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January 8, 2014 | By Patrick Kevin Day, This post has been corrected. See note below for details.
Ruben Salazar, the former Los Angeles Times reporter and columnist who became an engaged supporter of the radical Chicano movement in Los Angeles, died under mysterious circumstances in 1970. Now a new documentary set to air on PBS in April will reassess his life and the facts surrounding his death. "Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle," directed and produced by Phillip Rodriguez, will use information from newly released files, as well as interviews with Salazar's friends, family members and former co-workers at The Times to provide a compelling new biography.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2014 | By Scott Collins
KCET-TV will have to navigate the storm it now faces without its longtime captain. Al Jerome, who has run the troubled public TV outlet for the last 18 years, announced Tuesday that he would be stepping down from the organization, even as mounting financial woes threaten to overwhelm it. Jerome, 71, said he plans to retire in the next six months while he helps Burbank-based KCETLink, which now runs the station, find a new chief executive....
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 20, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"The Hollow Crown," which begins Friday on PBS under the venerable standard of its "Great Performances," comprises four Shakespeare plays, often called the Henriad as there is a King Henry (Henry IV, then Henry V) in each of them. It's too much to say that this is what television was made for - since it was also made for professional wrestling and situation comedies - but it is part of its original promise and compact, that ennobling great works of art (ennobling in their greatness, that is, not in any didactic way)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2014 | By Ed Stockly
Customized TV Listings are available here: www.latimes.com/tvtimes Click here to download TV listings for the week of Feb. 9 - 15, 2014 in PDF format This week's TV Movies   See latest XXII Winter Olympics TV schedule here.   SERIES Great Performances London's Royal National Theatre celebrates 50 years in this new episode that features appearances and performances from numerous stage veterans, including James Corden, Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Rory Kinnear, Helen Mirren, Simon Russell Beale, Alan Bennett and Joan Plowright.
OPINION
October 20, 2012
Re "Republicans for 'Sesame Street,'" Oct. 16 Jo Ellen Chatham's Op-Ed article is a compelling argument for maintaining federal funding for PBS. I would also like to hear her views on Mitt Romney's desire to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood and to switch Medicaid to a block-grant program. Surely Chatham's compassionate stance on early childhood education for the disadvantaged is reflected in her feelings about healthcare for low-income women and others. Assuming she expresses similar compassion for these people, I would like to know why she is voting for Romney and encouraging others to do the same.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 12, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Times Television Critic
"Brains on Trial," Thursday and Sept. 19 on PBS, offers a two-part look at "how brains work when they become entangled with the law. " That is not the John Agar 1950s sci-fi flick it might first sound like, but a look at how recent research into neuroscience and brain mapping changes our understanding of basic questions of human reliability, memory and bias among witnesses, juries and judges. These epistemological problems, pondered by philosophers since time immemorial, are no less difficult today; if anything, they are complicated by new knowledge.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Pledge-break messages tend to be something that public television and radio audiences tolerate rather than welcome, but Steve Martin is riding to the rescue with a witty clip he shot for PBS stations to air during fundraising campaigns starting next month. “Hi, Steve Martin again,” he says at the top of the clip. “You know I'm not just asking you to make a pledge to PBS. I'm also asking my celebrity friends. Right now I'm going to text Tom Hanks, my big celebrity friend.” The response Martin reads when his cellphone dings isn't quite what stations look for, but the bit refreshingly avoids the stiff testimonials that typify these campaigns.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2014 | By Jessica Gelt
At 60, Ken Burns is just getting started. "I feel more creatively alive right now than I've ever felt in my entire life, and I think I've got the best job in the world," the prolific historical documentarian said Monday evening at the Television Critics Assn. media tour in Pasadena. Burns said he has always worked according to a 10-year plan. The current cycle, which will lead him to the year 2020, includes six upcoming projects and a soon-to-be-released documentary called "The Address.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 19, 2000
Re "Executive at CNN Taking Helm at PBS" (by Elizabeth Jensen, Feb. 7): I've watched KCET programming move progressively to the left, and with the naming of Pat Mitchell as president of PBS, that liberal bias appears likely to accelerate. The recent interview of President Clinton on the "NewsHour" exemplifies the liberal bias on PBS programs: a softball interview designed to provide a forum for Clinton to do what he does best--spin and lie. Obvious, tough follow-up questions were never asked.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 24, 2005
Thanks to Robert Lloyd for a fun but well-written commentary about PBS ["PBS and Its Grand Ambitions," July 17]. I agree with his comments, especially regarding the "NewsHour." The only palpable left-leaning bias that existed on PBS was with Bill Moyers. Occasionally a leftward imbalance shows up on "Washington Week," but it isn't nearly as overbearing as it was until Mr. Moyers departed. However the issue I have with PBS isn't editorial as much as funding. I still don't understand why my tax dollars, which are taken by force of law, are needed to support entertainment television of any kind, especially when there is such a plethora of choices on the dial.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Pledge-break messages tend to be something that public television and radio audiences tolerate rather than welcome, but Steve Martin is riding to the rescue with a witty clip he shot for PBS stations to air during fundraising campaigns starting next month. “Hi, Steve Martin again,” he says at the top of the clip. “You know I'm not just asking you to make a pledge to PBS. I'm also asking my celebrity friends. Right now I'm going to text Tom Hanks, my big celebrity friend.” The response Martin reads when his cellphone dings isn't quite what stations look for, but the bit refreshingly avoids the stiff testimonials that typify these campaigns.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
