New Feature: NPT This Week, The Vlog

We’re pleased to launch NPT This Week: The Vlog, a weekly video series highlighting upcoming programming. Each week includes commentary by Justin Harvey, NPT’s director of content; video clips; and a weekly staff member pick. We’ll post the video to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube  and include it in our NPT This Week enewsletter.

The weekly newsletter has recently been updated with other interactive features as well. Clicking on most program photos takes you to web page about the series; use the hashtags on those photos when sharing your thoughts about the programs on social media.

Here’s the premiere episode of NPT This Week: The Vlog; let us know what you think!

NPT Observes Hispanic Heritage Month with Special Programming

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) NPT will broadcast a selection of programs commemorating the unique experiences and culture of Hispanic Americans that have shaped Latino – and American – history.


Sheila E.

Sheila E. Unity – The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson. Credit: Courtesy of Ciprian Lacob

Highlights include:
Friday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. American Masters: Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey, a documentary by Raymond Telles and Yvan Iturriaga (Latino Americans). At the age of 22, Guerrero became Frank Lloyd Wright’s photographer after meeting the architect at Taliesin West, Wright’s home and studio. Later in his career, Guerrero established long working relationships with sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. This film includes exclusive interviews with Guerrero and beautiful images from his portfolio. Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey is part of PBS’ VOCES series of Latino arts and culture documentaries and is produced by Latino Public Broadcasting.

NPT is hosting a preview screening of Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey Thursday, Sept. 17 (6-8:30 p.m.), at Casa Azafrán.

Monday, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m. POV: Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie) Angy Rivera became the country’s first advice columnist for undocumented youth. In this film, the young immigration activist shares her own story of being undocumented and sexually abused.

Monday, Sept. 21, at 11:30 p.m. Tune in for Hablamos Español, NPT’s original documentary from our Next Door Neighbors series about Nashville’s immigrant population.

Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 9 p.m. On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam This film by Mylène Moreno looks at the legacy of Latino families and the Vietnam War, including two siblings on opposite sides of the conflict: One was a POW; the other an anti-war protester. The documentary is being presented as part of PBS Stories of Service programs highlighting veterans.


Friday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. Unity – The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson World-class drummer and percussionist Sheila E. hosts a concert special that showcases award-winning Latin artists and a 37-piece orchestra performing Latin-infused arrangements of the songs on Tony Succar’s album by the same name. The album and concert feature “Smooth Criminal,” “I Want You Back,” “Billie Jean” and other songs. This program is part of PBS Arts Fall Festival 2015, a selection of programs hosted by Gloria Estefan.)

Friday, Oct. 9, at 9 p.m. The 28th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards hosted by the legendary Rita Moreno. This special evening features performances and appearances by some of the country’s most celebrated Hispanic artists. The Hispanic Heritage Awards were created by the White House in 1987 and are the country’s highest award paying tribute to Latinos by Latinos.

Monday, Oct. 26, at 11 p.m. Reinventing Cuba Former PBS Latin America correspondent travels to Cuba to highlight people leading in various fields, including art, entrepreneurship, medicine and art.

Friday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m. GREAT PERFORMANCES “Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do” Legendary Broadway performer Chita Rivera has been lighting up international stages for more than 70 years with starring roles in such iconic Broadway shows as West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, and Chicago. Rivera returned to Broadway in 2015 to star in the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally musical The Visit. In addition to archival clips from Rivera’s many shows and TV appearances, this career retrospective also features interviews with Dick Van Dyke, Ben Vereen, Carol Lawrence and many others.

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‘Arthur & George,’ New Twist in Sherlock Canon, Starts Sunday, Sept. 6

NPT and PBS have a special treat for Sherlock Holmes fans this month: Arthur & George, a new, three-part drama based on Julian Barnes’ acclaimed 2005 novel of the same name. The series airs Sundays at 7 p.m., Sept. 6 through 20, and stars Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the beloved fictional detective.


Arthur & George - 03

Martin Clunes as Arthur Conan Doyle in Arthur & George.


Since his first appearance in the stories and novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes has been a favorite of fans around the world. The character has also proved popular with other writers who’ve re-interpreted the famous detective’s distinctive characteristics,  methods and cases. PBS viewers have taken to the character in various series over the decades, including Sherlock, the striking modern and clever adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the consulting detective and Martin Freeman as John Watson, his more socially adapted colleague.

