Blue-collar rockers made audiences glad all over


A half-century ago, music’s “British invasion” sent careers
into hyper-speed.

Small-town Southerner conquers Broadway; PBS is next

Trust me on this: Patina Miller is one terrific singer. In January, I heard her soar effortlessly from Broadway to jazz and beyond; now she'll do that Friday (March 28) on "Live From Lincoln Center." It's been a busy time for someone who's just a decade removed from small-town South Carolina. Here's the story I sent to papers:



These are masterful times for "Masterpiece" producer

There really was a time when "Masterpiece" seemed to be wobbling. The underwriter had left and the British shows were becoming scarce; so were the viewers. Then a remarkable comeback began, peaking Sunday (Feb. 23), with the two-hour "Downton Abbey" season-finale. Much of that centers on Rebecca Eaton, now in her 29th year as the "Masterpiece" executive producer. Here's the story I sent to papers:

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:


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:


"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:


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:


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.