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Special Programs


tenth440Ken Burns and co-director Lynn Novick bring Burns’s landmark 1994 PBS series BASEBALL up to the present and explore baseball’s new Golden Age — an era of unprecedented home run totals, popularity and prosperity — as well as some of baseball’s darkest hours — the strike and the steroid era — in a new four-hour, two-part documentary series.

Thousands of bats, three home run records and one “curse” have been broken since Ken Burns last explored the history of America’s national pastime with his landmark 1994 PBS series BASEBALL. Now, Burns and co-director Lynn Novick update the series with THE TENTH INNING. Beginning with a crippling strike that alienated millions of fans and brought the game to the brink, this new film tells the tumultuous story of our national pastime up to the present. It celebrates baseball’s new Golden Age — an era of unprecedented home run totals, popularity and prosperity — and sheds light on one of the game’s darkest chapters — the steroid era. The two-part, four-hour film examines the compelling stories of Joe Torre, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, Cal Ripken Jr. and Barry Bonds and features insightful commentary from an eclectic lineup of writers, broadcasters, fans and all-stars.

Episode List:

“Top of the Tenth” (Episode One)
In 1994, the national pastime faces its worst crisis in 70 years when a bitter and prolonged strike forces the cancellation of the World Series, infuriating fans dismayed by the athletes and teams they once worshipped. Baseball has to rebuild. And rebuild it does, with new stadiums, an infusion of new players from Latin America and the shattering of historic records previously considered unbreakable. Cal Ripken Jr. sets an amazing record of consecutive games played, helping rekindle the country’s love of the game. Barry Bonds, son of the great right fielder Bobby Bonds, signs the most lucrative contract to date in baseball history and thrills San Francisco fans. Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux pitch the Atlanta Braves to the pinnacle. Dazzlingly talented Latino players make an indelible mark on the game. The Yankees, led by manager Joe Torre, return to glory after two decades of disappointment. Bulked up sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivate the nation as they chase Roger Maris’ single season home run record. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, more and more players are making life-altering decisions about how far they are willing to go to succeed.

“Bottom of the Tenth” (Episode Two)
In the first decade of the 21st century, baseball is booming. In an age of home runs and power, Pedro Martinez and a handful of other superb pitchers still manage to dominate. The astonishingly talented right fielder Ichiro Suzuki becomes MLB’s first Japanese position player and a hero back home. As America reels from the horror of the 9/11 attacks, baseball provides solace, and in an incredible World Series, gives the country something to cheer about. As the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox reaches the boiling point, long-suffering Boston fans rejoice in their first World Series victory in 86 years, while Giants and Cubs fans endure devastating losses. Barry Bonds demolishes Mark McGwire’s home-run record and sets his sights on Henry Aaron’s revered all time mark. The game is more popular than ever, but revelations about steroids cast a shadow on many of the era’s greatest stars and their historic accomplishments.

Tuesdays, beginning June 30, 2009, 9:00-10:00 p.m.

The fast-paced science magazine series NOVA scienceNOW returns to PBS this summer with a 10-week season full of fresh new perspectives, fascinating scientists, cutting-edge innovations and provocative stories from the frontlines of science, technology and medicine. Hosted by renowned author and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series also introduces a new correspondent this season, Ziya Tong, former host and producer of WIRED SCIENCE.

“In an era when the innovations made possible by science and technology often resonate on a global scale and rapidly change the way we live, NOVA scienceNOW is there to inform, engage and inspire viewers about all of the exciting possibilities and help them understand how these latest developments will affect their daily lives,” said senior executive producer Paula Apsell.

Each week, host Neil deGrasse Tyson and the team of NOVA scienceNOW correspondents find creative and entertaining new ways to bring viewers four current stories on the most intriguing discoveries and biggest breakthroughs from an array of scientific fields — ranging from biomedicine and technology to archeology, astrophysics, natural history and more. In every episode, the series also offers one profile piece, spotlighting a scientific personality with a compelling career or surprising personal history. Tyson, who is also director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, then closes each show with his signature “Cosmic Perspective.”

Programming highlights featured this summer on NOVA scienceNOW include:

•    Synthetic Diamonds: A blindfolded Tyson is led to a top-secret “diamond farm” to investigate breakthroughs in the engineering of artificial diamonds. Indistinguishable from the real thing, these glittering, scientifically mastered creations may one day adorn more than ring fingers. They could replace silicon transistors in everything from supercomputers to high-speed electric trains.

•    Hunting Hidden Planets: NOVA scienceNOW visits astronomers on the brink of finding “another Earth” in our galaxy with a new planet-hunting machine: the Kepler telescope. This and other ingenious new techniques could turn up hundreds of Earth-like worlds and finally answer the age-old question: Are we alone?

•    The Sounds of Science: Do you have what it takes to be a rock star? Neil deGrasse Tyson tests his singing talents in a segment using “AutoTune,” the controversial computer pitch-correction software that turns sour notes into sweet ones.

•    The Dinosaur Plague: Renowned paleontologist George Poinar — whose study of extinct creatures exquisitely preserved in amber partly inspired Jurassic Park — has announced his discovery of multiple clues to parasitic pandemics that could have been just as instrumental in wiping out the dinosaurs as the hypothesized asteroid impact.

•    Anthrax Attack: NOVA scienceNOW goes behind the scenes to explore the science that went into solving the case of the deadly anthrax attacks after 9/11 and the ingenious technique researchers developed to pinpoint the source. This revolutionary method also has the potential to identify the microbes responsible for everything from food-borne poisonings to deadly epidemics.

•    The Moon Smasher: A team of NASA scientists will smash two SUV-sized rockets onto the lunar surface and unleash a debris cloud to study with LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite). The data could provide the key to understanding how to build a permanent base on the moon, and findings could accelerate a new “race to the moon” and an era of “colonizing the stars.” NASA is enlisting the aid of amateur astronomers to witness and document this experiment.

For more of this month's special programming click here.