“Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations — Cuba” (Travel)
Highlight: Bourdain finds himself unprepared for Cuba’s old- school beauty — seemingly untouched by time or tourists. Despite the country’s political and social turmoil, Havana reveals itself to be the jewel of Latin America.
Sidelight: Though Fidel Castro made communism his religion, Cubans have chosen something else: baseball. Bourdain finds a street corner where people are literally licensed by the government to assemble and argue about the sport.
“Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger” (PBS)
Highlight: Country star Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, report that nearly 25% of U.S. children don’t have enough to eat and discuss how to help hungry children and their families.
Sidelight: Sesame Street added a 7-year-old child muppet to discuss how hunger affects children and talk to kids about how they can get help if their families don’t have enough money for food.
“American Experience — Clinton” (PBS)
Highlight: Clinton’s time in office looks remarkably similar to that of Barack Obama, with deeply polarized Washington politics and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich complaining Clinton wanted to be liked and wasn’t willing to battle for issues like President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Sidelight: Clinton admits the Lewinsky affair, and his daughter, Chelsea, takes his hand and Hillary’s as they leave a news conference.
“American Masters — Johnny Carson: King of Late Night” (PBS)
Highlight: Carson (pictured) — a man notoriously uncomfortable with personal conversation but who made his living talking to people on his latenight show — is revealed to be as enigmatic as Charles Foster (“Citizen”) Kane, though the special never manages to reveal his Rosebud.
Sidelight: The Nebraska native was so powerful he could shape U.S. political opinion with one well-timed zinger in his monologue.
Geoffrey C. Ward
“Prohibition — A Nation of Hypocrites” (PBS)
Highlight: The moment when American citizens face horrible economic pressures in the 1920s and organized crime becomes rich and violent bootlegging is the point when the popular tide turns against prohibition.
Sidelight: Al Capone’s rise and fall is documented in a way that can’t help but make you think of the bootleggers on shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Boardwalk Empire” and their (probably) inevitable violent ends.
Where the gags write themselves?
And the nominees are:
Drama | Comedy | Miniseries & Movies | Variety | Nonfiction