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Inside TV – 2011


The Dickens Classic, Oliver Twist airs on Xmas Day!

Each year, there are new TV specials, films and songs celebrating the holidays. When you were a kid, what holiday show, song or movie meant the most to you? Ours varied every year! I could never miss the original Miracle on 34th Street with a young Natalie Wood. We also loved holiday music and sang along with Bing. That is until When Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer came out--we sang that song over and over again and considered it a "classic" in my house for several holiday seasons. My poor Mom!

I had to tap into those winter-like feelings a few months ago when I started my December TV schedule. It was kind of weird to think of music shows and movies for the holidays when Halloween hadn't started yet!

We are airing loads of holiday type programs this winter but I’m only sharing my faves with you here! There’s a great mix of traditional, new stuff and BritCom comedies. Enjoy!

Starting tonight (Wednesday), Dec. 7th and throughout the weekend:

The most gorgeous NATURE of them all airs @ 9:30pm-- Christmas in Yellowstone! It will repeat on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on PBS HD Ch. 6. Christmas in Yellowstone

Thursday, December 15th: The premiere of Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring David Archuleta and Michael York airs @ 8pm! For those traditionalists, The Nutcracker, Live from Lincoln Center airs @ 9pm. Check out the preview HERE

Tuesday, December 20th: Celebrating culture! A great night for food, music and giving!

My favorite lady, Lidia B. has a brandnew special called Lidia’s Holiday Tables and Traditions that premieres @ 8pm. This is her first special and she is planning on creating more! Check out the preview HERE

The Klezmatics, Cantor Alberto Mizrahi and Mare Winningham among many others perform in Lights Celebrate Hannukkah Live in Concert broadcasts @ 9pm.

Do you find people to be generous and kind? I do!

A thoughtful and uplifting documentary called Passion for Giving airs @ 10pm. I’ve aired this before and viewer response was great. I think it may be your favorite. Check out the preview HERE

Thursday, December 22nd:

A night of modern and traditional music starts with The National Christmas Tree Lighting @ 8pm, then Jessica Simpson’s Happy Christmas Concert airs @ 9pm!

Christmas Day:

For the kiddos, I recommend you turn on PBS KIDS! Check out the schedule HERE

We will have dramas and music on throughout the day, including Downton Abbey @ 8pm! My fave is Masterpiece Classic’s Oliver Twist! Part 1 & 2 will air from 2:30- 5:30 pm.

It’s a Vicar of Dibley Christmas! Catch the infamous episodes on Xmas Eve and Xmas Night! Not to be missed! Vicar airs right after Annie Get Your Gun on Saturday, and immediately following Downton Abbey on Sunday.

READY TV Austin City Limits is ringing in the New Year with a Coldplay LIVE starting @ 11pm. Folks, I'm not sure there will be a cooler show than Austin City Limits that night. It is the must-see concert!

National Tree Lighting Ceremony show will air on Dec. 22nd!

That's my guide. There's more holiday shows airing and I encourage you to check out for our schedules.

As always, I appreciate your feedback!

Stay tuned, Susie the TV Programmer


I found him!

Every November, pub TV programmers attend the American Public Television (APT) Fall Marketplace. It is at this conference that Desert Speaks, Globetrekker and Bill Moyers present their new season, amongst many other great shows. Programmers watch and later vote on what they would like offered nationally.

So, what where my goals for this trip, besides voting?

Find Elvis! Goal #1 accomplished!

Find new programs for Ready TV and Ch. 6 schedules. Two down, 2 more to go! My favorite ongoing shows were here. I saw clips from the new season of Globetrekker, Rick Steves, Vine Talk, Nick Stellino, and P. Allen Smith from Garden to Table. They are all coming to Southern Arizona in 2012.

By the way, P. Allen Smith and I had a long chat about a coming to Tucson and focusing on farming practices and gardening techniques in the Southwest. If anyone has leads on who we should talk to about getting him to town, let me know.

The World Channel showed us some of their new original documentaries coming this Winter and Spring and they looked powerful. I also found out that unfortunately, our free ride is over. The World Channel will now cost money to air!

A great new documentary was offered with an interesting title—World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements. The film is about a remarkable teacher named John Hunter and his World Peace Game. John is an award-winning teacher, a 2011 TED Conference speaker and educational consultant. He was our keynote speaker on our last day, and I must admit that I got very emotional from his speech. When an educator talks passionately about students and actions they took to help a student, I can't help but think of the few but monumental teachers I have had in my life. I know that the impact may or may not have been noted by that student at that time, but they will later. My mother was an educator and teachers hold a special place in my heart. Check out the trailer here.

