PBS to explore Africa in mini

PBS announced production on six new programs Sunday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour event in Pasadena, with the list headed by plans to run a six-hour miniseries about the African continent.

“Africa,” presented by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., is designed to quell misconceptions about Africa, with Gates touring its various nations to unlock the continent’s history and cultural diversity. It’s produced by England’s Wall to Wall Television, and is skedded for a 1998 premiere.

Traces story of Irish-Americans

Also on tap at the pubcaster is “Long Journey Home: The Irish in America,” a six-hour, three-night event planned for Jan. 26, 27 and 28 that traces the story of Irish-Americans from the arrival of immigrants in the 19th century through present-day assimilation. It’s presented by the Walt Disney Studios in association with WGBH Boston.

A pair of series will feature Sister Wendy Beckett: “The Saints,” an hourlong look at Christianity’s most revered men and women; and the one-hour special “Bill Moyers in Conversation with Sister Wendy.” “The Saints” is produced by England’s Dorling Kindersley Vision. “Bill Moyers in Conversation” is produced by WGBH Boston.

Creating the Internet

“Nerds 2.01: Digital Dreams” is a 1998 sequel to the 1996 three-hour PBS special “Triumph of the Nerds,” featuring PBS Online columnist Robert X. Cringely telling the story of how a handful of computer nerds learned to wire their computers together and create the Internet. It’s a production of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Cringely returns in the summer of 1998 with “By the Seat of My Pants,” a special that shows the host building an airplane in his Silicon Valley garage. It’s a co-production of Oregon Public Broadcasting and John Gau Prods.

PBS also announced Sunday that it is exploring the creation of a PBS music label, with CAA serving as the public broadcaster’s exclusive representative.

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