PBS Announces New Programming and Initiatives During Winter 2020 TCA Session

PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AmericanPortraitPBS–Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS announced new programs and initiatives launching throughout 2020. A brief synopsis of each is listed below. Please click the links to download the full press releases.


Celebration features favorite PBS personalities, social media campaign and launch of unprecedented storytelling initiative: PBS American Portrait

When PBS first went on the air nearly 50 years ago, it was born out of a groundbreaking idea: that Americans deserve a non-commercial television service whose sole mission is to educate and inspire. Guided by that bold mission, public television has transformed communities and strengthened lives. Today, at the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger reflected on the organization’s storied history and shared plans for the year ahead, including the launch of the anniversary’s signature programming initiative, PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT. See a commemorative video here.

PBS Launches New National Storytelling Project, PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT, Exploring What It Really Means to Be an American Today

PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT, a national storytelling project aligned with PBS’s 50th anniversary celebration, is the organization’s most ambitious multiplatform project in its history. A digital-first initiative produced by RadicalMedia, AMERICAN PORTRAIT begins as a platform for user-generated content participation, and is envisioned to encompass publishing, short form content, classroom engagement, a web miniseries, public art installations, live events and, in January 2021, a nationally televised documentary series on PBS stations.

PBS Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Women’s Vote with AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The Vote,” Along with Multiplatform Content Honoring Suffragists, Feminist Leaders and Modern-Day Changemakers

In the summer of 2020, PBS will launch a slate of multiplatform content to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote in the United States. As part of its strategy to present thematically connected programming each quarter, PBS will honor and commemorate those who fought for women’s suffrage in the U.S., the feminist movement throughout the 20th century, and the stories of modern women who continue to shatter the glass ceiling and transform modern history.

PBS Shines Light on Health with Spring Slate Featuring New Series and Specials Focusing on Well-Being

PBS today announced a new spring programming lineup that will shine a light on health and the challenges and diseases that sometimes stand in the way. From April through May 2020, PBS will premiere 14.5 hours of new series and specials, showcasing how humans can influence their brains and bodies to achieve a sense of well-being. Programs will examine the science of how the human brain and body work, and will seek to educate viewers about health issues that sometimes get stigmatized.


PBS KIDS Announces DONKEY HODIE, New Preschool Series Inspired by Characters from MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, Premiering Winter 2021

PBS KIDS today announced DONKEY HODIE, a new social-emotional series for children ages 3-5 created by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures. DONKEY HODIE is slated to premiere nationwide on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and PBS KIDS digital platforms in winter 2021.

The imaginative puppet series follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character (now known as “Grampy Hodie”), a puppet from MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, who appeared in 59 episodes of the beloved classic children’s show from 1968-1993. The new multiplatform show is filmed at WTTW, the flagship PBS station in Chicago.

PBS KIDS and Fred Rogers Productions to Debut New Season and First Podcast from ODD SQUAD

Kicking off February 17 and featuring 20 new half-hour episodes, this season of the popular live-action show will take viewers along on adventures all around the world, as Odd Squad hits the road in a Mobile Unit for the first time. The upcoming season will introduce an all-new cast of four intrepid agents—Opal (Valentina Herrera), Omar (Jayce Alexander), Oswald (Gavin MacIver-Wright – Heartland, Sesame Street) and Orla (Alyssa Hidalgo -“Got Milk” campaign) — who will travel together in their custom-outfitted Odd Squad van to tackle oddness wherever they find it. The agents will report back to Ms. O (Millie Davis – Orphan Black), who has been promoted to “The Big O” in the new season. As they travel from New York City to Pittsburgh, Australia to Zambia and beyond, the agents encounter a range of mysterious characters, including the villainous Sand Queen, played by Academy Award-nominated actress Toni Collette.

About PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV— including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

For images and additional up-to-date information on PBS programs and announcements, visit PBS PressRoom at pbs.org/pressroom.

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Jeremy Gaines, PBS; jmgaines@pbs.org, 646-342-3649

Jennifer Rankin Byrne, PBS; jrbyrne@pbs.org, 202-257-6495

Maria Vera Whelan, PBS KIDS; mverawhelan@pbs.org, 703-541-9693

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