PBS wrapped up the Television Critics Association winter press tour by showcasing a slate of new programming for 2018.

Upcoming series #Me Too dives into the national discussion about sexual harassment, and seeks to take the movement to the next level through honest conversations about how to move forward.

Meanwhile, the series Native America blends the past and present by exploring ancient indigenous cultures that are still very much alive today.

PBS is also launching a series and digital campaign around The Great American Read promoting the power and joy of books. And speaking of books, PBS Kids will launch Pinkalicious & Peterrific, an animated series based on stories by author Victoria Kann that inspires children to express themselves through creativity.

Here’s a more in-depth look at what PBS has planned for the year ahead:

#Metoo, Now What?

 Zainab Salbi
Zainab Salbi

PBS is diving into the national discussion on sexual harassment with #Metoo, Now What?, a five-part half hour series where women and men from different generations and walks of life aim to take the conversation to the next level.

“How did we get here and how can we use this moment oto effect positive and lasting change?” is the question at the core of the series, hosted by Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International.

With guests ranging from activists, journalists, world leaders, celebrities and ordinary citizens, each episode will focus on an aspect of sexual harassment such as how race and class factor into the discussion, the social costs of pay inequity and gender discrimination, how men can be engaged in the discussion, and, ultimately, how to chart a path forward.

#Metoo, Now What? premieres February 2 at 8:30 p.m.

Native America

The four-part series Native America weaves history and science with living indigenous traditions to reveal “an ancient and still thriving culture.”

Created with active participation from Native American communities, the series reaches back 15,000 years to dig into massive cities aligned to the stars with unique systems of science and spirituality. At the same time, it examines present day Native American culture that’s connected as much through social networks spanning two continents as to the oral narratives passed down from generations.

The series follows field archaeologists using multispectral imaging and DNA analysis as they venture into Amazonian caves containing the Americas’ earliest art and interactive solar calendar, explore a massive tunnel beneath a pyramid at the center of one of ancient America’s largest cities and map the heavens in celestially aligned cities.

Producers also go behind the scenes of modern special events, including a pilgrimage to ancestral ruins at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, a trek across lost territories in the American West, and an investiture ceremony for a chief in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by cedar totem poles and centuries of tradition.

Native America is an extraordinary portal to the past and window to the present,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS chief programming executive and general manager, general audience programming, in a statement.

The Great American Read

Margaret Atwood of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale fame, and George R.R. Martin of HBO’s Game of Thrones are among those who will lend their voices to The Great American Read.

They will share personal stories about their favorite titles, along with Lesley Stahl, Devon Kennard, Junot Díaz, Lauren Graham, John Irving, Gayle King, Bill T. Jones and many more, for the eight-part television competition through production company Nutopia, and the nationwide campaign exploring the power of books and the joy of reading.

The Great American Read launches with a two-hour special event on May 22 at 8 p.m. Then, over the course of 15 weeks in the summer, viewers read and vote onlinepbs.org/greatamericanread for their favorite works of fiction to determine America’s 100 best-loved novels. The series will return in the fall with episodes exploring the nominated books.

The campaign will roll across PBS’ digital and social platforms with the hashtag #GreatReadPBS, along with an interactive website with show information, episode descriptions, interactive videos and links to local events. Photos, animated graphics and live streams on social media will further encourage reading, conversation and voting.

“America’s love affair with books is the perfect jumping off point for this innovative series celebrating the power of reading,” Jane Root, founder and CEO of Nutopia, said in a statement. “We are most excited to see how this series will inspire new conversations celebrating American diversity through a literary lens.”

Pinkalicious & Peterrific

PBS Kids revealed animated series Pinkalicious & Peterrific, based on the book series by author Victoria Kann, will premiere February 19.

But fans can get a sneak peek of the show now on pbskids.org and the PBS Kids video app, where stories will roll out across the digital platforms leading up to the one-hour series debut.

The series follows the adventures of Pinkalicious (Kayla Erickson) and her brother, Peter (Jaden Waldman), as they explore the town of Pinkville with their neighborhood friends. The imaginative Pinkalicious finds creative opportunities everywhere she looks, with Peter and her friends Jasmine, Rafael and Kendra in tow. She inspires everyone around her to be creative and find imaginative solutions to problems, and expresses herself in ways that encourage children to do the same.

Produced by WGBH Boston, the show encourages children to engage in self-expression and creativity in areas such as music, dance, theater and visual arts.

“At PBS Kids, we seek to inspire kids through storytelling,” said Linda Simensky, vice president, children’s programming, PBS. “Pinkalicious & Peterrific offers us the opportunity to put the spotlight on arts and creativity in a way we’ve never done before, to highlight the importance of the arts as part of a whole-child learning approach and encourage kids to express that creativity in their daily lives.”


  Save as PDF