“Allegory of Love”
Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 9 p.m
Literary whimsy becomes murderous reality with the death of a Czech barmaid. The scene of the crime yields two puzzling clues: a bloodstained note and a broken antique mirror. To find the killer, Lewis and Hathaway must uncover the hidden connections between the victim and a prominent Oxford professor, a literary society, and a book by Oxford’s hottest new author.

“Quality of Mercy”
Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 9 p.m
When a young actor is murdered during a student Shakespeare production, Lewis and Hathaway sift through the motives of several suspects—from a jealous thespian to an Oxford dropout to a playgoer only too anxious to use his ticket stub as an alibi. As the duo tracks down the truth, they unearth a dark secret that hits Lewis eerily close to home.

“The Point of Vanishing”

Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 9 p.m
The murder of a small-time criminal leads Lewis and Hathaway to a prominent Oxford don-turnedcelebrity atheist, who years earlier had been the intended target of a botched murder attempt. Could these isolated incidents be connected? As the pair investigates further, they uncover a web of deceit and a case of mistaken identity that will lead them to their killer.

Inspector Lewis, Series II is a co-production of Granada Productions and WGBH/Boston. MASTERPIECE has been presented on PBS by WGBH since 1971. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Public television viewers provide funding for MASTERPIECE.

For more of this month's special programming click here.  

Wednesday, August 19 at 8:00 p.m.

Hollywood defied the stereotype of archaeology as a dry, boring science when they brought the Indiana Jones character to life, but that was fiction.  To really shatter the image of the meek, weak, scholarly archaeologist, British television unleashed the rowdy (but still scholarly) crew of TIME TEAM’s real archaeologists onto Britain’s hills, vales, cities and towns. Since TIME TEAM’S launch 17 years ago the series has become a British TV sensation, spinning archaeology terms like “geofizz” and “stratigraphy” into the common vernacular and sending ordinary Brits into the back garden to dig up Roman ruins.

On Wednesday, August 19 at 8/7 central (check local listings) PBS treats American audiences to two hours of Britain’s TIME TEAM, and takes viewers on an energetic expedition to high-profile sites on both sides of the Atlantic.  They begin at Jamestown, Virginia, where a British company's commercial enterprise planted the seeds that would become the United States of America.  Nearly a million finds have emerged from the trenches at Jamestown, but far more remains to be discovered.  The team retrieves piles of perfectly preserved 17th-century artifacts, traces the names and life stories of the early American pioneers, and learns why one-third of the colonists died within months of arrival.

After three days in Jamestown, TIME TEAM travels back to England to discover what lies beneath The Queen’s famous palace gardens.  Under royal pressure and spurred on by their three-day time limit, the team tears into the ground beneath the royal residences to unearth the storied past of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.  Their spectacular finds include the foundation of a fourteenth century building where Edward III honored the legendary Arthurian knights.
PBS’S TIME TEAM SPECIAL EDITION was produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Videotext Communications Limited in association with C4i Distributed Limited.

For more of this month's special programming click here.