Arthur & George is yet another twist on the Sherlock Holmes story. In this case based on a real incident, Sir Arthur is drawn out of mourning for his wife by an intriguing letter from George Edalji (Arsher Ali, The Missing), a young Anglo-Indian solicitor seeking to clear his name. At first Sir Arthur’s secretary, Alfred Wood (Charles Edwards, Downton Abbey), is pleased by his employer’s interest; later Woodie has his doubts.

Arthur & George is a mix of suspenseful moments, spirited chases, and witty exchanges between the two male leads; think Young Sherlock Holmes meets Mystery’s 1980s/1990s Sherlock Holmes series. Holmes’ presence is felt throughout the drama; sometimes benignly such as when Sir Arthur is asked to sign books. At other times, to his annoyance, Holmes is held up as an unmatchable ideal: Sir Arthur is repeatedly told that his skills pale in comparison and that he is endangering Holmes’ reputation. If these instances create a few chuckles for viewers, they also reflect the conflicted relationship the writer had with his character (a situation often repeated by actors who take on the role).

“If this were a story, I’d change the beginning, I’d change the end, or I’d try something else,” Sir Arthur tells Woodie in one scene. Viewers are unlikely to agree with him; preferring instead to keep Arthur & George just as it is.

NPT Announces Indie Lens Pop-Up Screenings for 2015-2016

We are pleased to announce a new season of Indie Lens Pop-Up free documentary screenings hosted by NPT. Culled from the 2015-2016 season of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning PBS and NPT series Independent Lens, the 2015-2016 lineup includes six new documentaries exploring issues from race to gun violence, from veterans’ issues to autism.

The screenings and post-film discussions featuring local representatives will take place Saturdays at 2 p.m. from October 2015 to May 2016, at the main branch of the Nashville Public Library (615 Church St., Nashville 37219). Formerly known as Community Cinema, the long-running screening series has been renamed Indie Lens Pop-Up to strengthen the bond between the Independent Lens television series and local communities. Over the past decade, screenings of Independent Lens films across the nation have brought more than 331,000 participants together at more than 5,700 events to discuss issues that affect local communities.

Our first event of the new season is Oct. 31 and features Stray Dog, a documentary about a Vietnam veteran whose gruff appearance belies his deep concern for his family and fellow combat veterans.




NPT Presents Indie Lens Pop-Up 2015-2016:



Click here to see the film trailer.

Stray Dog by Debra Granik
Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

From the director of the Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone comes this portrait of a motorcycle-riding Vietnam veteran. There’s much more to Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall than meets the eye; behind the tattoos and leather vest is a man dedicated to helping his fellow vets and immigrant family as he also comes to terms with his combat experience.



Autism in Love by Matt Fuller
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

Four adults at different places on the autism spectrum open up their personal lives as they navigate dating and romantic relationships. Eye-opening, first-person portrayals show that despite many challenges faced by those with autism, love can find a way.


In Football We Trust by Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn
Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

In Football We Trust intimately follows four Polynesian high school football players in Utah struggling to overcome gang violence, family pressures, and poverty as they enter the high stakes world of college recruiting and the promise of pro sports. The odds may be stacked against them, but they’ll never stop fighting for a better future.



The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution by Stanley Nelson
Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

A new revolutionary culture emerged in the turbulent 1960s, and the Black Panther Party was at the vanguard. Weaving together a treasure trove of rare footage with the voices of a diverse group of people who were there, Stanley Nelson tells the vibrant story of a pivotal movement that feels timely all over again.



Peace Officer by Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber
Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

The increasingly tense relationship between law enforcement and the public is seen through the eyes of someone who’s been on both sides: a former sheriff who established Utah’s first SWAT team, only to see the same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later. Now a private investigator, Dub seeks the truth in this case and other officer-involved shootings.



The Armor of Light by Abigail Disney
Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

Two people of faith come together to explore the contradictions of a nation rife with gun violence: a famously anti-abortion evangelical minister risks losing followers when he questions the morality of gun ownership, while a grieving mother dedicates herself to creating change after the shooting of her unarmed teenage son.


For more information about the new season of Indie Lens Pop-Up screenings, go to

PBS Is Looking for a ‘Few Great Bakeries’

Do you have a favorite bakery in Nashville or Middle Tennessee? PBS is compiling a list of the country’s best bakeries and we think a few from our area should be included.

