PBS Announces Most Extensive Revamping of Primetime Schedule in More Than 25 Years
In the first major primetime restructuring in over a quarter of a century, PBS is announcing a new Fall 2001 lineup based on a successful Pilot Schedule Project aimed at creating a more viewer-friendly program schedule. The announcement was made today by PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell.
The programming experiment was launched last October in seven diverse markets across the country. As a result of the Pilot Schedule findings, viewers will find some of their favorite PBS series moving to new timeslots. Among the major changes, EXXONMOBIL MASTERPIECE THEATRE, which for 30 years has brought the best of British drama to American audiences, moves from Sunday at 9 p.m. to Monday at 9 p.m. AMERICAN MASTERS, acclaimed for its in-depth portraits and insightful profiles of important figures in Americas artistic and cultural life, will air as a weekly series beginning in the fall.
In addition to the scheduling shifts, PBS is adding two new continuing weekly series to the fall schedule. LIFE 360, a 13-part series which each week tells real stories centered on a single theme through documentary, performances and personal narrative, co-produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and ABC News Nightline and hosted by Nightline correspondent Michel Martin, will air Friday nights at 9 p.m. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW UK, 20 new episodes from the British version of the series, expanded to hour-length by WGBH Boston, will be joining the lineup on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW continues Mondays at 8 p.m.
We hope this new schedule will bring more people to our terrific fall lineup, increase audience flow from program to program and attract new viewers and members,” said Ms. Mitchell. “These changes, which were developed in collaboration with our stations and after looking at the results of the Pilot Schedule, exemplify our strategy of keeping the best and reinventing the rest.”
Under the new schedule, NATURE continues on Sunday at 8 p.m., while AMERICAN MASTERS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE move to Sunday at 9 p.m. AMERICAN MASTERS will be scheduled for the first time as a weekly series, beginning in October and airing through December. This fall, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents “New York”; and, on Veteran’s Day, “War Letters,” based on Andrew Carroll’s bestseller will air. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE returns in January 2002 on Sundays at 9 p.m., creating a strong, consistent history/biography timeslot year round.
EXXONMOBIL MASTERPIECE THEATRE moves from its long-held Sunday slot at 9 p.m., to Monday at 9 p.m. In the Pilot Schedule, the series fared slightly better on Mondays than Sundays, demonstrating that its audience will follow the series to another day.
NOVA moves from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, with other high caliber science series including SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SPECIALS following at 9 p.m. Following at 10 p.m., PBS will offer reality fare including LOCAL NEWS, a five-part series from Lumiere Productions and Thirteen/WNET that takes a behind-the scenes look inside a local TV newsroom in Charlotte, North Carolina, which premieres October 9.
GREAT PERFORMANCES, the MARK RUSSELL COMEDY SPECIALS and other performance programs, as well as long-form documentaries, remain unchanged on Wednesday night. Limited series and specials will round out the evenings programming mix.
New series ANTIQUES ROADSHOW UK launches on Thursday at 8 p.m. with FRONTLINE moving from Tuesday at 10 p.m. to Thursday at 9 p.m. MYSTERY! completes the evening, following FRONTLINE at 10 p.m. through December.
These new changes begin the week of October 1, following the debut of two major new limited series, AFRICA and EVOLUTION. AFRICA, an eight-part series, illustrates the dynamic relationship between the countrys environment and its human history. Each episode uses stories of Africas people, places and animals to create a portrait of this remarkable land. From Thirteen/WNET, Magic Box Mediaworks, and National Geographic Television, the series begins September 9 at 8 p.m.
EVOLUTION, an eight-hour series, explores the power of evolutionary theory and its implications for today. From Darwin to the role of mass extinction in species’ survival to the power of sex to drive evolutionary change, EVOLUTION is far-reaching in scope. From the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit and Clear Blue Sky Productions, the series premieres September 24-27 from 8-10 p.m.
PBS FALL 2001 SCHEDULE
8 p.m.NATURE (Preempted for eight-weeks beginning September 9 for AFRICA. NATURE returns in November.)
9 p.m. AMERICAN MASTERS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
8 p.m.ANTIQUES ROADSHOW
9 p.m.EXXONMOBIL MASTERPIECE THEATRE
9 p.m.Science programming (e.g., SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SPECIALS)
10 p.m.Reality fare programming (e.g., LOCAL NEWS)
8 p.m.Limited series and specials featuring a mix of performance programming and long-form documentaries (e.g., GREAT PERFORMANCES, MARK RUSSELL COMEDY SPECIALS, and new programming)
8 p.m.ANTIQUES ROADSHOW UK (new continuing series)
8 p.m.WASHINGTON WEEK IN REVIEW
8:30 p.m.WALL $TREET WEEK WITH LOUIS RUKEYSER
9 p.m.LIFE 360 (new continuing series)
The Pilot Schedule Project was funded in part by PBS member stations and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The Pilot Schedule Project, the first initiative of its kind began October 1, 2000, involved seven public television stations representing different geographic locations, market demographics and viewing levels and patterns. Participating PBS member stations included: WMFE Orlando; WQED Pittsburgh; WHYY Philadelphia; GPTV Atlanta; KUED Salt Lake City; WVIZ Cleveland; and KPBS San Diego.
PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 347 PBS.org.