Goal #3: Have a chat with Bill Moyers. DONE! I got a lot of emails and calls from angry viewers who thought I took Bill Moyers off the air over a year ago. I hope you all know that Mr. Moyers retired. This summer I started to get numerous calls and emails demanding I put him back on ASAP. They wondered why I wasn’t airing his new show! Was he back? How did my viewers know and I didn’t? I guess more than a few folks follow his blog (smile) and read that he was working on producing a new show. He’s back? He’s back! Until I spoke to Bill Moyers about his new series and his return, I wasn’t sure where and when Moyers & Company was coming to air in Southern Arizona. He presented his new series at the conference that is set to launch in January. To see his trailer, check out Bill’s website. Broadcast information will be available on and AZPM’s Facebook page once it is final.

Bill was the keynote speaker for our first day at the meeting. AZPM's priority is public affairs and news, giving our community the tools needed to make informed decisions about how they want things run. I would love to have Bill in town, as I think our community, and UA Journalism students would find great value in what he sees ahead. "There is a deepening crisis of hope in America...real news keeps our freedoms."

Goal #4 was to watch for one last time, our new and final season of Desert Speaks get offered nationally. Congratulations to the AZPM production team, especially Tom Kleespie who has been the Sr. Producer on the series for several years, as it was well received! Tom has moved on to his next AZPM production, a project we hope we can get funding to make a full series and have for many years.

I returned from Memphis in hopes that my budget was going to be increased. No such luck! Friends, I hate shopping except when it comes to TV programs! Between the stellar BBC Conference in October and APT in November, I test the boundaries of my budget.

For those of you who are members, I thank you for allowing AZPM the chance to offer Desert Speaks one last time at the APT marketplace. Your member dollars helped us produce that show for all these years. I am also appreciative that I can bring home programs like the Hollywood at Home series, This Old House, Rick Steves, and many of the great cooking shows APT offers. I hope you donate like a fan, and watch as a donor because there’s so much to be proud of!

John Hunter, Keynote Speaker
John Hunter, teacher and subject of World Peace and other 4th Grade Achievements documentary.

Stay tuned,

Susie the TV Programmer


Insert Here Your Fave Show

What's new, pussycat?

It's that time of year when many of the longtime PBS shows launch their new seasons. Masterpiece Mystery! and Masterpiece Contemporary are the ones I'm looking forward to the most. NOVA and Nature also have some cool new specials coming.

If you haven't noticed, Saturdays are looking a bit different. Now that summer is over, my Hollywood at Home movie series has started. I was relieved to get calls on the inaugural Monday with thanks and high praise for the Thin Man. Check out our new movie package on Saturdays at 9 PM and see our new Hollywood @ Home website for some cool trivia and behind the scenes information

I will have a movie marathon on T-day and Christmas. Check out the site for updated scheduling!

Music Man

A new series called PBS Arts is about to kick off. The highlight for me is the Oct. 21st broadcast of Pearl Jam Twenty by award-winning director and music journalist Cameron Crowe. PBS Arts airs on Fridays at 9:30 PM starting October 14th.

It's that time of year where I must attend marketplaces from major distributors to find new shows for Southern Arizona. Remember Outnumbered and the Ladies of Letters? (smile) Last year, I selected those two comedies, along with Black Books, new Lark Rise, Robin Hood, and Posh Nosh. All of these programs have aired and we will begin The Worst Year of My Life in 2012!

Hollywood at Home was discovered last year, and so was the beautiful nature documentary series, Wild South America (it was gorgeous!) and Wild Lives, along with a medical science package called Blood & Guts.

Not everything was new. Some of the fan favorite BritComs, documentaries and dramas also had to be re-upped. You may have heard of them--Keeping Up Appearances, As Time Goes By, BallyK, Sherlock, MI-5, Prime Suspect, Vicar of Dibley, and more.

Now I'm off to discover shows for 2012-2013. I'm heading out for a short BBC trip and then will be locked into my office watching TV. I'll keep you updated on our Facebook page @AZpublicmedia of my show discoveries. I'd love to hear from you, especially what you adore. That inspires me to find a new show for you to fall in love with!

BTW, I'm a terrific wheeler and dealer, but must admit, I'm doomed without a programming budget. Your membership dollars at work, folks. Tell your friends to keep supporting us so that your favorite shows can continue to air!

Stay tuned!

Susie the TV Programmer

Schedule BritComs,



Our most controversial acquisition in quite some time wasn't Nazi Hunters (May 2011) or The Royal Wedding (April 2011), but a little BBC series called Outnumbered. This comedy premiered this summer on Saturday nights at 9:30 PM.

Feedback is crucial as are Nielsen ratings. AZPM does not get TV ratings every night, but only 4 times a year so we put a lot of weight on calls and emails. I often remind the person on the other end of the call or email that they should tell me what they like in addition to what they don't. All feedback is important.

