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PBS

Topics You Can Count On

September 20, 1998|JON MATSUMOTO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

As usual, PBS will offer a wide variety of educational programming this fall--and for viewers of all ages.

How to cope with cancer, the life and work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the Internet will be subjects of some of the specials. New series will include a six-part look at American lighthouses and a four-part documentary on the history of slavery in the United States.

In the ever-changing world of television, PBS also offers viewers a strong sense of stability and continuity with many of its returning series. "Masterpiece Theater" enters its 28th season, for example, while "Nature" embarks on its 17th campaign.

Here are highlights (with dates for KCET included where available):

SPECIALS

"Living With Cancer: A Message of Hope": A conversation with some of the nearly 10 million Americans who have discovered that the diagnosis of the disease is not a death sentence. Thursday.

"Picasso Paints Picasso": This one-hour documentary shows how the celebrated artist, wittingly or unwittingly, portrayed himself in his work. Oct. 7.

"Margaret Sanger": A biography of the pioneering feminist and birth control advocate. The telecast coincides with the 82nd anniversary of Sanger's opening of the first birth control clinic in America in 1916. Oct. 12.

"The :30 Second Candidate": A look at how the 30-second television commercial dominates American politics. Oct. 13.

"John Glenn, American Hero": The life and career of the astronaut and U.S. senator is the subject of this one-hour program. Oct. 28.

"Frank Lloyd Wright": The eventful life and trailblazing work of the great architect is at the center of this two-part documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Nov. 10-11.

"Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet": The growth of the Internet and how self-described "geeks" have turned into billionaires takes up a three-hour special. Hosted by author, Web-columnist and PBS personality Robert X. Cringely. Nov. 25.

NEW SERIES

"Crown & Country": Edward Windsor--the third son of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh--is host of this seven-part series about English history. Sept. 27.

"Legendary Lighthouses": A series revolving around the history and romance of lighthouses in the United States. California's St. George Reef Lighthouse, Thomas Point Lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay and the lighthouses of the Great Lakes are featured over six parts. Oct. 5.

"Africans in America": The four-part series looks at the international events leading up to the growth of racial slavery in the United States. It opens in the 16th century on Africa's Gold Coast with the European and African trade, and ends on the eve of the American Civil War in 1861. The economic and intellectual foundations of slavery and the global economy that prospered from it will also be examined. Oct. 19-22.

"Jewish Cooking in America With Joan Nathan": Jewish food and culture in the United States is the focus of this series, which is based on the cookbook of the same name. Nathan visits the kitchens of celebrities, chefs and Jewish cooks. TBA.

RETURNING SERIES

"Frontline": "The Farmer's Wife," a three-part miniseries about a Nebraska farm couple, kicks off the new season. Somalia, biological weapons and campaign finance are a few of the other topics coming up in this usually thought-provoking documentary series. Premiers Monday.

"Masterpiece Theatre": Ian Holm plays the title role in Shakespeare's "King Lear." Oct. 11. Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" is faithfully adapted with Orla Brady and Robert Cavanah in the lead roles. Oct. 18. In "A Respectable Trade," an 18th century Bristol dockside businessman gambles everything to join the big traders of the city. Oct. 25. A relationship develops between a World War I soldier suffering from amnesia and a nurse in "The Unknown Soldier." Nov. 1. "The Student Prince" finds a naive prince and his bodyguard arriving at Cambridge University. Nov. 22.

"Sessions at West 54th": David Byrne is the new host of this series featuring a diverse mix of artists and musical genres, ranging from adult alternative, world and new age to jazz, folk and classical. This season's lineup will include Cowboy Junkies, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed and Pat Metheny. Oct. 3.

"Nova": The science series celebrates its 25th anniversary season with eight new segments, including a special three-hour miniseries ("Ice Mummies") that journeys to the Andes, Siberia and the Alps to explore frozen bodies from ancient civilizations. El Nin~o, the Mir Space Station, the special-effects behind the film "Titanic" and leopards are some of the other topics that the series will cover. Oct. 6.

"Nature": Five new programs will be presented by television's longest-running weekly natural history program. The highlight will be "India: Land of the Tiger," a six-part series showcasing the natural history and wildlife of India. Other programs will feature the polar bear, sharks, the American bison and the wildlife that inspired the nature songs of the late John Denver. Oct. 11.

"Mystery!": Liars, cheaters, scoundrels, kidnappers, murders, malingerers and blackmailers all come together during this series' 19th season. Robson Green stars as Detective Dave Creegan in the miniseries "Touching Evil." Oct. 1. "The Life and Crimes of William Palmer" is a true crime story about a brilliant and depraved Victorian physician. Nov. 12.

"Charlie Rose": The interview show hosted by the New York-based journalist can now be seen weekdays at 5 p.m. as well as weeknights at 11 p.m. The 5 p.m. telecast will be a repeat of the previous night's show. Continuing.

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