Click here to submit information about your favorite bakery, then be sure to tune into NPT Tuesday, Aug. 25, for new specials from culinary traveler Rick Sebak. This time he’s off to explore A Few Good Pie Places (7 p.m.), then he spotlights A Few Great Bakeries (8 p.m.).

Rick Sebak's A Few Great Bakeries premieres Aug. 25, 2015.

Rick Sebak’s A Few Great Bakeries.

We’ve got more scrumptious programming for you this coming week. Watch the last Season 1 episodes of The Great British Baking Show at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29. Season 2 starts 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

Do you have room for more? We offer an evening of cooking shows each week on NPT2, our secondary channel. Tune in Wednesdays for three hours devoted to gastronomic programs such as Cook’s Country, Martha Bakes and Lidia’s Kitchen. Find a complete schedule and episode descriptions at

August Membership Campaign Specials

Our August Membership Campaign is underway, which means it’s time to catch some great shows and – with your generous donation to NPT – receive thank-you gifts ranging from DVDs and CDs to concert tickets.

Enjoy this month’s special programming (check our schedule for additional airings) and please support Nashville Public Television.


Highlights include:
Sunday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. It’s a double celebration in Mannheim Steamroller 30/40: 30 years of magical holiday music and 40 years of Grammy-winning composer Chip Davis’ atmospheric “Fresh Aire” pieces. The concert was recorded over two nights last December at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, Nebraska. See Mannheim Steamroller Nov. 20 at TPAC.

Sunday, Aug. 9, at 8:30 p.m. If you miss the drama and splendor of Downton Abbey, here’s something to tide you over till the new season premieres in January. Downton Abbey Rediscovered features interviews with the series’ creators and cast members, as well as scenes from previous seasons and a preview of the upcoming (gulp) final season.

Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 8:30 p.m. The tenors of Il Volo have a passionate following. Find out why in Il Volo: Live From Pompeii when the group is joined by a full orchestra for performances of Italian classics and original songs. The concert is set amid the stunning ruins of ancient Pompeii. See Il Volo March 1, 2016, at the Ryman Auditorium.

Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. PBS is marking the 25th anniversary of Ken Burns’ landmark Civil War documentary with a newly restored high-definition version of the series premiering next month. In the meantime, Ken Burns: The Civil War looks back at the making of the series with interviews and clips.

Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 8:30 p.m. In mid-September 1981, folk icons Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel reunited for a legendary event that was captured in Simon & Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park. Here’s your chance to see it again or for the first time. Experience “The Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel” with the Nashville Symphony June 14, 2016, at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.


Programming Marks 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Age

Seventy years ago this July, the U.S. carried out its first tests of the atomic bomb and in August 1945, the weapon was used against Japan. This summer PBS is airing The Bomb and Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, two new documentaries to mark the anniversary of the dawn of the Atomic Age.


This month NPT will broadcast four programs related to the anniversary:

Friday, July 24, at 7 p.m. Knoxville filmmaker Keith McDaniel’s Secret City: The Oak Ridge Story explores the East Tennessee city’s role in the isolation of uranium, the key element in the atomic bomb. As the film states, though the city didn’t appear on maps in the 1940s, it was home to 75,000 people and the site of a round-the-clock wartime effort involving 100,000 workers.

Tuesday, July 28, at 7 p.m. The Bomb chronicles the development of the atomic bomb through interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) and other historians, defense experts, and men and women who helped build the bomb. The documentary includes footage only recently declassified by the Department of Defense.

Tuesday, July 28, at 9 p.m. Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Sonya Pemberton, Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, is a two-part documentary about the element and its uses. In the first part, “How a Rock Became a Bomb,” host physicist Derek Muller traces the element’s origins.

Wednesday, July 29, at 8 p.m. Four years after one of history’s worst nuclear accidents, NOVA: Nuclear Meltdown Disaster reveals the minute-by-minute story of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis and its ongoing aftermath.

Wednesday, July 29, at 9 p.m. The globe-traversing story of history and science continues in the second part of Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail. “The Rock That Changed the World” discusses life in the atomic age and the varying uses of atomic power. Among the places visited is Chernobyl, site of the 1986 Russian nuclear accident.

Join ‘Volunteer Gardener’ Host Troy B. Marden for Pennsylvania Garden Trip

When “Volunteer Gardener” host Troy B. Marden leads this fall’s tour of Pennsylvania Brandywine Valley gardens, he’ll be returning to familiar stamping grounds. While in college, Marden interned at Longwood Gardens, one of the many highlights of this tour’s six-day itinerary.

