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KCET unveils new series slate

Quintet diverse in subject but retains Southern California focus

KCET has greenlit five new nonfiction series developed through its production deal with Eyetronics Media and Studios.

The programs, which focus on the environment, current affairs, history, cinema and pop culture, are the initial product of the $50 million in financing provided by Eyetronics in a five-year agreement (Daily Variety, Aug. 16).

Each has received a 13-episode order and is scheduled to premiere on KCET in fall 2012. Eyetronics will handle domestic and international distribution.

“We are pleased to move forward with this exciting initial lineup featuring an eclectic array of educational and entertaining shows,” said KCET prexy and chief exec Al Jerome.

Among the new series — and exemplifying the local focus — is “Oceans Alive.” The series, hosted by Jean-Michel Cousteau, will invite celebrities and public figures to join an exploration of Southern California marine life.

In half-hour “Department of State,” a rotating group of media correspondents will hold weekly conversations with former public figures about the news of the day.

The half-hour “California Game Changers” will focus on Southern California innovators; “Classic Cool Theatre” will use films (starting with 1945’s “Detour”) as a launchpad to discuss classic Hollywood; and “Retrostory” will be a biweekly series revisiting American historical and pop culture stories through a Southern California viewpoint.

The latter two will take advantage of Eyetronics’ considerable library of films, newsreels and other media that was key to the shingle’s partnership with KCET.

“Eyetronics and KCET intend to make a significant contribution to the documentary genre with original world-class productions that illuminate fascinating aspects of our history and culture during the 20th century,” said Eyetronics prexy-CEO Dominique Bigle.

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