Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Many Rivers to Cross

Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross at 7 p.m. starting Tuesday, Oct. 22 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.Five centuries of history and change covered in just six hours… better not miss an episode. It’s hard to believe so much has changed in such a relatively short amount of time. Surely it will seem like even less time when hundreds of years are whittled down to a mere six episodes.

Talk about a can’t-miss opportunity for anyone looking for an express tour of African-American history. So much change so quickly almost makes it sound like a clever novel telling the most amazing tale of rags to riches. I mean humans have been fighting each other over their differences for thousands of years, and yet it only took a few hundred years for African-Americans to climb the ladder from slaves to President of the United States… just doesn’t seem possible for so much to happen so fast.

PROGRAMMING UPDATE: PBS NewsHour Coverage of President Obama's Address Tuesday Night

Wisconsin Public Television will carry special PBS NewsHour coverage of President Obama’s address to the nation tonight at 8 p.m. You can read more about the President’s ongoing work around the conflict in Syria in this online NewsHour report and watch Gwen Ifill’s interview with Obama from yesterday (pictured above) at this link.

This special presentation of Obama’s address means there will be a couple TV schedule interruptions. American Masters: Billie Jean King will still air at 7 p.m., but will be interrupted at 8 for the address. That program’s final 30 minutes will resume at the conclusion of the NewsHour coverage. Extraordinary Women: Martha Gelhorn will be broadcast at the conclusion of American Masters.

If you’d like to watch an uninterrupted version of American Masters: Billie Jean King, tune in to WPT at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.

Exclusive Interviews With President Obama and Syrian President Assad on WPT

President Obama on NewsHour at 6 p.m.
President Assad with Charlie Rose at 9 p.m. 

As the debate continues over the potential for United States military action in Syria, Wisconsin Public Television will broadcast two new PBS interviews with President Barack Obama and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In her first night as co-host and managing editor of PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill interviews Obama on that show’s broadcast at 6 p.m. It is the second time in the past week that Obama has sat down with Ifill. You can watch the interview from last week online here.

Then, in a special edition of Charlie Rose at 9 p.m., the veteran journalist presents his entire exclusive interview with Assad from Damascus. It is Assad’s first interview with American television in two years. You can also watch Rose’s interview with Assad at 8 or 10 p.m. on The Wisconsin Channel, or stream it online at those times at this link. PBS NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan filed this report on Rose’s interview with Assad, including the Syrian president’s remarks about his plans for retaliation against any U.S. attack in that country.

Follow full coverage of the war in Syria, the recent chemical weapon attacks in that country and the ongoing debate in Congress over potential military intervention at the PBS NewsHour online.

A Look Ahead With WPT's Director of Programming

Read up on this month’s “don’t miss” programs selected by Director of Programming, Garry Denny.
You can find all the programs listed below and more on the WPT Schedule.

DCI Banks
Every October I pack a small bag and take a flight to New Orleans for a preview screening of new BBC program offers. The event, BBC Showcase, is a 2-day affair where approximately 100 public television programmers from around the country gather to watch extended clips of dozens of BBC dramas, comedies and documentaries being offered for our schedules. Admittedly it can be exciting to see what’s new and available, but right DCI Banksaround the 9th or 10th long clip I get a little fidgety and want to leave the cold, dark screening room for the fun of the French Quarter. This past year, however, the desire to bolt for the great outdoors was delayed by clips from the new BBC crime drama series DCI Banks. After just seven minutes of the first episode I was hooked. The main character Alan Banks (played by Stephen Tompkinson of Ballykissangel) is a seasoned, no-nonsense chief detective who leads a unit of investigators that catch the most high profile and complex cases. The stories in each episode are gritty, engaging, and at times quite challenging – for the investigators and the audience. I love DCI Banks and if you give the show a shot I think you’ll fall in love as well. DCI Banks premieres on Friday, January 11 at 9 p.m. and runs for seven weeks.

Frontline: Inside Obama’s Presidency
I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating: Frontline is THE best investigative journalism show on television. With the long campaign over and election decided Frontline takes an in-depth look at President Obama’s first four years in office, and looks ahead to the next four years. Using Frontline’s unrivaled access to politicians and White House confidants the documentary paints the picture of a presidency that began with so much hope and promise, but stumbled along the way while learning some very tough lessons about governing our complex nation. “Inside Obama’s Presidency” examines both the triumphs and failures, leaving the viewer with a deeper understanding of not just the man, but the maddening inner workings of government. Frontline “Inside Obama’s Presidency” premieres on Tuesday, January 15 at 9 p.m. and encores on Wednesday, January 16 at 10 p.m.


Independent Lens: Beauty is Embarrassing
Some films are just so hard to describe. But defying description is what makes “Beauty is Embarrassing” such a wonderful film. You may not know the name Neil Berkeley, but I’ll Beauty is Embarrassingbet you’ve seen his work. Neil is an artist who first came to national attention as a designer, illustrator, animator and puppeteer for the classic kids’ series Pee Wee’s Playhouse. As an artist Neil has a unique, bizarre and unassuming style that is just plain fun. Well, strange and fun to be sure. In “Beauty is Embarrassing” we enter Neil’s world and are immediately taken by just how prolific he has been in his career as we are introduced to his paintings, sculptures, living art, animations and quirky sense of humor. This film will make you smile, laugh out loud and pat yourself on the back for spending the hour with Wisconsin Public Television. Independent Lens “Beauty is Embarrassing” premieres on Monday, January 21 at 9 p.m.