As the title of this episode of "American Masters" suggests, "Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth" is a lovely and lyrical tribute to the great American writer and activist who turns 70 on Sunday, two days after the film airs on PBS. February is, of course, Black History Month, which makes the non-birthday aspect of the timing dispiriting. Surely it shouldn't require an African American-themed event to warrant a tribute to Walker. And yet it is also reaffirming as well since it looks like Black History Month remains a very good idea.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 27, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
A relatively evenhanded and necessarily inconclusive close-up look at immigration wars and identity politics in the Grand Canyon State, "The State of Arizona" (PBS, Monday) features major players and ordinary citizens on each side of the battle as well as some who look at both sides from a confounded middle ground. Directed by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini (collaborators on the 2004 "Farmingville," about the attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers in a Long Island town), it is set mostly around 2010 and 2011 and centers on the passage of, implementation of and challenges to SB 1070, a still-controversial multi-part anti-illegal-immigration bill.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2014 | By Jessica Gelt
At 60, Ken Burns is just getting started. "I feel more creatively alive right now than I've ever felt in my entire life, and I think I've got the best job in the world," the prolific historical documentarian said Monday evening at the Television Critics Assn. media tour in Pasadena. Burns said he has always worked according to a 10-year plan. The current cycle, which will lead him to the year 2020, includes six upcoming projects and a soon-to-be-released documentary called "The Address.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2014 | by Greg Braxton
Samantha Grant has a message for viewers who tune in to her documentary "A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power and Jayson Blair," which examines the case of the disgraced New York Times journalist whose plagiarism and invention of sources tarnished the newspaper's reputation and led to the downfall of two top editors. Be careful about believing Jayson Blair. Grant's film features exclusive interviews with Blair speaking in rare detail about the events in 2003. She said viewers should be skeptical of his account.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2014 | By Greg Braxton
Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali is having a TV renaissance. HBO last year premiered "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight," a docudrama centered on the legal battle in 1967 that erupted when the heavyweight champion and newly converted Muslim refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War and was stripped of his title. That film, directed by Stephen Frears, focused primarlily on the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the case. Ali is seen in a few film clips but is largely absent from the film. But the athlete is front and center in "The Trials of Muhammad Ail," a documentary that will premiere April 14 on PBS' "Independent Lens.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 7, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Debuting Tuesday as part of the PBS series "American Experience," "The Poisoner's Handbook" offers a fascinating look back at how the chemical age changed police work. Based on Deborah Blum's 2010 book "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York," it is divided into toxin-specific "chapters," (cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide, lead, radium, denatured alcohol and so on), but there is nothing particularly instructional about it. A certain sort of viewer might get ideas, of course, but should he watch to the end he will learn that poisoning is a hard crime to get away with anymore.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 31, 2005
Reading Robert Lloyd's story about how public television ["PBS and Its Grand Ambitions," July 16] was created in 1967 as "a rebuke to free-market television" because the latter was depriving families of "a concert hall, a museum, a university, a forum," I was reminded of some of the schlock shows we peons of a certain age had to suffer through in front of our 19-inch screens when only three or four crassly commercial networks ruled. To name a few: Leonard Bernstein's "Young People's Concerts," Alistair Cooke's "Omnibus," "Playhouse 90," Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone," David Susskind's "Open End."
ENTERTAINMENT
January 20, 2014 | By Jessica Gelt
Benedict Cumberbatch is living proof of that elusive quality known as charisma. Thin and somewhat awkward, with a long face, a pronounced nose and an impish smile, the British actor has seemingly set the world on fire. Prior to his appearance on Monday at a PBS panel promoting the third (and highly anticipated) season of his television show, "Sherlock," rabid fans could be seen camping out near the entrance of the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. They held signs and autograph books and affected slightly desperate facial expressions, as if they weren't breathing very well and might soon need some form of resuscitation, preferably from Cumberbatch himself.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
It has been two years, in both real and fictional time, since Sherlock Holmes, as re-conceived by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss for the BBC series "Sherlock," stepped off a roof to fall apparently to his death. The three-adventure third season, with Holmes very much alive (we knew this already, spoiler spotters, and anyway, he'd have to be), begins Sunday on PBS. Some things have happened in the interim, the most important of them, perhaps, not to the characters but to the actors who play them.
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