PBS 2001-2002 Season Celebrates the Diversity of America

Posted by PBS Publicity on

- Public TV's commitment to presenting multicultural programming continues this year with Life 360; American Family; The First Year; Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat; Africa and more -

ALEXANDRIA, VA, August 16, 2001 - PBS's 2001-2002 season lineup features an array of programming that builds on public broadcasting's commitment to ethnic diversity in content and services.

"PBS and its member stations are leaders in giving a voice to America's diverse communities - both in front of and behind the camera," said Pat Mitchell, PBS President and CEO. "We're proud of our record and always striving to do more. The latest additions to our prime time lineup and our signature drama, performance, children's, news and public affairs series, reflect a wealth of diversity. Viewers see a more accurate reflection of America today when they tune into their local PBS station."

Highlights of the Fall 2001 and Winter 2002 season follow:

  • LIFE 360, an innovative new series hosted by ABC News Nightline correspondent Michel Martin;
  • AMERICAN FAMILY, broadcast television's first Latino drama premiering Jan. 2002. Cast includes Edward James Olmos, Raquel Welch and Constance Marie; directed by Academy Award nominee Gregory Nava (El Norte, Selena), a winner of this year's winner of the Hispanic Heritage Awards.
  • THE FIRST YEAR, which profiles five racially diverse new teachers in Southern California is part of PBS's week-long "Back to School" initiative beginning Sept. 3;
  • EXXONMOBIL MASTERPIECE THEATRE "Othello," a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's play set in London and starring Eamonn Walker (Oz) as John Othello, the Police Commissioner;
  • LOCAL NEWS, a candid, behind-the scenes look at a local TV newsroom and the issues the station faces, including strained community relations when an African American reporter is dismissed;
  • AMERICAN MASTERS "Quincy Jones" (w.t.), an in-depth portrait of the composer and performer;
  • P.O.V. "5 Girls" is a coming-of-age film that follows the lives of five diverse young women from the Chicago area, between the ages of 13 and 17;
  • SAGWA, THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT, an animated series based on the children's book by best-selling author Amy Tan, the program follows the adventures of a spirited and curious young cat named Sagwa; and
  • AFRICA, A SPECIAL PRESENTATION OF "NATURE," a multi-part series on Africa as seen through the eyes of its people.

These programs are all complemented by extensive Web sites featured on PBS.org.

Since Fall 2000, PBS has broadcast more than 50 new series and specials - representing nearly 85 hours of programming - focusing on the experiences of African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Hispanic-Latinos, and American Indians. PBS's wide range of prime time signature series, from drama and performance to science, nature and public affairs, regularly feature a range of cultural themes. PBS's flagship news programs routinely tackle a variety of subjects of interest to a diverse audience, and feature panelists and correspondents representing diverse viewpoints: THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER, with correspondents Gwen Ifill, Ray Suarez, Fred de Sam Lazaro and Kwame Holman, and WASHINGTON WEEK, with Ms. Ifill as moderator and managing editor, and panelist Michel Martin.

In addition, diversity and tolerance are hallmarks of the PBS KIDS® schedule. Award-winning PBS KIDS series - CAILLOU, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, DRAGON TALES, ZOOM, BETWEEN THE LIONS and SESAME STREET, just to name a few - feature children and characters from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

With nearly 90 million viewers a week, the PBS audience mirrors the U.S. population, with regard to race/ethnicity, education and income. (See chart, below.)

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 346 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.


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Note: For a complete list of ethnically diverse PBS 2001-02 prime time programming, with airdates and descriptions, please click here or contact Christine Weaver at 703-739-5023 or cweaver@pbs.org.

Profile of the PBS Audience vs. the U.S. Population


 % of U.S. Population% of PBS Audience
Race/Ethnicity of HOH  
Spanish Origin8.7%8.2%


NTI. Average of one week per month (Oct. & Nov. 2000 and Jan., Feb., Apr. & May 2001). PBS distribution based on weekly 24-hour cumulative audience.
HOH = head of household.

Donna Williams PBS

Dara Goldberg