January 2015 – TV Programming Highlights
Dec. 28 @ 7pm – The Great British Baking Show (series)
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW features 12 passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be the U.K.’s best. The series follows the trials and tribulations of the competitors — young and old, from diverse backgrounds across Britain — as they work to prove their baking prowess. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. PBS will present the BBC’s recent fifth season of the series, which received both critical and audience acclaim for its quick pace, lively comedic tone and competitor diversity.
Jan. 1 @ 7:30pm – Great Performances: From Vienna: The New Year’s Day Celebration
Always one of “our favorite things,” PBS continues the cherished tradition of ringing in the New Year at the opulent Musikverein with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of guest conductor Zubin Mehta, and featuring everyone’s favorite Strauss Family waltzes accompanied by the beautiful dancing of the Vienna City Ballet. In addition to the Musikverein concert setting, the broadcast features a picturesque range of Vienna landmarks. Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns as host.
Jan. 2 @ 8pm – Billy Joel: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize
This music special honors singer-songwriter Billy Joel’s receipt of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The evening will include performances by Joel, as well as Tony Bennett, Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw, Josh Groban, Natalie Maines, John Mellencamp and LeAnn Rimes, with a special performance by Kevin Spacey — as well as a dance ensemble performance from Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out.”
Jan. 4 @ 8pm – Masterpiece: Downton Abbey: Season 5 (series)
This Emmy® and Golden Globe® award-winning hit drama returns for a fifth season of intimately interlaced stories centered on an English country estate — an entertaining formula that has made “Downton Abbey” the highest-rated drama in PBS history. The acclaimed ensemble cast is joined by guest stars Harriet Walter as Lady Shackleton and Peter Egan as Lord Flintshire, together with new characters played by Richard E. Grant, Anna Chancellor and Rade Sherbedgia.
Jan. 5 @ 7pm – Antiques Roadshow (Season 19)
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW hits a homerun in the premiere of season 19 with a treasure-filled visit to New York City and its largest sports memorabilia find ever! Mark L. Walberg and appraiser Eric Silver take a trip to the New-York Historical Society to discuss Frèdèric Auguste Bartholdi Statue of Liberty statuettes. Highlights include an unpublished Art Spiegelman book proposal, ca. 1974, that was positioned to become a sequel to his quotation book Whole Grains; a headboard from the set of The Godfather, Part II that was purchased for under $25; and an archive of rare photographic baseball cards with a handwritten letter from the 1871-1872 Boston Red Stockings, appraised at $1,000,000.
Jan. 6 @ 9pm – Frontline: Gunned Down
FRONTLINE investigates how the NRA uses its unrivaled political power to stop gun regulation in America. With first-hand accounts of school killings in Newtown and Columbine, and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, “Gunned Down” examines why, despite the national trauma over gun violence, Washington hasn’t acted.
Jan. 8 @ 7:30pm – Beyond Geek (series)
Each half-hour episode of BEYOND GEEK will delve into fringe ideas that might seem a little odd and sometimes quite a bit out there. From a group trying to get to space in a balloon to people who dress up as superheroes to fight crime, our hosts dive deep into these amazing stories by joining in the adventure, and taking you on a truly unique ride of how and why these people do what they do.
Jan. 9 @ 8pm – Great Performances: American Voices with Rene Fleming
Conceived and hosted by renowned American singer Renée Fleming, American Voices is the groundbreaking festival of performances, master sessions and symposia convened in November 2013 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, bringing together vocal masters, industry titans and emerging artists to celebrate the artistry, technique and challenges of professional singing. During six master sessions, fledgling artists receive one-on-one mentoring from iconic singers in a variety of genres: Eric Owens in classical, Dianne Reeves in jazz, Alison Krauss with Dr. Thomas Cleveland in country, Ben Folds in pop, Sutton Foster in musical theater and Kim Burrell in gospel.
Jan. 13 @ 7pm – Genealogy Roadshow (series)
Follow a diverse cast of participants on an emotional journey that uses history and science to uncover their fascinating family stories. Each individual’s past will link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America. The programs feature participants from three American cities — St. Louis, New Orleans and Philadelphia — who want to explore a genealogical mystery.
Jan 14 @ 9pm – Faith in the Big House
Faith in the Big House explores the formulas used by Christian missionaries to convert inmates in America’s prison. At a maximum security facility in Louisiana, a group of Christian evangelicals arrive to conduct a carefully-scripted religious retreat. Five felons, handpicked by the Warden, join other inmates in this "Encounter with Christ".
Jan. 16 @ 8pm – Great Performances at the Met: Le Nozze di Figaro
Met music director James Levine conducts a spirited new production of Mozart’s masterpiece, directed by Richard Eyre, who sets the action of this classic domestic comedy in an 18th-century manor house in Seville during the 1930s. Dashing bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov leads the cast in the title role of the clever servant, opposite Marlis Petersen as his bride, Susanna, Peter Mattei as the philandering count they work for, Amanda Majeski as the long-suffering countess and Isabel Leonard as the libidinous pageboy, Cherubino.
Jan. 18 @ 9pm – Masterpiece Mystery! Grantchester (series)
James Norton (Belle) stars as Sidney Chambers, a young and charismatic vicar who turns amateur investigator when one of his parishioners dies under suspicious circumstances. Sidney turns to gruff, down-to-earth-police inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green, Reckless) for help, and the two become crime-solving partners and friends in the beautiful hamlet of Grantchester.
Jan. 20 @ 8pm – American Experience: Edison
The holder of 1,093 patents, Thomas Alva Edison was nearly synonymous with invention. Driven, intensely competitive and never more at home than he was at work, Edison would be remembered as the genius who created the modern world.
Jan. 30 @ 8pm – Shakespeare Uncovered (series)
In a unique series of six films, Shakespeare Uncovered combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts — Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, Trevor Nunn, Joely Richardson, and David Tennant — to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.