PBS Fall 2014 Schedule Announced [+Video]

pbs logo

PBS announced a Fall 2014 schedule packed with new programming. The season’s highlight will be a new seven part documentary series from Ken Burns focusing on The Roosevelts– Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Check out a trailer for the seven night event below. Additionally, PBS is also expanding their Fall Arts Special to include even more programming including Live From Lincoln Center’s “Sweeney Todd” starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel, and “The Nance” starring Nathan Lane.

Fans of British programming will have several new mystery series to look forward to. The Masterpiece lineup includes Death Comes to Pemberley starring Matthew Rhys beginning October 26th, Bill Nighy resuming his role of Worricker for two new stories in November, and Miss Marple returning to the screen in September. See PBS’ full Fall 2014 schedule below.


Ken Burns’s seven-part, 14-hour documentary weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. The series marks the first time their individual stories have been woven into a single narrative. Sunday-Saturday, September 14-20, 8:00 p.m. ET, encores at 10:00 p.m. ET

Acclaimed British actress Julia McKenzie (“Cranford”) returns as spinster sleuth Miss Marple in three new episodes of the popular Agatha Christie’s “Miss Marple” series – “A Caribbean Mystery,” “Greenshaw’s Folly” and “Endless Night.” A co-production of ITV Studios and MASTERPIECE, in association with Agatha Christie Limited. Sundays, September 21 and September 28

POV Koch
New York City mayors have a world stage on which to strut, and they have made legendary use of it. Yet few have matched the bravado, combativeness and egocentricity that Ed Koch brought to the office during his three terms from 1978 to 1989. As Neil Barsky’s “Koch” recounts, Koch was more than the blunt, funny man New Yorkers either loved or hated. The former mayor was politically active to the end (he died in 2013) — still winning the affection of many New Yorkers while driving others to distraction. Tuesday, September 22, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET

Take a comprehensive look at 19 iconic baby boomers — one born each year of the boom, 1946-1964. In intimate interviews by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, the film’s subjects, including Billy Joel and Amy Tan, illuminate the important movements and changes that shaped the world during the baby boom years. Topics include the environment; arts and entertainment; science; civil, LGBT and women’s rights; law; politics; public service; sports; the military; and technology. Tuesday, September 23, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET

From AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (2006) through the first season of FINDING YOUR ROOTS (2012), Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been helping people identify relatives hidden for generations. Professor Gates employs a team of genealogists and the world’s leading geneticists to uncover the origins of a diverse group of 30 guests, including Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Anderson Cooper, Valerie Jarrett, Billie Jean King, Stephen King and musician Nas. Each of the 10 episodes will feature three guests bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden, link, as Gates treks through layers of ancestral history, uncovers secrets and surprises, and shares life-altering discoveries. Tuesdays, September 23-November 25, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

The Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, is a rich and complex natural ecosystem, home to a stunning array of animals. The reef’s human residents work to find that critical balance between their needs and those of an ever-diminishing natural world. This series presents a unique and fresh angle on Australia’s greatest natural icon: the Great Barrier Reef seen through the eyes of those who live, work and play in this natural wonderland. Wednesdays, September 24-October 8, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ In Concert With the New York Philharmonic”
The New York Philharmonic’s acclaimed production of Stephen Sondheim’s iconic musical thriller, staged in March 2014 to a sold out crowd at Avery Fisher Hall, tells the story of the eponymous barber who, with his romantically inclined landlady, Mrs. Lovett the piemaker, seeks vengeance on what he considers a merciless world. The remarkable cast features bass-baritone Bryn Terfel in the title role and Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lovett, with Christian Borle, and more. Audra McDonald serves as host. Friday, September 26, 9:00-11:30 p.m. ET

Six new documentaries in the MAKERS project feature groundbreaking American women in different spheres of influence: war, comedy, space, business, Hollywood and politics. Each program will profile prominent women and relate their struggles, triumphs and contributions as they reshaped and transformed the landscape of their chosen vocations. Tuesdays, September 30-November 4, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW premieres six new episodes from two of its tour cities and four specials this fall. In Knoxville, Tennessee, and Jacksonville, Florida, ROADSHOW uncovers hidden treasures. The specials include two new “Junk in the Trunk” episodes, featuring never-before-seen appraisals from each of the season 18 cities; “The Boomer Years,” highlighting items from the 1940s, 50s and 60s; and “Manor House Treasures,” which looks at objects and antiques befitting the estates in period dramas such as “Downton Abbey” and “Upstairs Downstairs. Mondays, continuing series, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET.


