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PBS Adds New Series, Expands ‘Masterpiece’ In 2015

PBS said it would continue a strategy of scheduling shows with similar themes on the same evening in 2015 while expanding its Sunday-night drama lineup.

Among the highlights of the public television network’s winter and spring lineup are:

*A five-part series, “First Peoples,” that  features the latest research exploring how early humans evolved and debuts Wednesday, April 29, at 10 p.m. ET

*Rory Kennedy’s “Last Days In Vietnam,” presented by “American Experience” on  Tuesday, April 28, at 9 p.m. ET and timed to the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.

*”Earth A New Wild,” hosted by leading conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, debuts Wednesday, February 4, at 9 p.m. ET,  as part of PBS’ “Think Wednesday” science and nature night.

*The  three-part “biographical” film “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies”  — executive produced by Ken Burns and directed and produced by Barak Goodman — premieres Monday, March 30, at 9 p.m. ET.

Sundays will continue to serve as the anchor of the network’s primetime week. PBS has already announced it will add 20 hours of new “Masterpiece” episodes through 2015.  In addition to the fifth season of  Downton Abbey,which premieres Sunday, January 4, at 9 p.m. ET, “Masterpiece” will add two new dramas: “Grantchester” beginning January 18 at 10 p.m. ET, and “Wolf Hall” on April 5 at 10 p.m. ET. The premieres of additional new “Masterpiece” titles, “Poldark” (a swashbuckling  adaptation of the hit 1970s drama) and “Indian Summers,” occur later in the year.

The third season of the “Masterpiece” series  “Mr. Selfridge,” begins March 20 at 9 p.m. ET, with Jeremy Piven as the flamboyant American entrepreneur of London department store fame.  The fourth season of “Call The Midwife” launches March 29 at 8 p.m. ET. “Vicious” will return this summer for a second season, PBS said.

On Mondays, “Antiques Roadshow” returns for its 19th season starting on January 5 at 8 p.m. ET. “Independent Lens” will sport a new season of original documentaries from independent filmmakers, including “Evolution of a Criminal,” executive produced by Spike Lee and airing January 12 at 10 p.m. ET.

In “A Path Appears,”  airing in three-parts beginning January 26 at 10:00 p.m. ET,  Nicholas Kristof, Malin Ackerman, Mia Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria and Alfre Woodard uncover gender oppression and human rights violations in the U.S. and around the world.

PBS will air several programs in late April beginning Monday, April 27 related to the Vietnam War. “The Day The 60’s Died” debuts  April 27 at 9 p.m. ET, and chronicles the nation’s upheaval during May 1970, the month in which four students were shot dead at Kent State. “Dick Cavett’s Vietnam”  on April 27 at 10:00 p.m., will feature a look back at the thought-provoking conversations Cavett had about the war with a range of public figures including Muhammad Ali, Billy Graham and Henry Kissinger.

“American Experience” will anchor Tuesdays, which will be devoted to historical topics, including the “Last Days In Vietnam” documentary and “The Draft,” a look at the history of the military draft in America, debuting on April 28 at 9 p.m. ET. “Genealogy Roadshow” will launch its second season January 13 at 8 p.m. ET . “The Italian Americans” debuts  February 17 at 9 p.m. ET, and traces the evolution of a that population from the late 19th Century through today, narrated by Stanley Tucci.  The three-part “Miracle Baby Unit” (working title) will take an intimate look at the groundbreaking practice of fetal medicine, showing never-before-televised procedures on the world’s smallest patients.. The miniseries premieres March 31 at 8 p.m. ET.

Wednesdays on PBS will continue to be devoted to programming about nature, science and technology, such as the five-part series “Earth A New Wild” and the aforementioned “Cancer” project from Ken Burns as well as “First Peoples.” “Nature” will return at 8 p.m. and “Nova” will return at 9 p.m.

PBS’ Fridays will be devoted to the arts. The second season of “Shakespeare Uncovered” will debut January 30 at 9 p.m. ET. “Great Performances” will offer new programs including a February 27 concert featuring Josh Groban. Renee Fleming and Joshua Bell performing with the New York Philharmonic in selections from films scores from Italian composers. “American Masters” will offer four new shows, one centered on playwright August Wilson. The three-part “America’s Ballroom Challenge” will launch April 24 at 9 p.m. ET




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