PBS unveils Hawking doc, Newton programming at TCAs

U.S. pubcaster PBS detailed a slate of upcoming programming at its winter Television Critics Association presentation, including After Newtown, Latino Americans, and How Sherlock Changed the World. (Pictured: Stephen Hawking)
January 15, 2013

U.S. pubcaster PBS detailed a slate of upcoming programming at its winter Television Critics Association presentation, including After Newtown, Latino Americans, and How Sherlock Changed the World.

PBS will air a series of specials from February 18-22 on gun laws, mental illness and school security to provide context to the conversation about gun violence in America, under the title of After Newtown.

Programming will include Guns in America, which explores America’s enduring relationship with firearms; a ‘Frontline’ special Raising Adam Lanza; a ‘Nova’ special Mind of a Rampage Killer; and the doc The Path to Violence, which details a Secret Service program called the Safe School Initiative, which has helped schools detect problem behavior.

“As we mourn the lives lost in Newtown, it is important to present the facts, the science, and the history behind the issues to provide information and context as we collectively look at how better to protect and serve our communities,” said Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager of general audience programming for PBS.

Also airing this year is an autobiographical doc of physicist Stephen Hawking (pictured above), A Brief History of Mine (w/t). With exclusive access to Hawking’s life story, told largely in his own words, the Darlow Smithson-produced doc also features interviews with “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., actors Jim Carrey and Benedict Cumberbatch, mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

Set for fall 2013 is the 3 x six-hour series, Latino Americans, narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt. The doc series chronicles the history and experiences of Latinos who have helped shape the U.S. over the past 500 years and have become the largest minority group in the country.

The series covers the 1500s to present day, and features interviews with West Side Story‘s Rita Moreno; labor leader and 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta; Mexican-American author and commentator Linda Chávez, who became the highest-ranking woman in the Reagan White House; and Cuban singer and entrepreneur Gloria Estefan. Latino Americans is a production of  WETA Washington DC; Bosch and Co; and Latino Public Broadcasting.

Elsewhere, two-hour special How Sherlock Changed the World is slated for the fall, promising to reveal the impact the legendary fictional detective had on real criminal investigation and forensic technique. The Love Productions-made doc uses archival material and reconstruction to tell the stories of the scientists, detectives and criminals who were inspired or influenced by the legend of Holmes.

Also returning for a second year is PBS’s Online Film Festival, launching on March 4; and a multi-platform Independent Film Showcase in the fall. Both will feature films from ‘POV,’ ‘Independent Lens’ and other public media partners. Twenty-five films will screen on all PBS digital platforms, YouTube and PBS social media channels, and includes Michael Apted’s 56 Up, Katie Dellamaggiore’s Brooklyn Castle, Ramona Diaz’s Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, and Peter Nicks’s The Waiting Room, among others.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.