Every summer, I change up the lineup and test out new shows with our diehard Southern Arizonans. Last year we tested out daytime scheduling shifts with Armchair Thrillers and Armchair Vacations. Sherlock Holmes, Mystery! and Nature allowed me to test out viewership without children's programming and that is how Ballykissangel and Lark Rise to Candleford came to air on PBS HD in the late afternoons. We wanted to see if we gave adults an alternative to soap operas, court shows and talk shows, if they would watch PBS. The response was good and I got to trim children's programming from CH. 6 and steered those kiddos to our 24/7 PBS KIDS channel. Win-win-win!

Back to Saturday night:

Why do some shows stay and some get bumped?

It is surprising to many of my regulars who write in that folks still adore Keeping Up Appearances (8 PM) and that it is consistently our #1 or #2 show every rating period. I get many emails begging me to take it off and I gently explain that it will not. I know I just said that viewer feedback is important, but I should tell you it is the same small group that writes in. They write in a lot! It's well loved and the numbers prove it.

As Time Goes By is also well loved, but eventually, I need to return some other favorites and that timeslot (8:30 PM) is perfect! Sometime next year I'd love to have Waiting for God back and it needs an early slot vs. late slot! With limited hours available, some shows will leave in order for others to return.

Monarch of the Glen went out of rights, as did Vicar of Dibley. What this means is that I aired the series straight through and we used up all the releases the BBC would allow. I need to wait for Vicar, but Monarch was secured for daytime broadcasts! It will start airing in October, exact date to be announced!

What replaced Monarch on Saturday nights was Ladies of Letters (9 PM) and Outnumbered (9:30 PM). The Monday after the new lineup aired, the front desk spent the morning listening to voicemails and forwarded emails to me. The calls and emails were all over the place. I can't repost them here as I don't have permission from the viewers and some of them need editing! Some folks cursed, some congratulated, some were love letters, and some were pages of passionate pleas for and against the new shows. It could be it's own blog post! (smile) The top target was Outnumbered.

I have no idea why this show has hit a chord. Is it because it is so totally different than Monarch of the Glen? Is it the parenting that hits a little too close to home? People loved that the characters were younger than Keeping Up Appearances. Some thought it was too modern. I would love to get these viewers together to discuss the pros and cons of the new shows. If you haven't seen it yet, please do and write in! If you have, please comment so we can all read your thoughts!

Ladies of Letters is well liked, but certainly not loved. Like most BBC comedies, the series needs a few episodes under their belt before people start calling in to tell me they love it. I'm starting to get those kind of calls for Ladies but only just recently.

I thought for sure I'd get more calls on Black Books but so far, hardly a peep. If you are not familiar with this show, it's quite quirky. The show is set in a London bookshop called "Black Books" and follows the lives of its hostile and belligerent owner Bernard Black, his enthusiastic assistant and their neurotic friend and shop neighbor, Fran. I watch it every Saturday night as it airs and listen to my spouse laugh. It airs at 10:30 PM immediately following After You've Gone. I have a feeling people like both of these shows but are too tired to call me or email me to let me know. I would think that a viewer on a Saturday night at 11 PM has other plans than to get on the computer and send me an email...but you never know!

What do I have planned for next summer? I'll know after my October BBC meeting when I get introduced to new programs. In the meantime, I hope you give the new Saturday night a chance. If you can't bring yourself to watch any of the new shows, remember, summer is nearly over!

Stay tuned!

Susie the TV Programmer

BritComs Schedule Summer,


Summer of Intrigue

It's officially the Summer of Intrigue on PBS-HD CH. 6. Marple. Poirot. Lewis. Lynley. Foyle. Zen? Sherlock. Tennison!

I often get excited about my work and then have to step back and think about my viewers. Is this something the community would want, is a question I must ask myself when I look at my finished schedule and can't decide what to set my DVR to. My problem is I love too much and try very hard not to favor certain programs over another.

Admittedly, I wasn't a big fan of the entire Masterpiece franchise until I moved to Tucson to be the TV Program Director. I am a huge documentary geek and also love classic Hollywood films. Masterpiece just didn't grab my attention.

Could be my age, the heat, this job, or the fans, but I'm a lover of Masterpiece now! Expecially this Summer of Intrigue--it has gotten a hold of me. So much so that not only are we airing the new season of Mystery! on Sundays at 8 PM, but I've added in another night for our dear viewers to enjoy! Thursdays at 9 PM will feature Mystery! episodes from years past! We will continue to air Prime Suspect on Fridays through August.

