CPB Media Room

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Highlights Its Investments in Spring 2013 Public Service Programming

  • January 14, 2013

CPB-funded education, history, science and public affairs programming will be screened at the Television Critics Association Winter 2013 Press Tour

Washington, D.C. - The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) today highlighted its investments in upcoming public television series and specials that will be presented at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter 2013 Press Tour, Jan. 14-15 in Pasadena, Calif.

“Public broadcasting has a valuable mission – to engage our civil society by providing every American with access to trusted, high-quality programs that are educational, inspirational, informative and commercial-free,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting supports this mission by investing critically important federal dollars, amounting to one-hundredth of one percent of the budget, in unique content that sparks the imagination of our children and opens up new worlds for all audiences.”

CPB supports the development of educational programs that are proven effective in helping children of all ages learn and prepare for success in school and in life. CPB also invests in history, science and nature programs that promote lifelong learning, and news and public affairs shows that inform viewers in every community across the country.

CPB investments supported the development and production of new programs featured at the PBS Press Tour, including CONSTITUTION USA with Peter Sagal, Kind-Hearted Woman, Ken Burns’s The Central Park Five, and 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School, which is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen. CPB also supported the development of specials on series, including NOVA (“Rise of the Drones”), American Experience (“Henry Ford”), American Masters (“Mel Brooks” and “Philip Roth: Unmasked”) and ITVS’s Independent Lens (“The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights with Alfre Woodard” and “The House We Live In,” the latest episode in a three-part series titled RACE: The Power of Illusion).

In CONSTITUTION USA, Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, travels across the country on a Harley-Davidson to find out how the U.S. Constitution works in the 21st century; how it unites us as a nation and how it has nearly torn us apart. Sagal introduces viewers to some of today’s major constitutional debates and talks with ordinary Americans and leading constitutional experts about what the Constitution actually says and what it means.

“CPB’s support was integral to bringing CONSTITUTION USA to public television,” said Gerry Richman, vice president, Twin Cities Public Television (tpt). “Through public media, we have the opportunity to tell the story of the U.S. Constitution – beyond what we learned in civics class – and present a different, more contemporary perspective on how this document continues to guide us in addressing the issues and challenges we face today.”

The series, which coincides with the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution, is a production of tpt National Productions, in association with Insignia Films. It will air on Tuesdays from May 7 to May 28 at 9 p.m. ET.

Kind-Hearted Woman is a two-part special that illustrates the epidemic of child abuse on Native American reservations and the growing scandal of some tribes’ failure to protect their children. Filmmaker David Sutherland (The Farmer’s Wife, Country Boys) follows Robin Charboneau, a 32-year-old divorced single mother and Oglala Sioux woman, over three years as she struggles to raise her children, further her education, heal the wounds of abuse she suffered as a child and battle alcoholism. The program, a co-presentation of FRONTLINE and Independent Lens, airs Monday and Tuesday, April 1-2 at 9 p.m. ET.

“CPB invests in programming that reflects the growing diversity of America and its people,” said Sutherland. “As in my other films profiling rural poverty, I was trying to reach out to another forgotten corner of the American landscape, this time to put a face on a Native family so that we could see them close-up with all the detail that illuminates the rich reality of their lives.”

This April, PBS will air The Central Park Five, the latest film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, also directed by Sarah Burns and David McMahon, about the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film is the first to examine the Central Park Jogger case from the perspective of the five teenagers whose lives were forever changed by this miscarriage of justice. The Central Park Five premieres on Tuesday, April 16 at 9 p.m. ET.

“The Central Park Five, like so many of our other films that explore American culture, would not have been possible without the public funding we receive through CPB,” said Ken Burns. “These funds provide us with the editorial independence to recount and connect to our common history, as well as examine the impact of recent events on our modern-day society.”

A new special, 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School, will air on PBS this spring as part of American Graduate, a nationwide public media initiative funded by CPB to help communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis.

Following the day-to-day stories of students, parents, teachers and staff at the Washington Metropolitan High School (DC Met) in Washington, D.C., 180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School is an intimate portrait of a public school that attempts to make a difference in the lives of its students. Whether they are preparing for college or becoming teen moms, the students at DC Met face many challenges with spirit and resilience and invite us to challenge many of our own assumptions as we travel with the first graduating class to commencement. Led by a charismatic and outspoken young principal, DC Met offers an unprecedented first-hand account of life inside of the school reform movement.

“Each year, one out of every four high school students does not graduate from high school,” said Jacquie Jones, executive producer of the film and executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium. “Through CPB’s American Graduate initiative, national programming such as 180 Days sheds light on the enormous challenges these students face – homelessness, work and family responsibilities, pregnancy and truancy. Above all, 180 Days shows us that committed adults and engaged communities can be the shining lights at the end of the tunnel for our most vulnerable kids, helping them stay on the path to a brighter future.”

Finally, this fall, PBS’s award-winning documentary series POV (Point of View) will offer American Promise. In this documentary, two middle class African American parents turn their cameras on their son and his best friend as they make their way through a prestigious private school. The film speaks specifically to parents, giving them insight into the challenges that youth face and how they can help keep students on a path to high school graduation. American Promise, which will be screened during the Press Tour, is part of American Graduate and will also be featured at the Sundance Film Festival later this month.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

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