PBS

Facing steep obstacles, former Amish find new lives


On a pleasant California afternoon, Naomi Kramer visited the Santa Monica Pier. It's a place of bright lights and cheery noises ... worlds away from her Amish childhood in Missouri.

Earlier that day, she and others told reporters about the complex notion of leaving the Amish and starting a new life. Here's the story I sent to papers:



"Downton Abbey": A grand structure faces constant change


For decades, PBS' "Masterpiece" delivered high-quality dramas to modest-sized audiences. Then "Downton Abbey" found just the right mixture of classy characters and soap-opera twists. The result has drawn big audiences, lots of awards ... and high interest in the fourth season, which starts Sunday (Jan. 5). Here's the story I sent to papers:

 

Ruby Bridges: The little girl who helped change the world


This is an event I found especially fascinating, with Ruby Bridges recalling her defining moment, 53 years ago. Here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES


Kennedy coverage: TV at its best


A half-century ago, television seized our attention with its coverage of the John Kennedy assassination. As the Nov. 22 anniversary nears, its has a huge quantity -- and, often, impressive quality -- of specials. Here's the round-up I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES


"56 Up" sees class barriers fade ... even in England


From the beginning, the "Up" films have been fascinating looks at changing lives. Every seven years, they've returned to the same people.

Now "56 Up" reaches PBS on Monday. Here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES


Shakespeare and jogging: A perilous combination



Epic in scope, steep in ambition, PBS' four-week Shakespeare project has been impressive -- and varied. "Richard II" was terrific; the two "Henry IV" films nearly drowned in Falstaff overload.  Now comes the excellent "Henry V" finale (Friday, Oct. 11). Here's the updated version of the story I sent to papers:

Somewhere in that blur, Billie Jean King saved the world


The official start of the TV season is still two weeks away and we already have the first truly outstanding special. That's an "American Masters" profile of Billie Jean King, at 8 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 10) on PBS. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

For Billie Jean King, the 1970s were a
grand blur.

She was winning tennis titles, starting
projects, creating a league. She was changing the world.

The march at 50: A dream persists


Yes, summer TV can be strange and loopy. On Thursday, some semi-lucky viewers will catch a double-feature of "Sharknado" and "Ghost Shark."

Still, it also has strong dramas -- "Broadchurch" and "The Bridge" on Wednesdays, lots of shows on Sundays -- and, occasionally, key documentaries.

Jenkins soars beyond her comfort zone


This is a week for great voices on PBS. Friday has Audra McDonald; see previous blog. And Sunday has Katherine Jenkins and more, on the Capitol lawn. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Katherine Jenkins has strayed so far
from her comfort zone that she's probably fogotten where it is.

For Audra McDonald, the New York dreams came true


Amazing things happen when Audra McDonald steps to the microphone. She flawlessly ranges from Broadway to classical, from whimsical or deeply emotional. Now she has a PBS concert special Friday; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Growing up a continent away, Audra
McDonald was sure she wanted to be in New York. She wanted to be on
Broadway and on the Lincoln Center stages.