I'm dying to find out what our loyal Masterpiece Mystery! fans think of the new detective on the block: Zen. I have seen trailers for the new detective series but haven't seen an entire show yet. Rufus Sewell (Middlemarch) stars as Zen, a Roman police detective from Venice, where "Zen" is a local shortening of the name Zeno. He's separated from his wife and living with his mother, and of course, engrossed with work. It is a modern-day detective story, which to me automatically means there will be romance.

I'm bringing you names you love and new ones to enjoy all summer. Last summer many of you asked for lighter programming, cooler shows (in temperature and vibe) and I think you'll love what we have in store.

I found this excerpt on detectives that tributes Sherlock and thought you'd appreciate it:

"At the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, a plaque commemorates an event that never took place, yet lives in the memories of millions. The inscription reads: 'Across this dreadful cauldron occurred the culminating event in the career of Sherlock Holmes, the world's greatest detective, when on May 4, 1891, he vanquished Moriarty, the Napoleon of crime.'

Each year, thousands of visitors to that spectacularly scenic spot pause to read the plaque and remember Sherlock Holmes, the most famous detective who never lived.

The overwhelming influence of Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, on all the detectives who followed him is immeasurable. Agatha Christie often acknowledged her debt to Holmes for the creation of her equally brilliant and eccentric detective Hercule Poirot. Every keenly observant modern detective, from Inspector Roderick Alleyn to DCI Jane Tennison, works in Holmes' long shadow. Any loner with a loyal partner, like Morse with his Sergeant Lewis, is treading the turf of Holmes and Watson. When the introspective Adam Dalgliesh publishes a volume of poetry, he's taking after the even more introspective Holmes, whose many monographs on arcane topics helped build his formidable reputation.

In other words, by the time his creator had finished with him in 1927, some four novels, 56 stories, and 40 years after readers first met him, Holmes had pretty much done everything a detective could do. More than a century later, new investigators still pay their unspoken tribute the the great 'consulting detective' of 221B Baker Street." -- excerpt from MYSTERY!: A Celebration, by Ron Miller (published by KQED Books).

Sherlock is the mainstay of our schedule. Mysteries may come and go, but Sherlock always airs on Sundays immediately following Masterpiece Theater.

Stay tuned!

Susie the TV Programmer

Mystery Summer,


PBS HD Summer Schedule

We are taking a break from the dramas of Glenbogle after June 18th! Monarch of the Glen goes on a short hiatus and will return to our weekday drama lineup after Ballykissangel has its run weekdays at 2 p.m.

I thought our dear fans would like to see a snapshot of our new 2011 Summer PBS HD Schedule! The items in green are changes to the lineup. Some of these changes are driven by PBS HQ and some are new shows we have special for the summer months!

Mondays: I was thrilled to see an additional hour of Antiques Roadshow provided by PBS. I get a lot of viewer calls asking for more ARS and with the new pairings, I'm anxious to see if folks really watch more than 1 hour!

Tuesdays: History Detectives starts their new season on a new night! The series used to air on Mondays at 9 p.m. The logic is that on a different night, at an earlier time, more folks will watch this fun program now that it will air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.!

Wednesdays: You may have noticed that the "Smartest Night on TV" is branded for Wednesday nights! We've been airing NOVA Science Now and NOVA on Wednesdays for the past few months and Southern Arizona fans love the entire night. PBS will be offering Nature at 8 p.m. after Secrets of the Dead goes away. NOVA Science Now will repeat later in the evening over the summer. I will continue to air Nature on Sundays. Eventually, I may move Nature to 6 p.m. vs. 7 p.m. on Sunday nights.

Thursdays: Just what is "Wacky Americana?" I'll tell you! They are funny, sweet, and touching documentaries by Ric Sebak. Some of the titles include The Hot Dog Show, Breakfast Special, and The Ice Cream Show. So, I guess I should add tasty to the list? You just have to watch at 8 p.m. to see what other wacky americana will be featured!

Fridays: Why is Prime Suspect in red? Good question. You noticed that, huh? (smile) Well, I may have to move it and I'm not sure when or where. The show is definitely airing through July but I may have some new music shows coming from PBS designated to Friday nights. Prime Suspect might move to Sunday or Thursday nights.

Saturdays: There's a lot of green there. Folks are always asking for new BritComs but don't want me to get rid of any of their standbys like Keeping Up Appearances, Monarch of the Glen, and As Time Goes By. I definitely want to keep Monarch of the Glen but feel it will be better served in the afternoons. I hope you all give Outnumbered, Ladies of Letters and Black Books your time! Like most BritComs, they require a few viewings before the writers and actors warm up and deliver some of the most hilarious moments on television.

Well, there you have it! Please let me know what you think!

Stay tuned!

Susie the TV Programmer

Changes Schedule,

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