PBS Presents Bill Moyers Investigative Report On The Chemical Industry, New Arts, History And Religion Programs

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Pasadena, Calif. - January 15, 2001 - A groundbreaking investigative report on the chemical industry by Bill Moyers is part of PBS's new programming slate, as well as a cutting-edge series on the arts around America, an in-depth look at the astonishing life of Ben Franklin, and an intimate portrait of a Protestant congregation.

Americans say corporations should have the burden of proving chemicals are safe. The majority of citizens believe most chemicals are already tested for safety, and that the government is protecting them against harmful chemicals. But what is the true story? In TRADE SECRETS: A MOYERS REPORT, premiering Monday, March 26 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), correspondent Bill Moyers and producer Sherry Jones uncover how our health and safety have been put at risk and why powerful forces don't want the truth to be known.

This investigative report, accompanied by a PBS.org Web site, is based on a massive archive of secret industry documents as shocking as the "tobacco papers." In the 50 years of the chemical revolution, over 75,000 chemicals have been released into the environment. What happens as our body absorbs them? And how can we protect ourselves? Moyers and Jones won the Peabody Award for their last collaboration on WASHINGTON'S OTHER SCANDAL.

Funding for TRADE SECRETS: A MOYERS REPORT is provided by Park Foundation, The Kohlberg Foundation, Inc., The Herb Alpert Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation. Corporate funding is provided by Mutual of America Life Insurance Company.

Fresh off a successful pilot run by Thirteen/WNET New York last year, EGG THE ARTS SHOW has been added to PBS's national schedule. The weekly half-hour series about people making art across America will debut on Friday, April 6, with 26 new episodes and 10 encore programs. The series will also feature a segment at the end of each program, "The One-Minute Egg," for stations to insert local information.

EGG takes viewers off the beaten path to focus on the excitement, diversity and raw energy of the arts nationwide. Each program and its companion PBS.org content explore a given theme through the prism of the arts: in the opening episode, for instance, EGG cooks up a recipe for being happy, with help from artist Jeff Koons, as well as a Bonsai master and a yodeler. Artists Damien Hirst and Ned Kahn are slated for future episodes of the critically acclaimed series.

EGG THE ARTS SHOW is produced by Thirteen/WNET New York. Executive producer is Jeff Folmsbee; series producer is Mark Mannucci. EGG is made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, PBS, Dorothy and Lewis Cullman, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Marilyn M. Simpson Charitable Trust, Sylvia and Ralph Ablon, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jamie deRoy Charitable Trust, The Irving Falk Foundation, Inc., and Woo's Foundation Inc.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN is a three-hour portrait of one of the most fascinating and accessible characters in American history. Not only was he essential to America winning the Revolution, but he played a pivotal role in initiating the ideas of volunteerism and business franchising, created the nation's first public library and fire department, founded universities and hospitals, invented bifocals and street lamps, and became a leading figure of the Enlightenment.

Using a combination of on-camera actors, experts, re-creations and period locations in the United States, England and France, the program will capture Ben Franklin's extraordinary inventiveness, wit and joie de vivre, and will show how his story continues to be relevant today. An extensive PBS.org Web site will accompany the broadcast. The documentary is produced by TPT/Twin Cities Public Television in association with Middlemarch Films, the team that brought the award-winning LIBERTY! THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION and AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY: A CENTURY OF IMAGES to PBS.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN is executive produced by Catherine Allan. Muffie Meyer and Ellen Hovde of Middlemarch Films are producers/directors; Ronald Blumer is the program's writer. Funding is provided in part by PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Charitable Trusts and Northwestern Mutual Life Foundation.

In THE CONGREGATION, Academy Award-winning producers Alan and Susan Raymond will examine the role religion plays in society as seen through a cinema verite portrait of one mainstream Protestant congregation in a typical American community. The two-hour program will be filmed over a one-year period (location to be announced) and will explore the deepening spiritual challenges that Americans face through intimate, personal day-to-day stories.

Using this particular congregation as a microcosm for contemporary churches, the documentary will examine its relation to other churches, synagogues and mosques in the community, and how it fits in the larger canvas of local public life. It will explore how Americans are searching anew for religious meaning in their lives as well as the sense of community that the church offers. As the role of the church is continually transformed, the film will examine how ministers young and old, female and male, fulfill the growing demands for spiritual and social guidance and ensure that their liturgy keeps pace with contemporary life.

THE CONGREGATION is produced by WETA Washington, D.C. Executive in charge of production is Dalton Delan. Richard Thomas is executive producer. Alan and Susan Raymond are the producers; their work includes the seminal 12-hour PBS documentary series AN AMERICAN FAMILY and the film "I Am a Promise: the Children of Stanton Elementary School," which won many honors including an Oscar and Primetime Emmy.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 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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Cathy Lehrfeld
(in Pasadena: 626-568-3900)

Michael Turner