PBS unveils 2017 fall slate

American pubcaster PBS’ programming lineup for the fall season ahead, revealed during its TCA press tour presentation in Los Angeles, includes The Vietnam War, Chasing Trane and Beyond a Year in ...
July 14, 2017

American pubcaster PBS’ programming lineup for the fall season ahead, revealed during its TCA press tour presentation in Los Angeles, includes The Vietnam War, Chasing Trane and Beyond a Year in Space.

Anchoring the fall 2017 season is the previously announced 10-part docuseries The Vietnam War (pictured) from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The 18-hour series, which features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses exposed to the brutalities of the Asian war, premieres Sundays through Thursdays beginning Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Flagship investigative journalism strand ‘Frontline’, meanwhile, will air an as-yet-untitled documentary project about Russian president Vladimir Putin beginning Oct. 25 at 10 p.m. ET. The hour-long, two-part special from Michael Kirk examines Putin’s rise, his rule and his motivations against the backdrop of investigations by the FBI and U.S. Congress into possible collusion between Trump campaign members and Russian officials.

Also premiering across the strand is the seven-part Third Rail with Ozy, (Sept. 8, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT), which features Emmy Award-winning journalist Carlos Watson as he’s joined by expert and celebrity guests to debate a timely, provocative topic, incorporating audience input and exclusive national polls.

PBS science programming is slated to offer an in-depth look at the solar system and beyond via science strand ‘Nova’. Death Dive to Saturn, which premieres Sept. 13, will detail the Cassini space probe’s final hours as it dives into Saturn’s atmosphere; while Beyond A Year In Space (Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT), the follow-up documentary to last year’s A Year in Space special, 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.

A collaboration with Time, Beyond A Year in Space is produced by Red Border Films in association with Reel Peak Films and Room 608.

Other notable programs to debut this fall across PBS are Almost Sunrise (for ‘POV’ on Nov. 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT), about two veterans who embark on a 2,700-mile trek on foot across America; and the season opener for ‘Independent Lens’, John Scheinfeld’s Chasing Trane (Nov. 6 10 p.m. ET/PT), a portrait of jazz great John Coltrane featuring a voice-over by Denzel Washington.

Also unveiled is the January 2018 broadcast of Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize, a PBS music special taping this fall to honor the iconic singer and this year’s recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

And finally, returning to the network for a third season run on Oct. 3 is Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., which will trace the family trees of such popular figures as Ava DuVernay, Aziz Ansari, Scarlett Johansson, Larry David, Ted Danson and Ana Navarro.

The fall season includes additional shows, specials and series. For further information about all fall programs, visit the PBS website.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.