PBS Greenlights Fourth Season of "History Detectives"

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Production Begins November 2005
New Season Premieres Summer 2006


November 15, 2005, Alexandria, VA - PBS has green-lighted a fourth season of the acclaimed series HISTORY DETECTIVES, to be broadcast in summer 2006. Co-produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Lion Television (UK), the series combines the latest forensic technology with old-fashioned, pavement-pounding detective work. HISTORY DETECTIVES delves into family legends, local folklore and stories behind potentially extraordinary objects in everyday American homes, cities and small towns.

"We are delighted to bring HISTORY DETECTIVES back for another inquisitive and exciting season," said John F. Wilson, senior vice president of programming, PBS. "HISTORY DETECTIVES' grassroots, investigative history lessons and whimsical style have struck a chord with viewers of all ages that makes for fun, intelligent programming."

"What greater opportunity is there than to take real stories, real scratch-your-chin conundrums that link into the bigger picture of history, explore their deeper mysteries and answer them?" asked David Davis, vice president of national production at OPB. "Many of these tales come from our viewers, thousands of submissions. We're honored to be back for another season, showcasing truly life-changing events."

"HISTORY DETECTIVES is one of Lion Television's most successful productions in the U.S. and we are thrilled to carry on our relationship with PBS on this popular series," said Tony Tackaberry, executive vice president, Lion Television USA/New York. "Each season gets better and better, and we're continually moved by the extraordinary stories featured and by the people who share them in the series. We're very pleased to be continuing for another season and have our detectives geared up and ready to go track down our latest finds."

The new season of HISTORY DETECTIVES explores...

  • A message in a bottle, found on a Carolina beach in 1981, that could be evidence of the terrifying last hours on board the USS Monitor, the famous Union "ironclad" battleship that sank during the Civil War off Cape Hatteras following the battle of Hampton Roads.



  • Two ornate dolls that might be connected to one of the most notorious spy schemes of WWII, in which American Velvalee Dickinson (aka "the doll lady") sent coded messages through South America to the Japanese.



  • A traditional buckskin dress that may once have belonged to the famed Native-American woman Sacajawea.



  • The claims of a baseball owner that he once played in a competitive baseball game with the legendary pitcher Dizzy Dean, and his autographed baseball proves it. But the ball is dated 1944, in the middle of WWII, three years after Dean retired!

HISTORY DETECTIVES is again hosted by the four intrepid fact-finders: Wes Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Elyse Luray, an independent appraiser and expert in art history; Gwendolyn Wright, professor of architecture, architecture, planning and preservation, and professor of history, Columbia University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

HISTORY DETECTIVES is a co-production of Oregon Public Broadcasting and Lion Television. Executive producers are David Davis, Oregon Public Television, and Nick Catliff and Tony Tackaberry, Lion Television. The series producer is Christopher Bryson.

The HISTORY DETECTIVES Web site (pbs.org/historydetectives) includes highlights from the televised investigations called "Case Files." Visitors can study the techniques used by professional investigators; learn how to conduct their own historical investigation; or get to know the HISTORY DETECTIVES team of experts. The site also provides a number of interactive features and learning activities. Classroom resources include lesson plans and other tools to reinforce concepts from the programs, and to develop student interest in the study of history, science and other core subjects.

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, averaging more than 35 million unique visits and nearly 400 million page views per month in 2005. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.


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CONTACT: Kim Tavares, PBS, 703/739-5011; ktavares@pbs.org
Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703/739-5129; cjohnson@pbs.org

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