The “Brandywine Valley Gardens with Volunteer Gardener” tour takes place Oct. 11-16, 2016. Registrations for trip are being accepted now and 10 percent of the proceeds will benefit “Volunteer Gardener” and Nashville Public Television. The tour’s fee ($1,650 per person) includes all hotel accommodations, all entry fees, private coach transportation and most meals. Parts of the tour will be guided and paced, while other stops will start with a brief orientation followed by free time to explore at one’s leisure. Click here for more information.

The Brandywine Valley Gardens tour starts with a welcome dinner Sunday, Oct. 11. Monday features a visit to Longwood Gardens, a 350-acre former duPont estate with a variety of garden spaces, walking trails, temporary art installations and water displays set to music.

The duPont family are almost a secondary theme of this garden tour as the original owners of many of the estates on the tour, including Winterthur—also a well-known museum of American decorative arts museum. Nemours Mansion and Gardens, another former duPont estate, was originally built by Alfred I. duPont for Alicia, his second wife. A stop here kicks off the second day of the tour. “It is like somebody just picked up an old French estate and just dropped it outside of Philadelphia,” Marden said of Nemours. “The gardens are very formal; they’re immaculately kept.”

One of the gardens that excites Marden the most is Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark that was the home of the father of American horticulture. John Bartram (1699-1777), a Pennsylvania Quaker and self-taught horticulturalist, who was appointed “Royal Botanist” by King George III. Bartram also associated with Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Marden is also pleased to offer travelers sneak peeks at private gardens in the Philadelphia area, using his many professional contacts to gain access. He expects these visits will inspire his fellow travelers, much in the way garden visits on “Volunteer Gardener” are meant to inspire viewers. “It’s the same thing, we get to take you to places that you otherwise might not be able to see,” Marden said.

For more information about “Brandywine Valley Gardens with Volunteer Gardener,” click here.

NPT’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Sign-Off Videos Go Back to the 1980s

Back in the day, TV stations signed on every morning and signed off every night, often accompanied by scenes of their respective regions or an American flag waving n the breeze. In the 1980s, when we were known as WDCN, we invited local high school choirs to sing patriotic songs which we recorded and aired at the beginning and end of each day.

Glencliff Chamber Choir

We recently received a phone call from one of those choir members asking if we still had that footage. That sent us scurrying into our archives. Can you believe we found one of these reels?

Follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to see the videos on “Throwback” Thursdays. Maybe you’ll recognize old friends or even spot yourself among the choristers.

Brooks Fund History Project Documentary Airs on NPT

A Secret Only God Knows, a documentary produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the Brooks Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, premieres Thursday, June 25, at 9:30 p.m. on NPT.

The 30-minute documentary grew out of the Brooks Fund History Project, a multimedia documentation of the lives and experiences of Middle Tennessee’s LGBT community. To that end, a series of interviews were filmed between 2009 and 2012 and are now available for viewing in an archive housed in the Nashville Public Library’s Special Collections department. Transcripts of those interviews and nearly 800 photographs, letters and other memorabilia donated by the participants are also found in the archive.

In A Secret Only God Knows, interviewees discuss coming of age in an era when homosexuality and transgender issues were not discussed. “We just didn’t talk about it,” is a common refrain in the pieces. “We’re talking about people who, at the time we started interviewing, were at least 70 years old,” said local documentarian Deidre Duker, “so imagine all of the changes that they have witnessed with regard to civil rights or openness around homosexuality or transgender.” Duker, along with producer Phil Bell, conducted the interviews.



Each participant was born before 1940 and lived in the Middle Tennessee area for at least 10 years prior to 1970. This criteria was chosen in part because of the Stonewall riots of summer 1969. “Stonewall, when we looked at historical dates, was a real pivotal moment in the United States because it was the first time a group of people challenged the status quo with regard to police and what were frequent raids on gay bars,” Duker said. Also, given that the 1960s was a decade of numerous social changes, 1970 was seen as an appropriate demarcation of “before” and “after.”

The importance of preserving oral histories has been underscored by the deaths of two of the documentary’s participants. Other interviewees are now in their 80s and early 90s. “We felt like we were racing against the clock in a lot of ways,” Duker said.

A Secret Only God Knows will also air on NPT2 Monday, June 29, at 9:30 p.m., and Tuesday, June 30, at 2:30 p.m.