Show Previews

A new look at the history of Wausau

Watch Wisconsin Hometown Stories: Wausau at 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18 on Wisconsin Public Television. Attend one of two free special preview screening of the documentary at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19 at the Grand Theater in Wausau.

I am excited by the premiere of the newest installment of the Wisconsin Hometown Stories series. This time, the camera shines on the history of Wausau. In the program, you’ll learn about the unending innovation inspired by some of the city’s earliest industrialists. Archival photos and video along with interviews of local residents and historians tell the stories of the recent immigration experiences of the Hmong community and a number of events that put Wausau on the national map.

Enjoy a preview of the program below.

Birds of Paradise

Watch Nature: Birds of the Gods at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Journey into the depths of the New Guinean rainforest and find the same birds European explorers first discovered in the 16th century.  Birds so colorful and beautiful they were believed to be from the heavens and were named birds of paradise.  You can watch a brief preview here to see more of the amazing birds like the one to the right.  Without a doubt, these are the most interesting and peculiar birds I have ever seen.  Some of them don’t even really look like birds, not in the conventional way we think of birds here in Wisconsin anyways.  They come in all sorts of bright colors and have feathers that can completely change their shape.  Not sure if they can fly, but they could certainly scare away a predator or two.

The Strongest Stuff on Earth

Watch NOVA: Making Stuff Stronger at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Have you ever wondered where the materials of the future will come from?  This might just be the show for you.  In a new four-part series, NOVA explores some of the technology of the future.  Some of the newest and most amazing creations are made completely in a lab, while others are discovered out in nature and then replicated.  Whether it’s based on shark scales or a spider’s web, the possibilities for new technologies are endless.

Below is a preview of the NOVA’s “Making Stuff” series.  Wednesday’s episode focuses on making stuff stronger – like fibers smaller than human hair but stronger than steel.

MLK Jr. Ceremony

Watch The Annual State of Wisconsin Tribute & Ceremony to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 12:00 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17 on The Wisconsin Channel.

This Monday, we bring you the 31st Annual State of Wisconsin Tribute & Ceremony Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hosted by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Jonathan Overby.  I have only had the pleasure of seeing two of the past ceremonies, but they were both amazing and powerful.  Each year they have a variety of musical performances from solo artists to entire choruses.  As a true tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., don’t miss this wonderful event full of powerful speeches and stories from the people of Wisconsin.

Oh, the places you'll go

Watch Nature “White Falcon, White Wolf” at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16 on Wisconsin Public Television.

I am constantly amazed by the far-flung locales that I am able to visit just by flipping the television channel to Wisconsin Public Television. Who knows if that click of the remote will take me to the floor of the Capitol,  the forests of northern Wisconsin or beyond.

This Sunday, Nature takes viewers to a remote Canadian island to introduce us to two fascinating creatures that strive against common sense to thrive in an environment that only affords them less than three months of non-freezing temperatures. The arctic wolf and white gyrfalcon are beautiful creatures that fight the elements each year to make sure their species survives.

Watch a preview segment from the program below:

Meet the Children of Haiti

Watch Independent Lens “Children of Haiti” at 9:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14 on Wisconsin Public Television.

This touching film shows you what it’s like to be one of the many children living on the streets of Haiti.  What most people don’t realize is that even before the earthquake in January of 2010, more than 500,000 children were wandering the streets of Haiti.  Conditions only got worse after the quake, more children and families are without shelter and sanitary food and water. Producer/Director Alexandria Hammond brings us this amazing and eye-opening film that follows three teenage boys as they reflect on life in Haiti and their common dreams of education and government assistance.

The Dude Abides on WPT

Watch American Masters – Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Jeff Bridges is one of our country’s finest actors. Outside of his effortless silver screen roles, it is his easy-going, genuine everyman persona that has endeared him to fans like me. Sure, we know and love him as The Dude in The Big Lebowski, Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, Bad Blake in Crazy Heart (it finally won him that well-deserved Oscar) and even Kevin Flynn from Tron (both of them!), but this program presents the lesser-known aspects of his life. Bridges is a devoted family man, humanitarian, musician and artist.

Before the show’s premiere, Bridges sat down and answered a few questions from PBS about the development of the documentary and whether there is still a bit of The Dude left inside him.

Downton Abbey

Watch Masterpiece Classic “Downton Abbey” at 8:00 p.m. Sundays, starting Jan. 9 on Wisconsin Public Television.  Encore of each episode Mondays at 10:00 p.m.

The series that took the UK by storm is coming to Wisconsin Public Television.  Created by Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey is a fascinating production that brings the past to life with an amazing cast of actors.  On top of an already wonderful set and costumes, the story of this interesting family is told from multiple different perspectives with a bit of modern humor.  To truly appreciate this series staring Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern, you need to catch each of the four parts, the first of which is this Sunday.  Don’t miss out on this amazing program from Masterpiece about a family who lost so many on the Titanic!  I’ve added a preview of the first episode below, you can view more clips here.
My personal favorite – “What is a week end?”

In Wisconsin returns this week

Watch In Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on Wisconsin Public Television.

After a December hiatus, In Wisconsin returns this week with a new program that covers the state and the stories impacting Wisconsin citizens.

This week, join host Patty Loew as In Wisconsin features reports on Manitowoc photographers who are reviving the art of studio-portrait postcards, how the current economic downturn has resulted in record enrollment at colleges in the state, a Chinese business etiquette program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business and the advantage of value-added agriculture to a Waterloo farm.

Visit the In Wisconsin web page to watch all of the program’s archived reports.

Don’t forget to check out the WPT News and Public Affairs Producer’s Journal blog for behind-the-scenes insight and stories about upcoming reports.

The Life of Robert E. Lee

Watch American Experience: Robert E. Lee at 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Some hated him, others considered him a god.  Even a century and a half after his death, his life has continued to amaze people.  Find out why a military general serving during the bloodiest years in American history is celebrated with statues in countless cities and featured on two postage stamps.  American Experience covers the life and reputation of Robert E. Lee in this can’t-miss documentary.  I’ve attached a brief preview below, note this is not for WPT and you should ignore the January 3rd air date.