NOVA: Who Killed Lindbergh’s Baby?
It’s clear that American television audiences have a fascination with true crime stories. Almost everything about it catches our attention – the victim, the crime, the perpetrator, the law and legal wrangling. It’s all-so very Law & Order-ish (my favorite drama series of all time). Jumping into the fray is our esteemed science series NOVA with an episode titled “Who Killed Lindbergh’s Baby?” The facts of the crime are well-known: on the evening of March 1, 1932 the baby boy of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was kidnapped from their home in Hopewell, NJ and after weeks of failed ransom negotiations the boy was found dead less than five miles away from home. For this documentary the team at NOVA decided to reopen the investigation and lend a new, more scientific approach to determining the truth. Using state-of-the-art forensics and behavioral science techniques the team of investigators seek to determine what happened, who the true culprits are and why baby Lindbergh was kidnapped on the first place. Despite the age of the crime and what you may think you already know, this is a gripping hour of television. NOVA “Who Killed Lindbergh’s Baby?” premieres on Wednesday, January 30 at 8 p.m. and encores on Tuesday, February 5 at 11 p.m.

Before you make a choice, watch "The Choice"

Watch Frontline: The Choice at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Have you seen any political advertisements lately? Living in a swing state during a presidential election year is certainly a test for folks who don’t like the posturing and back and forth of the political cycle. For folks who can’t get enough of it, there is nowhere better to be than Wisconsin right now. Regardless of where you land on that spectrum, we can all agree that in informed electorate is the best electorate. That’s where Frontline‘s “The Choice” can help us all.

As they have done for many past elections, the political journalists at Frontline present a two-hour documentary that dives below the advertising rhetoric to uncover the issues, essential moments and experiences that have worked together to influence and shape President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. It is an unflinching, unbiased look into the election and should be required viewing for everyone stepping into a voting booth. Voters on both sides of the political aisle will probably find surprises about the candidates they support and oppose. And undecided voters will find an in-depth look into the race. Tune in tomorrow before you make “The Choice.”

Watch a preview now:

Watch “The Choice 2012” Trailer on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Debate Season

Watch PBS Newshour Debates 2012 at 8 p.m. starting Wednesday, Oct. 3 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Obama and RomneyIn case you hadn’t noticed the overwhelming wave of political advertisements, satire, news and volunteers asking if you’re registered to vote everywhere you go, there’s an election right around the corner. This of course means that it’s time for all the debates to begin so everyone can get their final pitch in, get their message across and get some of the undecided voters to lean their way.

Thanks to PBS Newshour, you can tune in for each of the four debates this month and get some answers from each of the candidates and find out what they’ll do if elected. Each debate is set to last around two hours and present a variety of topics to each of the candidates, the first debate focusing on domestic policy.

Don’t miss these great opportunities to become better informed on where each candidate stands on issues important to you. It doesn’t matter who you decide to vote for, everyone should be able to walk to the polls with their head held high knowing that they are making a well thought-out decision.

Presidential Debate – Wednesday, Oct. 3
Vice Presidential Debate – Thursday, Oct. 11
Presidential Debate – Tuesday, Oct. 16
Presidential Debate – Monday, Oct. 22

Motown Sound

Watch In Performance at the White House: The Motown Sound at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 12 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Nothing but the best for the President and first lady. The best part is, we get to sit in on the show from the comfort of our own homes. I’m excited to hear some of the classics played live for once, mp3s just don’t do justice to certain songs. Granted they won’t be performed by the original artists, but there’s a pretty good lineup of talented people to keep Motown alive.

A lesser-known history of Chicago

Watch DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis at 9 p.m. Monday, March 14 on Wisconsin Public Television.

The election of President Barack Obama marked a historic moment in American history as he became the first African-American man to serve in the White House. It was also another in a long line of historic landmarks in the rich African-American history of Chicago.

This exciting new film from WTTW, WPT’s sister station in Chicago, outlines the rich history of the African-American community in Chicago. Since Jean Baptiste Point DuSable — considered the father of Chicago — founded a trading post in this place on the shore of Lake Michigan, the city’s growth has been shaped and led by African-American leadership, innovation and determination.

Watch a preview of the film below, then tune in to watch this powerful documentary on WPT.

Photographing the President

Watch The President’s Photographer at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7 on Wisconsin Public Television.

The President of the United States is one of the most powerful people in the world. As citizens, we get to see the President in occasional televised speeches and press conferences, perhaps as part of a large crowd at a traveling rally, town hall meeting or campaign stop, or — most often — in television news snippets of him exiting or entering Air Force One or walking across the grounds of the White House. These days, Pete Souza gets a much closer look at the life of the President.

Souza is President Barack Obama’s official photographer and his access is nearly unencumbered. In this fascinating program, take a ride along with Souza as he takes photos of important meetings, high-powered events and poignant moments. And, learn how he and his staff tell the story of the Obama White House through up to 80,000 images per month!

Click here to see some of Souza’s powerful images at the White House’s official Flickr feed.

State of the Union online and on-air

Watch President Obama’s State of the Union Address at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25 on Wisconsin Public Television.

In an annual rite of government, President Barack Obama will present his State of the Union Address to Congress and the nation. This year, the address is more accessible than ever. WPT will offer live PBS NewsHour coverage of the address and the Republican Response from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on-air. But, if you are away from your television, the folks at NewsHour are preparing other coverage options, too. Visit this link to find online streaming and mobile options, including Twitter updates and iPhone streaming video.