My local PBS station, WNET, also knew that this was an engaging special, as they broke in at least 4 times during the 90-minute special to ask for money. And these pledge breaks lingered to the point where I switched away from them to see what else was on, only to come a few minutes after they went back to Frontline, which only got me more annoyed. I'm sure a lot of people get annoyed at these breaks; people have been making fun of them for as long as I can remember. Here's what I want to know: do those pledge breaks (or "begathons," as they used to be called) still work?
- Charlie Rose: artist Chuck Close
- The Daily Show: John Waters
- The Colbert Report: Michael Eric Dyson
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Jeff Goldblum and The Good, The Bad and The Queen
- Jay Leno: Sandra Bullock, Andy Richter, and Evanescence
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Brad Garrett, Julian MacMahon, and Ted Nugent
- Tavis Smiley: P.J. O'Rourke and Audra McDonald (repeat)
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Chris Rock, Christopher Meloni, and Mary Weiss
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Peter O'Toole, Joely Fisher, and Dierks Bentley & The Grascals (repeat)
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Eric Roberts and Hellogoodbye
Sure, we all like sex, violence and cursing, but if you're like me, sometimes you like to pour yourself a nice cup of tea, settle into the couch, and watch something that's a bit more stimulating to the ol' gray matter. Therefore, here's a few shows coming up on PBS you might want to check out. Note that the first couple shows will air during the pledge period, so you'll have to check your listings for the exact date and time.
Kenny Rogers: The Journey (check local listings for date and time) - This combination concert and retrospective looks at forty years of Rogers' work, including interviews with the musician and singer.
- Charlie Rose: Wynton Marsalis
- The Daily Show: Senator Christopher Dodd
- The Colbert Report: Nicholas Kristof
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Chris Rock, Sandra Oh, and Amy Winehouse
- Jay Leno: Mark Wahlberg, Brad Garrett, and My Chemical Romance
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kate Walsh, Jackie Earle Haley, and Brian McKnight (repeat)
- Tavis Smiley: Penelope Cruz and James Longley (repeat)
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: David Hyde Pierce, Kate Mara, and Dr. Dog
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd (repeat)
- Last Call With Carson Daly: David Arquette and Warren Hayes
Call me a nerd, but I absolutely love big band music. Out of my rather small collection of about fifty vinyl albums, about fifteen of them are from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers, and others. When my grandfather passed away a few years ago, he left behind a nice stack of records, and I snatched them all up rather quickly. That music has a timelessness to it that's rare in today's music industry where bands are shuffled through to make way for the next big thing.
The PBS documentary Soundies (check your local listings for airdates) takes a look at "music videos" from the '40s. These weren't the videos we know today, but rather "soundies," viewed through a special machine called a panoram. The documentary is hosted by pianist Michael Feinstein.
Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room, the Academy Award-nominated documentary from 2005 that tells the story of the Enron scandal, will be featured on PBS' Independent Lens showcase on April 24 at 10:00 p.m. The televised version also features a new conversation from January 2007 with co-authors Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, two Fortune reporters who wrote the book The Smartest Guys in the Room, on which the documentary is based.
- Charlie Rose: Time Assistant Managing Editor Michael Duffy, Thomas Defrank of the New York Daily News, and Todd Purdum of Variety
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Ricky Gervais, Forest Whitaker, and The Shins (repeat)
- Jay Leno: Hugh Grant, Norah Jones, and Julie Scardina (repeat)
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Dane Cook, Albert Reyes, and Katharine McPhee (repeat)
- Tavis Smiley: Michael Eric Dyson and Dinaw Mengestu
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Martins Scorcese, Harland Williams, and The Decemberists (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Kerry Washington, Jeff Applebaum, and Aaron Lewis
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Adam Carolla and Rock Kills Kid (repeat)
- Charlie Rose: Martha Raddatz and Queen Latifah
- The Daily Show: Dr. Sharon Moalem
- The Colbert Report: Ted Koppel
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Jim Carrey and Kevin Harvick (repeat)
- Jay Leno: Don Rickles, John Stamos, and Rocco DeLuca and the Burden (repeat)
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Andy Dick, Ivanka Trump, and NAS (repeat)
- Tavis Smiley: Edward Brooke and Mike Farrell
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Gisele Bundchen, Jim Cramer, and Madeleine Peyroux (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Bill Maher, Jacinda Barrett, and Razorlight
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Kelly Hu and Unwritten Law (repeat)
- Charlie Rose: Governor Brian Schweitzer and Martha Raddatz of ABC News
- The Daily Show: Wynton Marsalis
- The Colbert Report: Michael Specter
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Dr. Phil and Fall Out Boy (repeat)
- Jay Leno: Matt Lauer and The All-American Rejects (repeat)
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Tenacious D and Guillermo Del Toro (repeat)
- Tavis Smiley: Chris Rock
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Matthew Perry, Xzibit, and The Rapture (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Andy Garcia and Rob Corddry
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Kelly Hu and Unwritten Law (repeat)
The death penalty, not unlike abortion rights, is a polarizing topic, and advocates on both sides of the death penalty debate have strong feelings about a state's right to end the life of a human being.
