PBS President & CEO, Paula Kerger Opens Day 1 of the Virtual Winter TCA 2022

Welcoming critics back to the Virtual Winter 2022 Television Critics Association’s Press Tour, PBS President & CEO, Paula Kerger kicked off the organization’s three-day press tour.

“Together with our member stations and producing partners, we will bring much need light to the pressing issues of our day; illuminate extraordinary people, events, and cultural moments that have shaped our history; and, shine a spotlight on great storytellers whose stories deserve to be told.” — Paula Kerger, President & CEO, PBS

As a follow-up to several diversity initiatives announced during the Summer PBS Press Tour in 2021, Kerger shared a number of additional efforts to deepen public television’s commitment to diverse storytellers — both in front of and behind the camera. These announcements include:

A multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment in Firelight Media’s William Greaves Fund to support mid-career, diverse, nonfiction filmmakers.

A new mentorship program, which will increase access and create pathways for early-career filmmakers, and provide more opportunities to produce content across public media platforms.

And a year-long fellowship program, which will embed filmmakers into existing projects, with significant stipend support, giving more opportunities for future leadership and executive roles.

Together, this is all part of PBS’s comprehensive and sustainable effort to represent and reflect the great diversity of our country — through the stories we tell, and the people who tell them.

Kerger then introduced new programs coming to PBS that are aligned with the organization’s efforts to address issues of racism and injustice in America — by shedding light on our past, helping us understand where we sit in this moment, and informing a brighter path forward.

These new programs include:

Making Black America: Through the Grapevine” from Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. exploring Black Americans’ centuries-long history of establishing communities and attaining social, political and economic success in the face of racial segregation.

WNET’s “One Day in March” examines the aftermath of the 2021 mass shooting in Atlanta and chronicles how the Asian American community came together to fight back against hate.

And two programs from Stanley Nelson and Maryland Public Television, “Harriett Tubman,” a nuanced portrait of the political activist who risked her life to free others from slavery, and “Frederick Douglass,” shared in Douglass’s own words, a look at how a man born into slavery became a revered statesman, renowned orator, and leader of the abolitionist movement.

Kerger shared that PBS and its producing partners continue to earn more Peabody’s and News & Documentary Emmy’s than any other media service. To continue this award-winning legacy, the organization introduced several new programs coming to PBS.

Taken Hostage” from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a two-part documentary directed by Robert Stone exploring the 1979 Iran hostage crisis when 52 American diplomats, Marines, and civilians were taken hostage at the American Embassy in Tehran.

THE GREEN PLANET, a five-part series produced in partnership with the BBC Studios Natural History Unit — and narrated by Sir David Attenborough — reveals the first immersive portrayal of the world of plants, which are the very backbone of our ecosystem.

Keeping Company,” from GREAT PERFORMANCES — which examines the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” featuring performers from the original and modern-day casts.

FIGHT THE POWER, THE STORY OF BLACK AMERICA AND THE HIP-HOP REVOLUTION — executive produced by Chuck D — which explores how hip-hop became one of the most influential art forms in the country and inspired sweeping change.

The 25th-anniversary celebration of ARTHUR with a special PBS KIDS marathon, concluding with four new episodes and giving a glimpse into what’s in store for Arthur and his friends.

And, WORK IT OUT WOMBATS!, from GBH Kids, premieres next winter, and stars three siblings who live with their grandmother in her treehouse apartment complex — teaches children to solve problems, express themselves, and accomplish tasks using computational thinking.

Lastly, Paula Kerger closed her remarks by introducing a few multiplatform initiatives underway at PBS.

PBS Digital Studios is launching two new podcasts, IT’S LIT [Unabridged] and EONS: Mysteries of Deep Time in February and March, respectively.

And PBS is expanding to TikTok, joining a number of other public television producers already on the platform, to celebrate and feature short-form content.

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The PBS Communications team provides up-to-the-minute updates on PBS programs, initiatives and events. Plus, resources, links and other materials.

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