NOVA Acid Ocean (w.t.)
As human activity leads to soaring carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, the world’s oceans are turning increasingly acidic. This shifting chemistry threatens the survival of coral reefs and the entire marine food chain. Will sea creatures be able to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions? NOVA traces the work of leading researchers around the globe as they strive to understand one of the least publicized yet potentially most disastrous impacts of climate change. Wednesday, October 1, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

A star-studded special celebrating the trailblazing music series’ 40th anniversary. With guest hosts Jeff Bridges, Matthew McConaughey and Sheryl Crow, the two-hour broadcast features memorable moments from the show’s remarkable run, anchored by some of the brightest stars in the show’s history returning to the Austin City Limits stage for incredible performances. Highlights include legends Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Gary Clark Jr., Lyle Lovett, Alabama Shakes, Buddy Guy and more performing in celebration of Austin City Limits’ legacy as an American music institution over the last four decades. Friday, October 3, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET

MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! Inspector Lewis, Season 7
Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox return for a seventh season of the beloved Inspector Lewis series. Hathaway has been promoted to Inspector after an extended break from the force, and Lewis is enjoying retired life until he’s asked to team up with his old colleague again. With their partnership renewed under altered circumstances, the duo continues to solve crime in the seemingly perfect academic haven of Oxford. A co-production of ITV Studios and MASTERPIECE. Sundays, October 5-19, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

Join best-selling author Steven Johnson to hear 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. Wednesdays, October 15, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET and October 22-November 12, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT

This production of Porgy and BessSM from San Francisco Opera stars bass-baritone Eric Owens as Porgy and soprano Laquita Mitchell as Bess in the turbulent story of a disabled man, the headstrong woman he loves and the community that sustains them both. John DeMain conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this American musical theater staple about an African-American community on Catfish Row in coastal South Carolina. Porgy and Bess is based on the play by Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, with music, including the celebrated “Summertime,” by George Gershwin. Friday, October 17, 9:00p.m.-12:00 a.m. (Oct. 18) ET

NATURE “Animal Misfits”
Alongside the fastest, strongest, smartest animals are nature’s misfits — odd, bizarre and unlikely creatures that seem-ill equipped for survival. Left at the starting line in the race for life, these are the apparent losers in the story of evolution, yet somehow they manage to cling to life and in some cases even thrive. Wednesday, October 22, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! “Death Comes to Pemberley”
An adaptation of P.D. James’ witty and inventive continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice picks up the story six years after the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy. As preparations are being made for a ball at their Pemberley home, the discovery of a corpse brings an abrupt and shocking halt to the proceedings — and a threat to all that the Darcys hold dear. A co-production of ORIGIN PICTURES and MASTERPIECE. Sundays, October 26-November 2, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

NOVA “WWI Top Gun” (w.t.)
When World War I began in 1914, the air forces of the opposing nations consisted of handfuls of rickety biplanes from which pilots occasionally took pot shots at one another with rifles. By 1918, the fighter had become an efficient killing machine with a growing strategic impact on the outcome of the war. With the help of a unique collection of meticulously recreated flying replicas, NOVA traces the story of the designers, engineers, and brave pilots caught up in the race to dominate the skies over the western front. Wednesday, October 29, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

Join Michael Feinstein, “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” as he commemorates the reopening of the historic Rainbow Room, a legendary Manhattan hotspot. The special includes performances and features choreographed dancers and talented musicians selected from the Big Apple’s finest artists. Friday, October 31, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET


NATURE “Searching for Velcro” (w.t.)
Sloths, once largely ignored, have become a hot topic of scientific researchers. Sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers are also springing up, as development often displaces the gentle creatures. Filmed in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, this is a story of friendship between a journalist and the sloth she named Velcro and a network of people working to learn more about sloths in order to protect them. Wednesday, November 5, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

MASTERPIECE “Worricker: Turks & Caicos”
Bill Nighy reprises his role as MI5 spy Johnny Worricker in a follow-up to the acclaimed “Page Eight” (MASTERPIECE, 2011). Worricker, who has just left his job at MI5, escapes to the distant islands of Turks & Caicos, where an order from the CIA puts him back to work. The top-tier cast also includes Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. Written and directed by David Hare. A Carnival Films/Heydey Films/Beagle Pug/MASTERPIECE co-production in association with NBC Universal for the BBC. Sunday, November 9, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET

