PBS

A fraction of Italy becomes an American powerhouse


Over the next two Tuesdays (Feb. 17 and 24), PBS will offer some fascinating looks at Italian Americans. Especially interesting, perhaps, is the way one region -- short on wealth, on education, on trust of government -- would have a powerful impact. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Want a romance writer? This one is 450 years old


For a guy who died almost 400 years ago, William Shakespeare keeps stirring interest. Now this year's final chapters of "Shakespeare Uncovered" ponder three classic love stories -- an appropriate subject as Valentine's Day nears. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

As Valentine's Day
nears, people might debate which writer created the ultimate romance.

It's a compelling story, believe it or not


There are plenty of interesting stories on PBS' "American Experience," but the new Robert Ripley profile is one of my favorites. This is a downright compelling chunk of Americana; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Picture a modern
media star – smooth, slick and handsome, with strong voice and easy
manner.

"Downton Abbey" keeps surprising us ... and its actors


 "Downton Abbey" returns Sunday, in an episode that's big, ambitious and (as usual) well-crafted. There are surprises ahead ... which, actually, shouldn't surprise us. From the beginning, "Downton" has sometimes managed to startle its viewers and its cast. Here's the story I sent to papers: 

 

Bing and Bowie? It was just one odd moment in a far-flung life


Each December, Bing Crosby's voice flows back at us, providing images of white Christmases and simpler times. What's interesting, however, is just how complicated Crosby's own life was. A superb "American Masters" portrait is airing Tuesday (Dec. 2) on some PBS stations and later on others; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

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The war against disease: Big victories and then (oddly) a surrender


Forgive me for being a huge fan of vaccinations. That's on a small level -- in decades of annual flu shots, I've only had the flu once -- and on a bigger level: In one generation, I saw polio go from a terror to virtually an unknown.

Still, there are vaccination resisters. The issue will be raised Wednesday (Sept. 10), in a compelling documentary on PBS' "Nova." Here's the story I sent to papers:



Ah, memories: A presidency crumbled on late-night TV


Four decades ago, we had reality-TV times 1,000. Real-life people kept showing up on a late-night talk show, to deny, defend or attack Watergate and its aftermath. Now that will be marked in an interesting PBS special Friday (Aug. 8); here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES

"Capitol Fourth": Big crowds, big variety


Yes, there really is musical variety on TV ... but only if you promise fireworks and more. There's a terrific range to this year's "Capitol Fourth" concert on PBS. Here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES


Freedom Summer brought big danger, big change


Amid all its gloss and giddiness, summer TV can also deliver some important documentaries. Consider "The Sixties," Thursdays on CNN: June 19 eyed Vietnam; June 26 has civil rights. Or consider PBS: A week after rerunning "Freedom Riders," it has the debut (9 p.m. June 24) of the superb "Freedom Summer," by the same filmmaker. Here's the story I sent to papers: