TAVIS SMILEY GOES PRIMETIME
‘The Tavis Smiley Report’ Premieres January 2010 With Features on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
Los Angeles – Tavis Smiley and PBS will expand their relationship in 2010 with the January premiere of THE TAVIS SMILEY REPORT, a series of four hour-long primetime specials that will air throughout 2010. Smiley will leave his studio chair in Los Angeles and go on the road to examine some of the country’s defining moments through those who have helped to shape history — from going behind the scenes with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the streets of New Orleans with director Jonathan Demme to mark Hurricane Katrina’s 5th anniversary.
“The REPORT(s) will take a look at the country’s most important people and recent events, from perspectives that are rarely portrayed,” says host Tavis Smiley. “I will be talking to the people and traveling to the places that have transformed us as a nation, often in ways we don’t even realize.”
“For years, Tavis Smiley has explored topics by engaging his guests in thought-provoking discussions, and we’re eager to see him take his award-winning approach outside of the studio,” says John F. Wilson, PBS Senior Vice President and Chief TV Programming Executive. “These primetime specials allow Tavis to seek out the stories and individuals that are a driving force in today’s world.”
The first THE TAVIS SMILEY REPORT, premiering Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on PBS, focuses on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she completes her first year as America’s chief diplomat and looks ahead to the challenges of the next three years. Smiley has been granted exceptional access to Secretary Clinton and will accompany her on diplomatic missions abroad, to meetings on Capitol Hill and within the State Department itself to give the American public a candid and incisive view of the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy and international relations.
The second REPORT, premiering Wednesday, March 31, 2010, at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on PBS, will delve into one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatest speeches, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” which Dr. King delivered on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City. The speech, delivered exactly one-year prior to the date of his assassination, is considered pivotal but often under-appreciated. King challenged the morality of the Vietnam conflict and urged a national discussion about the role of America in the world. Smiley will examine the context of Dr. King’s words on liberty, responsibility and freedom against the backdrop of the fight for civil rights and an increasingly unpopular war, and examine the implications of his words today, particularly in light of President Obama’s decision to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
For the third THE TAVIS SMILEY REPORT, Smiley will team with Academy Award®-winning director Jonathan Demme to revisit New Orleans on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The REPORT will offer a uniquely personal look at the resilience of the citizens of the Ninth Ward through their efforts to rebuild their lives. Smiley will present a portrait of a city still reeling from the aftermath of the natural disaster and the political neglect that followed, and explore the lessons to be learned from post-Katrina New Orleans.
The topic of the fourth REPORT will be announced later in 2010.
THE TAVIS SMILEY REPORT is produced for PBS by The Smiley Group, Inc. /TS Media, Inc. and KCET Los Angeles. Executive producer is Jacoba Atlas. Funding provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and Public Television Viewers.
Smiley returns to his late-night PBS talk show, TAVIS SMILEY, on January 11, 2010, for a seventh season of insightful conversations with politicians, actors, artists, athletes and newsmakers.
About Tavis Smiley
Tavis Smiley is host of TAVIS SMILEY on PBS and “The Tavis Smiley Show” from PRI. Smiley launched America I AM: The African American Imprint, a world-class exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world, on January 15, 2009. The exhibit is on a four-year, 10-city tour and is currently on display in Los Angeles. Smiley is also the author/editor of 14 books, including The New York Times best-sellers Covenant with Black America and What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, and his most recent, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. For more information, visit www.tavistalks.com.
PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 124 million people on-air and online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.
KCET, public television for Southern and Central California, is watched by four million viewers a month in 11 counties, the largest broadcast reach of any public television station in the United States. National PBS series produced from the station’s Hollywood studios include four-time NAACP Award winner Tavis Smiley, the educational animated series Sid The Science Kid, co-produced for PBS by KCET and The Jim Henson Company, and the Peabody Award-winning series A Place Of Our Own and Los Niños En Su Casa. KCET also produces the Emmy® Award-winning SoCal Connected, a hard-hitting prime-time weekly television news program that examines the issues and people of Southern California.
Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services, and its Web site, kcet.org. KCET is nonprofit donor-supported community television. Nearly 60 percent of the funds raised to support KCET’s operating budget come from individual support. For additional information about KCET productions, Web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit www.kcet.org.
Additional Press Contacts:
Soraya Gheissari, Unit Publicist, TAVIS SMILEY
Cathy Williams, KCET
Carrie Johnson, PBS