Exclusive Interview: THE HOLLOW CROWN reworks Shakespeare for four new PBS films

Rory Kinnear in GREAT PERFORMANCES: THE HOLLOW CROWN - RICHARD II | ©2013 PBS/BBC

THE HOLLOW CROWN, on PBS’ GREAT PERFORMANCES beginning Friday September 20 at 9 PM and continuing for three Fridays thereafter, consists of four new films of William Shakespeare’s histories HENRY II, starring Ben Whishaw in the title role, and HENRY IV PART I, HENRY IV PART II and HENRY V, starring Jeremy Irons as Henry IV and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal/Henry V, with Simon Russell Beale as Falstaff. Other notable cast members include David Bradley (Walder Frey on GAME OF THRONES), Lindsay Duncan, David Morrissey (the Governor on THE WALKING DEAD), James Purefoy (of THE FOLLOWING), Patrick Stewart, David […]Read On »

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Exclusive Interview: Jake Shimabukuro on JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS

Jake Shimabukuro in JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE IN FOUR STRINGS | ©2013 PBS

Jake Shimabukuro is a Hawaii-born ukulele virtuoso who shot to worldwide fame when a video of him playing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in Central Park hit YouTube and went viral. Filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura has made a documentary about Shimabukuro, his success and his music in the documentary JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS, which airs tonight, Friday May 10, on PBS (check listings for local airtimes). After giving a rousing mini-concert and doing a question-and-answer panel with Nakamura, Shimabukuro makes himself available for a follow-up discussion about his passion for the ukulele, which he pronounces the Hawaiian […]Read On »

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Exclusive Interview: Director Eugene Jarecki on THE HOUSE I LIVE IN

THE HOUSE I LIVE IN | ©2013 PBS

THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s documentary about the “war on drugs” in the United States, won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film posits that criminalizing drugs does nothing to stop the drug trade and indeed may be making it worse; it is inarguably filling up prisons beyond capacity. THE HOUSE I LIVE IN was released theatrically in 2012; PBS is airing it Monday night, April 8 (check local listings for time) as part of the network’s INDEPENDENT LENS series. Jarecki is committed to showing THE HOUSE I LIVE IN […]Read On »

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Exclusive Interview: MR. SELFRIDGE star Frances O’Connor on her new PBS drama series

Frances O'Connor in MR. SELFRIDGE | ©2013 PBS

MR. SELFRIDGE, which begins its ten-week first-season run on PBS Sunday March 31 at 9 PM, begins in 1908, depicting the fact-based story of Harry Selfridge, an American who came to England and founded the now-famous chain of Selfridge’s department stores Jeremy Piven plays Harry and Frances O’Connor plays his wife Rose. O’Connor has done plenty of period fare before – she starred in film versions of MANSFIELD PARK, MADAME BOVARY, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST and the WWII drama WINDTALKERS, as well as futuristic movies including Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Born in England and raised in Australia, O’Connor talks about […]Read On »

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Exclusive Interview: CALL THE MIDWIFE women chat about Season 2

Jessica Raine, Helen George, and Bryony Hannah in CALL THE MIDWIFE| ©2013 PBS

ASSIGNMENT X got a chance to chat up a few of the ladies from PBS Masterpiece’s CALL THE MIDWIFE at the Winter TCAS, and get a bit of feedback as to what this new season has in store, what familiar things we can look for, and what they most look forward to as the series continues. Looks like there’s going to be some new faces this season with the introduction of at least one new girl at Nonnatus House in London’s East End, and things are going to get a bit more fun since the returning nurses all know each […]Read On »

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Exclusive Interview: Michele Lee looks back on her career on PIONEERS OF TELEVISION

Michelle Lee in KNOTS LANDING | (c) 2013 PBS/Pioneers of Television Archives

Nighttime soaps have made a roaring comeback – witness the success of GREY’S ANATOMY, REVENGE and SCANDAL – but this isn’t the first time the genre has been big. The late ‘70s and ‘80s were a heyday for the format, with KNOT’S LANDING starting its CBS run in 1979 and going fourteen seasons into 1993. Los Angeles native Michele Lee, who played Karen MacKenzie for an epic 344 episodes on KNOT’S LANDING, is famous for many other things, including two Tony-nominated Broadway musical performances (in SEESAW and THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE), and films that include the screen adaptation of HOW TO […]Read On »

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Exclusive Interview: WILD KRATTS hosts Martin and Chris Kratt go animal

WILD KRATTS | (c) 2013 PBS

With a host of wildlife shows aimed at younger viewers to their credit, nature documentary filmmakers and brothers Martin and Chris Kratt have become a combination of David Attenborough and Jacques Cousteau for the pre- and elementary school audience. Their current series, WILD KRATTS, is now in its second season on PBS (check local listings for days and times), with a one-hour special, WILD KRATTS LOST AT SEA, that aired Monday Jan. 21 and is now available on DVD. Martin, wearing a blue shirt, designates himself as “the swimming one,” and Chris, in a green shirt, refers to himself as “the climbing […]Read On »

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TV News: DOWNTON ABBEY not to air at same time in U.S. on PBS as in UK

Jim Carter and Shirley MacLaine in DOWNTON ABBEY | ©2013 PBS

So it looks as if the American audience for DOWNTON ABBEY is going to have to be patient to see the next season in January again. Today at PBS’ executive session for the TCAS, President Paula Kerger explained why they place DOWNTON where they do in the schedule for the year. “This is a question of great debate, as to whether to try to bring the broadcast of the two together,” states Kerger.  “It’s complicated, for a lot of reasons.  One is that the version that airs in the UK airs with commercials, and we air ours without, so we […]Read On »

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TV News: Shakespeare vs DOWNTON ABBEY on PBS

Jeremy Irons in SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED | ©2013 PBS

While promoting SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED, actor Jeremy Irons made some quite hilarious comments about the popular British series DOWNTON ABBEY. Irons is not completely bashing DOWNTON, but he does wish the American audience would broaden their viewing depth and check out the SHAKESPEARE series to see some of the best acting that Britain has to offer. “THE HOLLOW CROWN series is where you see some of the best British actors playing Shakespeare, is what it can do to open up to this huge American audience this gold dust.  Show them that, actually, television doesn’t end with DOWNTON ABBEY,” Irons laughs.  “If […]Read On »

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Exclusive Interview: Helen George discusses CALL THE MIDWIFE

Helen George promoting CALL THE MIDWIFE at the 2012 Summer TCA's | ©2011 Neal Street Productions

The drama series CALL THE MIDWIFE was a huge success when it premiered earlier this year in the U.K., and now that it’s airing on PBS (Sundays at 8 PM in the Los Angeles market, check local listings), it’s captured devoted U.S. audiences as well. Based on the three-book series of memoirs of real midwife Jennifer Worth, CALL THE MIDWIFE follows the trials and travails of well-to-do Jennifer Lee (played by Jessica Raine), who becomes a midwife with a group run out of a convent in the slums of East London in the 1950s. Jenny isn’t the only non-nun in […]Read On »

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