DAVID BIANCULLI

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PRESS TOUR: Varied PBS Menu Includes Gilbert & Sullivan, Pearl Jam and 'Great American Dream Machine'
July 30, 2011  | By David Bianculli
 

The PBS portion of the 2011 Television Critics Association summer press tour began Saturday, with news about an ambitious new arts series showcasing local and regional fare. It's called the PBS Arts Fall Festival, and it's a big enough umbrella to include Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park, a production of HMS Pinafore from Minnesota's Guthrie Theatre, and, as a Cameron Crowe study of the rise of Seattle grunge, an American Masters special called Pearl Jam 20.

great-american-dream-machin.jpg

And, though it's not part of that new series, the classic 1971 Great American Dream Machine will be saluted in a new PBS retrospective special next season...

The Arts Fall Festival showcases will include segments for which local member stations can feature their own community arts, much the way NPR's All Things Considered delivers a national program with spots for local stations to participate as well. PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger, in a press conference Wednesday, stressed how important in was, as the network moved forward, to "plug into the local community."

Meanwhile, though I'll have more on this very soon, previews have identified two gratifyingly excellent new arts productions. American Masters has a program devoted to the comedy of Woody Allen (a 15-minute clip looks wonderful), and a new four-part series, America in Primetime, is -- based on one episode -- easily the most intelligent and entertaining documentary about television to be made in about 20 years.

For more breaking news press tour coverage, see Diane Werts' latest For Better or Werts column, on Doctor Who and more, click HERE.

 

2 Comments

 

Eileen said:

American Masters & Woody Allen -- does it get any better? And America in Primetime sounds like one of the shows that only PBS could do justice to. I'm really looking forward to both. The Research Departments at PBS are astounding in coming up with details that only, well only PBS could come up with. With all the reality tv, it's nice to know there is still a place to go that features class acts. Somehow along the way (see $$$) both A&E and Bravo lost their mission, if in fact they ever had one, to provide quality entertainment. Once again PBS fills the void for viewers who actually still enjoy learning a thing or two.

Oh, and congratulations & all good wishes to Mark & his bride.

[Thanks, as always -- and thanks for the personal note regarding Mark. Explains why he's slid near the bottom of the TVWW contributors' list... - DB]

Comment posted on July 30, 2011 5:04 PM


wilberfan said:

Fond memories of GADM. I recall seeing a very young (as I was at the time!) Chevy Chase--possibly ready for prime time!

The Woody doc sounds good, too!

Comment posted on July 30, 2011 7:17 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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