In "Race to Execution," which airs on PBS' Independent Lens on March 27 at 10:00 p.m., the question as to whether race plays a role in death penalty convictions is made the center focus. One story deals with Madison Hobley, a Chicago man sentenced to death for allegedly setting a fire that killed seven people, including his wife and young child. The other story deals with Robert Tarver, accused of shooting a white general store owner in Alabama. In the end, one man is executed and the other is exonerated.
The documentary takes the stance that a person's race, and the overall race of the jury, does play a significant role in whether or not a person is sentenced to death. However, the two people behind the film, Rachel Lyon and Jim Lopes, are on both sides of the debate (Lopes supports the death penalty and Lyon does not). No single work can serve as the ultimate Truth on the death penalty, but "Race to Execution" does offer one angle that's worth considering for anyone interested in educating themselves about this issue, no matter what their belief happens to be.
- Charlie Rose: ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz
- The Daily Show: Richard Jadick
- The Colbert Report: Mark Frauenfelder
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Tina Fey, Terri Irwin, and Bindi Irwin (repeat)
- Jay Leno: Bill Cosby, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Katharine McPhee (repeat)
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Clay Aiken, Gabrielle Union, and Madeleine Peyroux (repeat)
- Tavis Smiley: Tom Morello
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Hugh Jackman, Tim Russert, and Gnarls Barkley (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Poppy Montgomery, Jeremy Roenick, and Paul Morrissey
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Rob Corddry and Chingy (repeat)
If you have little kids in your home, either because they're your children or you just left a window open and some random kids crawled into your home and now refuse to leave, you might like to know that there are six free videos from the Learn Along with Sesame series available on iTunes. The segments include:
You gotta love classic Sesame Street. Remember the Twiddlebugs, that family of insects who lived in Ernie's window box? Sesame Workshop, which recently announced a new animated program featuring Bert and Ernie, have also announced a series of three-minute CGI shorts featuring the cuddly bugs. Muppet News Flash reports the shorts will pop up some time in 2008, but where exactly is still unknown.
The Twiddlebugs, named Tina, Thomas, Teddy and Tessie, first appeared on Sesame Street in 1972. The squeaky-voiced bugs used random objects to build and furnish their milk carton home, such as buttons and thimbles. Below is a clip from Sesame Street featuring a CGI version of the Twiddlebugs, which will give you some idea what the new series will look like. I've also posted a classic Twiddlebugs clip, because, frankly, I prefer the puppet version. I'm not against CGI, but I'll take the original Muppets over those sterile and inflated-looking computer versions any day.
- Charlie Rose: Senator Harry Reid
- The Daily Show: Bob Woodruff
- The Colbert Report: Ben & Jerry and Mara Vanderslice
- The Late Show With David Letterman: Jack Hanna, Katherine Heigl, and Patti Griffin (repeat)
- Jay Leno: Drew Barrymore and Solomon Burke (repeat)
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Ellen DeGeneres, Gwen Stefani, and Dr. Phil (repeat)
- Tavis Smiley: Suze Orman and Kerry Max Cook
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Al Gore, Paul Giamatti, and The Beastie Boys (repeat)
- The Late, Late Show WIth Craig Ferguson: Jennifer Hudson, Gerard Butler, and Anberlin
- Last Call With Carson Daly: Barry Zito and Alexi Murdoch (repeat)
Stolen, a 2006 documentary by Rebecca Dreyfus and Susannah Ludwig, follows a group of men and women, most notably the late art detective Harold Smith, as they try to recover paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston in 1990. Thirteen paintings were taken from the museum by thieves disguised as policemen, including Rembrandt's The Sea of Galilee and Vermeer's The Concert. None of the paintings were ever recovered.
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