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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,


The Royal Wedding

Royal watchers will appreciate the BBC’s full coverage of one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the century, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Live coverage starts tonight at midnight on our sister stations, KUAZ-FM, and PBS-HD. That's right folks, the Beebs made it available for radio and TV tonight.

Live TV coverage will include the journey of all the members of the Royal Family and the bride as they make their way to Westminster Abbey, the arrivals of all the key guests, and full coverage of the wedding service. Following the service, you’ll see the full procession back to Buckingham Palace. The final moments of the coverage is for the long awaited balcony wave as a married couple.

The Beebs is offering 5 and a half hours of coverage. Reporters will be stationed around Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and The Mall watching the preparations as they unfold, reporting on all the movements and speaking to members of the crowd who have travelled from all over to witness this piece of history. Guests include Royal historians and correspondents, fashion experts and possibly some guests who are attending the wedding service.

What will I appreciate the most? The hats. As soon as I have my fill, I will be going back to bed and then keeping an eye out for our encore broadcasts.

Here's a quick rundown of the airtimes and days:

LIVE on KUAZ NPR and PBS-HD Channel 6 - Midnight to 5:30 a.m.

Encore broadcasts:

PBS-HD - Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

World TV- Friday from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

PBS-HD - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

PBS-HD - Sunday from 4:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

World TV, you ask? You can catch World TV on Broadcast 27-3, Comcast 203, and Cox 83.

Stay tuned,

Susie the TV Programmer


Gustavo returns to Ch. 6

Look for a diverse schedule of GREAT PERFORMANCES on PBS HD Ch. 6 starting on April 9th.

Launching our new lineup on Saturday afternoons @ 3 PM is La Boheme: The Movie.

The schedule will feature a diverse group of performances: classical music, opera, popular song, musical theater, dance, drama, and performance documentaries. GREAT PERF, as we call it in-house, has garnered 64 Emmy Awards and four George Foster Peabody Awards. Many times, the series is offered in the evenings, but with 3+ hours to watch, not all of us can stay up to watch the end.

I really feel that this series is important to our community. This is no big aha moment, I realize, as the series has received every major television honor. Many people think GREAT PERF is essential! What I think is truly cool, is that regardless of geographic or economic limitations, GREAT PERFORMANCES insures its audiences the best seats in the house and now we can watch it without worrying we'd miss some of the show!

Here's April's lineup:

Saturday, April 9 La Boheme - The Movie

Saturday, April 16 @ 3 PM Dance In America: New York Export: Opus Jazz, followed by In The Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams @ 4 PM

Saturday, April 23 Great Performances at The Met: The Audition

Saturday, April 30 Great Performances: Celebracion! Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic with Juan Diego Florez

All programswill start at 3 PM unless noted otherwise!

La Boheme - The Movie: Giacomo Puccinis enduring 1896 blockbuster now makes its way to the big screen in a lushly atmospheric movie adaptation directed by Robert Dornhelm. The operatic "dream couple" -- sensational Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and dashing Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon -- reunite as the doomed lovers Mimi and Rodolfo, joined by George von Bergen (vocals by Boaz Daniel) as Marcello, Adrian Erod as Schaunard, Vitalij Kowaljow as Colline, Tiziano Bracci as Benoit and Nicole Cabell as Musetta.

Dance In America: New York Export: Opus Jazz: A "ballet in sneakers" choreographed by the legendary Jerome Robbins in 1958, NY Export: Opus Jazz was a breakout success in its day, complete with a world tour and a broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show. Set to a jazz score by Robert Prince, the five movements blend ballet, jazz and ballroom with Latin, African and American rhythms to create a style that remains expressive, sensual and contemporary. Co-conceived by New York City Ballet principal dancers Ellen Bar and Sean Suozzi, this film production takes the overlooked Robbins' masterpiece off of the stage and places it back into the landscapes that inspired it, filmed on locations all over the five boroughs of New York. The 16 emblematic characters are city kids drawn together by their youth, their energy and their hunger for life, but this "Opus Jazz" takes them out of the 50s and into today. Fashions and skylines change, but the experience of being young in New York belongs to every generation.

In The Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams: In a journey reminiscent of the unexpected zeitgeist success of Hair, A Chorus Line, and Rent, the story behind the success of In the Heights is so organic to New York City that no one expected it to happen. Beginning at a small, off-Broadway theater, a group of talented young artists led by composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda produced an original musical that some have called a modern day West Side Story-a Latin and Hip-Hop-infused musical odyssey telling the story of a neighborhood and the first-generation Americans who call it home. And yet, many in the show's audiences have nothing to compare it to as it represents the first musical that they've journeyed below 125th Street to see. Opening on Broadway in spring 2008 and going on to win five Tony Awards-including Best New Musical-In the Heights on Broadway follows the cast and creative team as they embark on the greatest adventure of their young careers.

Great Performances at The Met: The Audition: The Audition looks at the intense pressures young opera singers face as they struggle to succeed in one of the most difficult professions in the performing arts. The feature-length documentary goes behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, where each year thousands of hopefuls compete for a cash prize, the chance to sing on the Met stage -- and the opportunity to launch a major operatic career. The film covers the dramatic week leading up to the finals of the 2007 auditions, focusing on three very different tenor contestants: Michael Fabiano, a fiery 22-year-old grappling with his inner demons; Alek Shrader, a 25-year-old with movie-star looks who attempts to sing nine high Cs in the fiendishly difficult aria that made Pavarotti a star; and Ryan Smith, who at the age of 30, and with little formal training, is pursuing his dream of operatic career.

Great Performances: Celebracion! Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic with Juan Diego Florez: Flórez and Dudamel, close friends off the concert stage, developed the special lineup of bel canto arias and popular Latin American canciones by Rossini, Granda, Lara, Moncayo, Grever, Gutiérrez and Márquez for this special. Great Performances returns to the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall for another concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and music director Gustavo Dudamel. Joined by superstar tenor Juan Diego Florez.

So, what was on from 3 to 5 PM? A cooking show, and two travel shows! One of the travel shows, Globetrekker, airs on Sundays @ 5 PM. The cooking show and travel show in the 3 PM block rotated around. Since so many folks watch our lifestyle channel, Create TV, I thought I'd take advantage of that time for some much needed performance shows!

As always, I look forward to your feedback and requests!

Stay tuned!

Susie the TV Priogrammer

Schedule Changes,

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