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PBS unveils 2017 programming slate

American pubcaster PBS’ programming line-up for the year ahead, revealed as part of its TCA press tour presentation on Sunday (Jan. 15) in Los Angeles, includes Solar Eclipse, The Farthest ...
January 16, 2017

American pubcaster PBS’ programming line-up for the year ahead, revealed as part of its TCA press tour presentation on Sunday (Jan. 15) in Los Angeles, includes Solar Eclipse, The Farthest and Beyond a Year in Space.

Produced by WGBH Boston, the tentatively titled Solar Eclipse (pictured) will capture the first total solar eclipse in America since 1979.

The special presentation will mix CGI animation and  sequences from the eclipse –including scenes filmed at iconic locations along the path of the eclipse–user-generated content and NASA footage. The program is slated to premiere hours after the solar event commences on Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT across PBS’ science brand ‘Nova.’ Paula S. Apsell serves as senior executive producer.

The Farthest (w/t), from Ireland-based prodco Crossing the Line, documents the story of NASA’s Voyager mission, which began 40 years ago this August. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 revolutionized planetary science, utilizing gravity-assisted slingshot trajectories to extend the exploratory missions of Saturn and Jupitar to Uranus and Neptune. Four decades later, the twin spacecraft have traveled more than 22 billion miles, with Voyager 1 becoming the first human-made object to enter interstellar space in 2012. The two-hour film celebrates the machines and the men and women who built them.

Directed by Emer Reynolds, the film is produced by John Murray and Clare Stronge. Exec producers include John Rubin, Sean B. Carroll and Dennis Liu for HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, and Keith Potter for the Irish Film Board.Executive in charge for PBS is Bill Gardner.

Meanwhile, Beyond A Year in Space is the follow-up documentary to last year’s A Year in Space special and picks up where that special left off:  Scott Kelly’s final day in space and his return to Earth, tracking his homecoming after the longest mission in American history aboard the International Space Station. The final installment also introduces viewers to the next generation of astronauts training to leave Earth’s orbit and travel into deep space.

Beyond A Year in Space is scheduled to air in November 2017 and is produced by Time’s Red Border Films in association with Reel Peak Films and Room 608.

Elsewhere, PBS has unveiled its summer slate that includes six new limited series set to explore the world’s most amazing places and cultures.

This includes The Story of China, an exploration of the country’s 4,000-year history; Big Pacific (w/t), about the secrets of the Pacific Ocean; Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark, which follows National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s quest to document Earth’s species including those at risk of extinction; Weekend in Havana (w/t), with Geoffrey Baer, who takes viewers on a walking tour through Cuba, with a focus on the people, architecture, culture and history of the country; Nature’s Great Race, about the animal planet’s biggest migrations; and Great Yellowstone Thaw, a BBC and BBC Worldwide North America copro that highlights four different animal families as they attempt to survive the harsh spring.

The six series will also be available to stream the morning after their PBS broadcast on all station-branded platforms including pbs.org, PBS apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.

Finally, PBS announced that it will be launching a free-to-air national 24/7 PBS Kids channel, which will be made available to 90% of U.S. households by the end of the year.

(With files from Selina Chignall)

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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