PBS Commits to Seasons Five And Six of Wide Angle, The Emmy Award-Winning Series of In-Depth Documentaries About Stories That Are Shaping the World Today

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Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, Acclaimed Series Continues to Put a Human Face on Global Affairs
Season Five Premieres July 2006 on PBS



(PBS Press Tour: Pasadena, CA, January 14, 2006)  The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has announced it will provide support for the next two seasons of WIDE ANGLE, the award-winning series that gives American viewers unique insight into international issues and events. The PBS commitment ensures that WIDE ANGLE will continue to be a signature part of the national public television schedule through at least 2007.

"WIDE ANGLE brings a rare and needed focus to the events shaping our global neighborhood," said Jacoba Atlas, Sr. Vice President, PBS Programming. "Through this series, PBS is committed to helping viewers understand the rapidly shifting, interconnected world in which we all live and work."

The PBS funding joins ongoing support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Thirteen/WNET New York, which produces the series, also hopes to announce additional funding commitments in the near future.

"We are thrilled with this tremendous show of confidence on the part of PBS," said Stephen Segaller, director of news and public affairs programming at Thirteen/WNET and executive producer of the series. "WIDE ANGLE is a unique and powerful forum for exploring the forces that are shaping the contours of our world. And with each season the value and impact of the series grows."

Season Five of WIDE ANGLE will feature the first follow-up to the 2003 program, "Time for School." That documentary followed school-age children in seven countries - Japan, India, Kenya, Benin, Afghanistan, Brazil and Romania - in an exploration of the importance, and the difficulty, of providing every child on the planet with a basic education. Three years later, WIDE ANGLE will revisit the children, their schools and their families to see how they are progressing, whether they have managed to stay in school and what their experiences represent in the global "report card" for education.

Due to the timely nature of this current affairs series, the full schedule is not firm until shortly before the season begins. Among the many topics under consideration for Season Five are: economic boom times in the Republic of Ireland; the faltering evolution of the legal system in China; the changing role of the military in Japan; political change or instability in Egypt; economic realities in Cuba; an oil and gas gold-rush in far eastern Russia; grassroots media pioneers emerging in Liberia, Afghanistan and Sudan; the role of Rwandan peacekeepers in Darfur, Sudan; the next generation of Palestinian leaders contesting their elections from Israeli jails; the collision of new European values and old Polish culture; the high-value personal bodyguard business in modern South Africa;  as well as the unexpected, unpredictable stories and film ideas that the best producers in the world bring to WIDE ANGLE.

With a successor to Bill Moyers as anchor to be announced, WIDE ANGLE will continue its successful format in Season Five. Each program features a 45-minute documentary, produced by filmmakers and journalists from the U.S. and abroad. Each of the season's programs will focus on a single subject, breathing life into front-page headlines - and under-reported issues - with character-driven narratives. To complement each film, the anchor will conduct a one-on-one interview with a foreign policy expert, administration official, or cultural or legislative leader who will help put the story into context, connecting the dots for American viewers.

In September 2005, WIDE ANGLE garnered its first Emmy - a News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Coverage of a News Story, Long Form - for the program "Ladies First," which premiered in Season Three (Summer 2004). The Emmy joins a long list of prestigious awards the series has received, not just from film and television competitions, but also from such influential organizations as The Society of Professional Journalists, The Overseas Press Club and the United Nations Association of Australia.

A series designed to inform and provoke thought and discussion about notable issues around the world, WIDE ANGLE programs are regularly screened by major national and international agencies; educational, aid, and relief organizations; foundations; think tanks; and government bodies, including the World Bank, the State Department, the Department of Justice, the National Educational Association (NEA), the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York State Department of Health and many others.

WIDE ANGLE's companion Web site and educational materials enable teachers, students and viewers to explore the issues raised in the series in more depth, either in a formal classroom setting or on their own.

WIDE ANGLE is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York for PBS. Stephen Segaller is executive producer. Pamela Hogan is series producer. Andy Halper is senior producer.

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online pbskids.org, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

Thirteen/WNET New York is one of the key program providers for public television, bringing such acclaimed series as NATURE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, AMERICAN MASTERS, CHARLIE ROSE, RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, WIDE ANGLE, SECRETS OF THE DEAD and CYBERCHASE, as well as the work of Bill Moyers,  to audiences nationwide. As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local productions such as "The Ethnic Heritage Specials," "The Thirteen Walking Tours," "New York Voices," and "Reel New York." With educational and community outreach projects that extend the impact of its television productions, Thirteen takes television "out of the box." And as broadcast and digital media converge, Thirteen is blazing trails in the creation of Web sites, enhanced television, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, educational software, and other cutting-edge media products. More information about Thirteen can be found at: thirteen.org


CONTACT: Kellie Specter, Thirteen/WNET New York, 212/560-3009

Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703/739-5129