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
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.