PBS fall lineup includes ‘The Roosevelts,’ ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’

Los Angeles TimesMay 14, 2014 

Burns Roosevelt Documentary

Ken Burns, shown at a museum in the Georgia home used by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, has made a 14-hour documentary on the Roosevelts.


The biggest stars of PBS’ new fall lineup are named Franklin, Eleanor and Teddy.

“The Roosevelts: An Intimate Portrait,” a seven-part, 14-hour documentary series from prolific filmmaker Ken Burns, will take a detailed look at the celebrated political clan.

According to PBS it is the first series to weave the lives of Franklin, Eleanor and Theodore Roosevelt into a single narrative. It premieres Sept. 14 with episodes airing nightly through Sept. 20, making it ideal for history buffs with a penchant for binge-watching.

Also new this fall is “How We Got to Now,” a six-part series premiering Oct. 15. Hosted by popular science author Steven Johnson, it will tell “the stories behind remarkable ideas that made modern life possible, the unsung heroes who brought them about and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations triggered.” It will air as part of “Think Wednesday,” the broadcaster’s weekly block of science and nature programming.

Another series airing on Wednesdays is “Life on the Reef,” which will take a fresh look at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from the perspective of the humans who reside nearby, premiering Sept. 24.

The Sunday night fixture “Masterpiece” will continue to spotlight British drama. Airing Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, “Death Comes to Pemberley” is an adaptation of P.D. James’ follow-up to “Pride and Prejudice” starring Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys. Bill Nighy will also reprise his role as MI5 spy Julian Worricker from 2011’s “Page Eight” in “Turks & Caicos” and “Salting the Battlefield,” playing Nov. 9 and 16.

The “Makers” series will continue beginning Sept. 30 with six new documentaries profiling groundbreaking women in comedy, business, space, politics, war and Hollywood.

Filmmaker Ric Burns (of the acclaimed “New York: A Documentary Film”) will once again examine American history in “The Pilgrims: American Experience,” premiering Nov. 25.

New installments of the biography series “American Masters” include “Bing Crosby,” about the legendary multimedia star (Dec. 26), and “The Boomer List,” which will look at 19 prominent baby boomers (Sept. 23).

This fall will also bring new episodes of returning series.

“Antiques Roadshow” will premiere six new episodes beginning Sept. 22.

In a new season of “Finding Your Roots” (Sept. 23), Henry Louis Gates Jr. will help famous people including Ben Affleck, Anderson Cooper, Nas, Billie Jean King and Stephen King trace their lineage.

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