NOVA “Emperor’s Ghost Army”
To defend himself in the afterlife, the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, was buried in a vast mausoleum accompanied by around 9,000 life-sized terracotta statues. With exclusive access to groundbreaking new research, NOVA investigates the secrets of how and why the astonishing figures were made and the technology behind the still lethal and highly-advanced crossbows, spears, and swords carried by the clay warriors. Wednesday, November 12, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

NATURE “Penguin Post Office” (w.t.)
On an island in Antarctica, there’s a post office surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery and 4,000 penguins. Every summer, as staff put stamps on postcards, around them gentoo penguins rush to raise and protect their young. The gentoo chicks have to contend with excited tourists and visitors as they struggle to survive. Leopard seals and killer whales prowl the water for penguins, just yards from the post office. Wednesday, November 12, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

THE HITMAKERS (w.t) – PBS Arts Fall Festival
Hitmakers is an up-close look at the music industry’s resilience in the digital age. Groundbreaking artists. Music label mavericks. Game changing managers. These crucial components have shaped the music business over the past 100 years, changing pop culture in the process. Today’s recording artists are challenging the paradigm, taking control of their careers and record labels large and small must innovate to thrive. Hitmakers will be entertaining and thoughtful, while its unsurpassed music soundtrack will be unforgettable. Friday, November 14, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

MASTERPIECE “Worricker: Salting the Battlefield”
The Worricker trilogy concludes with Johnny (Bill Nighy) and Margot (Helena Bonham Carter) managing to stay ahead of an international dragnet all across Europe. British Prime Minister Alec Beasley (Ralph Fiennes) and old MI5 colleague Jill Tankard (Judy Davis) desperately want Johnny back — but for different reasons. Who will win this frenzied game of spy versus spy? Written and directed by David Hare. A Carnival Films/Heydey Films/Beagle Pug/MASTERPIECE co-production in association with NBC Universal for the BBC. Sunday, November 16, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET

NATURE “Invasion of the Killer Whales” (w.t.)
A remarkable story is unfolding in the Arctic. As the ice shrinks, polar bears are struggling to survive in a fast-melting world. They are great hunters on ice, but their home ground is vanishing and they are not adapted to hunting in the water. In the last few years, scientists have noted an ever-growing number of killer whales in Arctic waters in the summer months, attracted by the growing expanse of open water. They attack the same prey animals as the polar bears: seals, narwhal, belugas and bowhead whales. Wednesday, November 19, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

NOVA “Landslide” (w.t.)
In less than two minutes in March, a one-square-mile field of debris slammed into the Washington state community of Oso, killing 41 and destroying nearly 50 homes. Drawing on analysis of other recent landslides around the world, geologists are investigating what triggered the deadliest U.S. landslide in decades and whether climate change is increasing the risk of similar disasters around the globe. Wednesday, November 19, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

GREAT PERFORMANCES “Cats!” – PBS Arts Fall Festival
One of musical theater’s greatest blockbusters returns to GREAT PERFORMANCES for a special encore presentation. In its nearly 18-year run on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats reigned as the longest-running musical. The many musical highlights include Elaine Paige’s return to her original role as Grizabella, the faded “glamour cat” who sings the show-stopping “Memory.” Friday, November 21, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET

This special will celebrate this year’s recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. From the stage of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, some of the biggest names in comedy will salute the 16th recipient of the prize, which recognizes the humorists who have had an impact on American society. Sunday, November 23, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET

Acclaimed filmmaker Ric Burns explores the converging forces, circumstances, personalities and events that propelled a group of English men and women west across the Atlantic in 1620. With distinct and often riveting personal histories, passionate religious beliefs and the will to survive — even through violent means — this narrative reveals the real history of our nation’s beginnings. Tuesday, November 25, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET


NOVA “First Man on the Moon”
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, he won instant fame. Yet this accomplished engineer and test pilot was so determined to stay out of the limelight that few know the personal story of how his rare combination of talent, luck and experience led to his successful command of Apollo 11. NOVA presents an intimate portrait of an unassuming American hero through interviews with Armstrong’s family and friends. Wednesday, December 3, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

For more than three decades, through radio, film and records, Bing Crosby reigned supreme. The first true multi-media star, he won the Oscar for 1944’s Going My Way, recorded nearly 400 hit singles — an achievement no one has come close to matching, and played a pivotal role in the development of the postwar recording industry. Thirty-seven years after his death, he remains the most recorded performer in history. Friday, December 26, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET