Black History Month Programming on NPT

NPT is observing Black History Month with a number of exciting programs celebrating the lives and accomplishments of African Americans. We’ll also premiere our latest history documentary, First Black Statesmen: Tennessee’s Self-Made Men, about a group of African-American legislators in the late 1800s.



Other highlights from our February offerings include:

Wednesday, February 10, at 11:30 p.m. If you’ve never seen the groundbreaking Eyes on the Prize series about the civil rights era, make sure to watch it this month. If you have seen it, now’s the chance to get reacquainted with the documentary. Start with  Eyes on the Prize: Then and Now, a special that reexamines the documentary almost three decades after its original broadcast on PBS in the late 1980s and includes new interviews with the series’ filmmakers and participants. We’ll air the original Eyes on the Prize series Tuesdays, February 16 and 24, at 11 p.m.



Monday, Feb. 8 at 9 p.m. Airing on Independent Lens, Nelson George’s A Ballerina’s Tale follows the life and career of Misty Copeland. Completed before Copeland’s history-making appointment last summer as the first African-American woman principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, the film documents her remarkable return from a career-threatening injury in 2013. Copeland has enormous crossover appeal, but the most fascinating aspect of the 33-year-old dancer is her astounding talent, which combines impressive athleticism and grace.

Later that night at 11 p.m., see Copeland’s sensuous performance in American Ballet Theatre: A History.



Friday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. Featuring interviews filmed shortly before his death last spring, B.B. King: The Life of Riley, is a new American Masters portrait of blues legend Riley “B.B.” King. Along with King’s poignant reminiscences, the documentary includes performance clips, earlier interview segments, and testimonies and commentaries by a who’s who of musicians spanning King’s long career. The film not only tells King’s story, but also that of black life in the Mississippi Delta and the evolution of the blues. Morgan Freeman narrates.



Monday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. First Black Statesmen: Tennessee’s Self-Made Men is the first documentary in our new Citizenship Project about how different groups of people have fought for, obtained and maintained the rights and access we commonly associate with American citizenship. First Black Statesmen tells the story of 14 men who defied the odds to become state legislators. Eleven of the men had been born slaves and all faced the rampant racial animosity endured by freedmen after the war.

Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature-length film about the movement that grew out of the turbulent 1960s. Using archival footage and interviews with people who were there (as members and supporters, opponents or observers), the documentary aims to separate the history from the myths. Join us for an Indie Lens Pop-Up Screening of the documentary followed by a panel discussion with Fisk University professors February 13 at the Nashville Public Library.

Friday, February 26, begins at 8 p.m. with Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles, in which a roster of musicians perform Charles’ arrangements at the White House. But the night belongs to New Orleans pianist Fats Domino – it’s his 88th birthday, after all – and we’ll celebrate at 9 p.m. with Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll about Domino and his role in launching the rock era.



Find our full programming lineup at


Black History Month programming on NPT is made possible through the financial support of

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Mercy Street’s premise parallels Nashville family’s story

By Rob DeHart
Tennessee State Museum

Rob DeHart headshotMercy Street is set in Alexandria, Va., but it could have easily been set here in Nashville. After the start of its occupation of the city in February 1862, the Union Army established more than 20 hospitals in confiscated schools, churches and private residences in Nashville.

By early 1863, wounded and sick soldiers from both sides were pouring into Nashville. Union Army doctors did not always provide the best medical treatment for captured Confederate soldiers. Nashville’s citizens took notice and, as Emma Green did in Mercy Street, a group of women protested the treatment of wounded Confederate soldiers in Union Army hospitals.

As a result, Union commander Robert B. Mitchell issued an order requiring three “secession families” to house 15 wounded Confederates each. Brig. Gen. Mitchell’s order had less to do with his concern for the wounded and more to do with his irritation at the women’s protest, which in his words occurred “through the mud of the public streets of this city unmindful of the inclemency of the weather.” With his order, Mitchell essentially said: Fine. You don’t like how we treat your wounded? Take care of them yourself.

Medora Carter Stephens

Medora Carter Stephens. Courtesy Tennessee State Museum

At the time, Alex and Mildred Carter lived in a house on Fourth Avenue between Church and Commerce streets, and Alex owned a business on Union Street that served as a grocery and saloon. The Carters’ home was requisitioned by the Union Army for use as a Confederate hospital just as the Green family’s hotel was in the series. Moreover, the family, not the U.S. government, was made responsible for providing bedding, food and medical supplies for the wounded. Mitchell’s order also came with a threat: If any of the Confederate prisoners of war escaped, the Union Army would permanently take the Carters’ property. Union soldiers stood guard outside the Carter home day and night while Union surgeons visited the wounded.

The Carters’ daughter, Medora, was 23 when the Union Army marched down Broad Street and took control of the city. Medora Carter likely became a nurse very soon after her home became a hospital, but what happened next shows the unpredictability of those times. Just eight months later, Medora married Joseph Stephens, a Union surgeon from Ohio. While we do not know how the family reacted to the marriage, we do know it ended in tragedy in 1865 when Medora died shortly after giving birth to the couple’s only child.

Joseph Stephens returned to Ohio after the war, and census records suggest that the Stephens’ daughter, also named Medora, spent time living both with her father up North and her grandparents in Nashville. Fortunately for posterity, the Carter family preserved Civil War mementos that are now part of the Tennessee State Museum’s collection. These items now help to tell the stories of families who never sent a son to a battlefield, but who felt the loss of war all the same.

Mercy Street airs 9 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 21, with a midweek encore Thursdays at 9 p.m.


Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

Mercy Street, PBS’ new Civil War drama, covers many historical themes

Mercy Street, PBS’ first original American drama in more than a decade, is set in a military hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va., during the Civil War. The series airs 9 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 21, with a midweek encore Thursdays at 9 p.m. During the run of the show, Rob DeHart, a curator at the Tennessee State Museum, will write a guest blog about the series.

mercy street mary jed

Nurse Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Jedediah Foster (Josh Radnor).


By Rob DeHart

Mercy Street touches on multiple historical themes that show the complexity of the Civil War era. The war created an environment that put everyone into unfamiliar territory. Let’s start with the two nurses, a Union and a Confederate. Female nurses participated in American military conflicts as far back as the Revolutionary War, but before the Civil War, the majority of nurses were either recovering male patients or Catholic nuns. Still, the six-volume official medical history of the Civil War, published by the U.S. government between 1870 and 1888, devoted only a couple of paragraphs to the actions of female nurses.

Trained female nurses were a radical idea in a society that viewed women’s proper role as wives and mothers, caretakers of the home who sustained the morals of the family. Putting women to work in disease-ridden hospitals where they would have intimate contact with men was completely contrary to this idea. In addition, male physicians doubted the usefulness of female nurses. They assumed women working in hospitals would faint at the site of blood (which makes you wonder what the doctors thought about childbirth), be too weak to lift patients and – worse yet – be primarily concerned with finding husbands.

Physicians themselves were in new situations. Few doctors had experience dealing with the loss of blood, bone, and tissue caused by battlefield wounds, and there was no standardized approach for treatment. Before the war, even hospitals were unfamiliar to most people because these institutions were viewed as places that served the poor and that provided no medical advantages over what could be received from a physician in a private residence.

With so many Union hospitals located in occupied Southern lands, Confederate civilians searched for ways to work with Union authorities to preserve their homes and families while maintaining their loyalties. Contraband slaves – the Union Army term for enslaved African Americans who escaped into Union lines – wrestled with their uncertain status between free and enslaved.

Thus, this brief but critical period of American history helped break down social boundaries that had been in place for decades.

No medical drama would be complete without showing stomach-churning medical procedures and Mercy Street includes its share of those. But viewers may be surprised by scenes of anesthesia being administered before surgical procedures. Until recently, popular culture has tended to portray Civil War patients enduring excruciating pain while having a limb amputated without an anesthetic (leading to the popular phrase “bite the bullet”). In reality, this did not happen in the majority of cases.

Beginning in the 1840s, anesthetics such as chloroform and ether were used in surgery. Both anesthetics, along with opiates used for pain relief, appear on the supply lists of Civil War surgeons. Only when supply lines were disrupted did surgeons conduct their work while their patients were awake. But no worries, there are still enough instances in Mercy Street to make you glad you live in the 21st century!

Please join me in the coming weeks as I will show you items in the Tennessee State Museum’s 150,000-plus collection of artifacts that connect with scenes from the show. Happy viewing!


Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

Join NPT’s screenings online and in person this January

This month we’re hosting three documentary screenings and discussions, including two online events you can take part in from the comfort of your own home.

Join us online viewing and live chats
The first event takes place Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 4 to 5 p.m. and is an online viewing and live chat of our original American Graduate documentary, NPT Reports: Choice or Chance?

The ability of parents to send their children to schools of their choice is at the heart of modern-day school reform efforts. But increasingly, public school choice has become a divisive concept — splitting communities among those who want students to attend any school that fits their needs and interests, and those who want a return to neighborhood schools attended primarily by children from the surrounding area and ZIP code. NPT looks at school choice in Nashville, how it has evolved and what it means to students, parents and the Nashville community.


If you are concerned about what kind of school will work best for your child or if you are interested in education issues generally. All you have to do is click here to watch the documentary and then type your comments (you can log in anonymously) or simply follow the discussion. Jo Ann Scalf, NPT’s senior director of education and community engagement, will moderate this online discussion.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, we’ll host an online viewing and live chat of Aging Matters: Healthy Aging, from 12 to 12:45 p.m. This documentary examines the pursuit of health and well-being as we age from the perspective of experts as well as seniors who have found new leases on life. What is it about age that changes how we understand health? Two thirds of Medicare beneficiaries live with more than one chronic disease. But health is more than healthcare. The things that matter most in life, are the same whether you are 65, 95, or 25 – community, meaningful relationships, and a sense of purpose.

NPT producer Will Pedigo, the documentary’s creator, will moderate the discussion. Healthy Aging is the sixth and most recent documentary in our Aging Matters series. Register or sign in here.

In the community
Join us Saturday, Jan. 23, at Nashville Public Library’s main branch for a free Indie Lens Pop-Up event featuring a screening and panel discussion of In Football We Trust, a documentary about the challenges faced by high school football players of Polynesian descent. The film follows four young athletes as they navigate family, football and the future. Click here for more information.

In Football We Trust airs on Independent Lens, Monday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m.

For more information about NPT’s events, please visit

New Civil War drama starts Jan. 17 on NPT; local curator writes guest blog

Mercy Street, PBS’ first original American drama in more than a decade, premieres Sunday, Jan. 17, at 9 p.m. Set during the Civil War, Mercy Street was inspired by real people and follows the lives of two volunteer nurses – New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate belle Emma Green – working in Mansion House, a military hospital based in the Green family’s luxury hotel in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va.

The six-part series will air on consecutive Sundays through Feb. 21, with replays Thursdays at 9 p.m.

The show contrasts images of genteel interiors and fine gowns with scenes of appalling injuries and breakthrough medical procedures. The characters find themselves navigating a complex world of social and institutional politics, moral questions and personal challenges.

In an effort to achieve historical accuracy, the show’s scripts were vetted by a team of experts on Civil War medicine, military history, African American history, women in the Civil War, and other topics. These advisors were led by Civil War historian and author James McPherson.

We’ve invited local historian Rob DeHart to share his perspective on the series as a guest blogger. DeHart is currently writing a book entitled “Interpreting American Medicine for Museums and Historic Sites,” which will be published by Rowman & Littlefield.

DeHart has 15 years of museum experience and is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum here in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. In 2014, he curated the museum’s award-winning temporary exhibition “Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation.” (That exhibition was one of the inspirations for NPT senior producer’s Emmy-nominated Tennessee Civil War 150 documentary, Wessyngton Plantation: A Family’s Road to Freedom.)

DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University in 2001. He is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums and serves on the organization’s exhibition awards committee.

Watch this space for Rob’s blog posts in the coming weeks.

New Year brings new seasons of your favorite shows, including Downton Abbey

What better way to kick off a new year than with new seasons of some of your favorite shows on NPT. We’ve got five premieres to help chase away the post-holiday blahs, including the start of Downton Abbey: The Final Season and Mercy Street, PBS’s first original American drama in more than a decade.

NPT SherlockScene WEB596x342BSherlock: The Abominable Bride, a 90-minute standalone special set in Victorian London, kicks things off New Year’s Day at 8 p.m. In the story, Holmes and Watson (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, respectively), investigate a spectral presence observed by a new widower. If you miss the premiere, be sure to watch the encore presentation Sunday, Jan. 10, at 9 p.m.

By the way, if you really love Sherlock and want to delve deeper into his world, enter our contest to win a Sherlock-inspired coloring book adventure through the Nashville Scene’s Free Stuff promotion.

Sunday, Jan. 3, at 8 p.m. Downton Abbey has become a cultural touchstone since its January 2011 debut on PBS; that’s one reason we’re presenting an evening of #DowntonPBS programming to launch the new season. The viewing party starts at 7 p.m. with Countdown to Downton Abbey hosted by Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, followed by the Downton Abbey: The Final Season premiere at 8 p.m. Then, stay tuned for Celebration of Downton Abbey, a look back and ahead, at 9:30 p.m.

Downton Abbey: The Final Season airs 8 p.m. Sundays on NPT through March 6. And, yes, we’re throwing a bash to mark the end of this unbelievably popular series. Join us March 6 for A Finale Affair.

Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. Season 3 of Finding Your Roots investigates the family trees of 28 more celebrities. The Stories We Tell, the first episode, examines how the legacy of slavery has shaped the identities of political consultant Donna Brazile, actor Ty Burrell and artist Kara Walker. Other episodes will feature TV producers Norman Lear and Shonda Rhimes; actors Dustin Hoffman and Julianne Moore; cultural figures Gloria Steinem and Bill O’Reilly and others. Finding Your Roots airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on NPT.

Thursday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m. Loveable grouch Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) is back in the long-anticipated seventh season of Doc Martin. The series features the doctor and his neighbors playing out their eccentricities in a picturesque Cornish setting. At the start of this new season, Martin faces therapy and life without his wife Louisa (Caroline Catz) who has decamped to Spain for a break from their relationship. Doc Martin airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NPT, with a repeated weekly dose Sundays at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 17, at 9 p.m. Mercy Street is PBS’ first original American drama in more than a decade. The six-part series is inspired by real people and follows the lives of two volunteer nurses – New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate belle Emma Green – working in Mansion House, a military hospital based in the Green family’s luxury hotel in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va. The show’s scripts were vetted by a team of experts in Civil War medicine, military history, African American history, women in the Civil War, etc., led by Civil War historian James McPherson.

As you’d expect from a PBS-worthy period drama, Mercy Street showcases beautiful costumes and lavish interiors (contrasted with images of appalling injuries and breakthrough medical procedures) with complex characters in a plotline touching on familiar aspects of Civil War-era stories.

Mercy Street airs Sundays at 9 p.m. through Feb. 21 with encore presentations Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Find our complete programming schedule at

NPT’s Linda Wei receives prestigious public broadcasting fellowship

We are very pleased to announce that NPT producer Linda Wei has been named one of eight inaugural Next General Leadership (NGL) Senior Editorial Fellows by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting.

The new professional development initiative is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and designed to help expand diversity among senior and executive producers and other content development leaders across public media nationwide.

L Wei headshotLinda develops companion web sites for all major NPT projects, including NPT Reports: Aging Matters and Next Door Neighbors. She also produces interstitial programming such as A Word on Words and ArtQuest. She will embed at WGBH’s Frontline series.

About NGL
Next Generation Leadership is jointly led by WGBH Boston and The Partnership, a non-profit organization with nearly three decades of experience in executive training. The eight participants are a diverse group of mid-career professionals working in television, radio, and on digital platforms, selected from over 90 applicants at more than 50 public media stations and organizations.

“These eight fellows represent an important investment in a vibrant future for public media,” said Pat Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Working with WGBH we are focused on building a diverse talent and leadership foundation reflecting the communities we serve.”

The year-long program begins January 25, 2016, and includes professional enrichment, leadership training, mentoring to examine opportunities and barriers in the field, and strategic training to succeed in today’s complex media landscape. Participants will receive skills development, coaching, and national networking experiences.

Fellows will remain in their current position throughout the year but will begin the program with a week of leadership training in Boston. Following this orientation, participants will be assigned to a production project, working closely with executive producers, and will dedicate four separate weeks to field work.

“This initiative is strategically important for all of us in public media,” says WGBH President and CEO Jon Abbott. “Our team is excited to be working with The Partnership to provide a valuable experience for the Fellows that will in turn have a lasting impact across our system.”

Next Generation Leadership is led by three executive directors: Carol Fulp, President and CEO of The Partnership; Carlos Sandoval, an award-winning independent filmmaker (The State Of Arizona, Farmingville) with over 20 years of legal, corporate and non-profit experience; and Judith Vecchione, an executive producer at WGBH with credits on PBS series including Nova, American Experience, and Frontline, as well as specials such as Vietnam: A Television History, Eyes on the Prize and, most recently, Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey.

WGBH and The Partnership were assisted in the recruitment of the Fellows by AIR, a network of independent producers, journalists and stations.

Throughout the year, NGL fellows will be actively sharing their takeaways, participating in discussions, and holding their own conversations on social media at the hashtag #NGLpubmedia.

For more information about NGL and the other fellowship recipients, please see:

How do you holiday? Here’s how we do it at NPT

Holiday ViewingLet’s face it: The holiday season unleashes some of the worst of everything, from cheesy renditions of holiday songs to marathons of movies involving curiously high numbers of adults who (SPOILER ALERT) still believe in Santa.

But we do things differently here at NPT. We’ve spiked our schedule with enough holiday programming to lift your spirits as you prepare for the season, adding in the gift of music programs and—because you’ve been good this year—wrapping up with seasonal specials celebrating some of your favorite shows.
Here’s a list (check it twice) of our programming treats this season, including Christmas at Belmont, Call the Midwife and Sherlock.

Keith & Kristyn Getty: Joy, an Irish Christmas is an evening of carols, hymns and energetic Irish reels. Premieres Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 p.m.; also airs 1:30 p.m. Christmas Day on NPT2.

The annual Christmas at Belmont concert showcases Belmont University student ensembles along with guest performers. Hosted by Grammy Award-winning artist Kathy Mattea, this year’s show was recorded at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and will once again be broadcast nationwide on PBS. Premieres Monday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m. We’re offering quite a few opportunities to see this program, including Thursday, Dec. 24, at 8 p.m. Check our schedule at for more times.

Muppets and Mormons? This may be a first. Sesame Street’s Muppets join the singing from Temple Square in Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Santino Fontana. Premieres Monday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m.; also airs Christmas Eve at 9 p.m.

New Year’s Eve with NPT starts with Live from Lincoln Center and Alan Gilbert leading the New York Philharmonic in La Vie Parisienne, an evening of works by Ravel, Offenbach and Saint-Saens. New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m.

End 2015 with Michael Feinstein New Year’s Eve at the Rainbow Room, featuring Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole, Jessica Sanchez (American Idol) and tap duo the Manzari Brothers and others. New Year’s Eve at 11 p.m.

Welcome 2016 with a PBS/Great Performances tradition, the annual New Year’s Day Celebration from Vienna. Julie Andrews hosts this concert with the Vienna Philharmonic (lead by guest conductor Mariss Jansons) and performances by the Vienna Boys Choir and the Vienna State Ballet. Premieres New Year’s Day at 6:30 p.m.


Lidia Bastianich introduces six of her friends (actors, a fellow chef, a journalist) and recipes from their multicultural backgrounds in Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays. Premieres Friday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m.

Move beyond holiday basics when Craft in America: Celebration, highlights handmade holiday items from gingerbread masterpieces to Tex-Mex traditions to elaborate menorahs. Premieres Friday, Dec. 11, at 9 p.m.

Being home for the holidays is lovely; being in Europe for the holidays can be fantastic, as you’ll see in Rick Steves Special: European Christmas. This festive program takes viewers to England, Europe and Scandinavia. Airs Saturday, Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m.

Chef Vivian Howard blends Southern classics and Jewish traditions in the A Chef’s Life Holiday Special. Airs Friday, Dec. 25, at 7 p.m.

While you might expect a holiday-themed episode of Frontline to uncover unfair labor conditions in toy factories or the cutthroat world of Time Square Santas, this Frontline two-parter is the award-winning documentary From Jesus to Christ. The First Christians. Part 1 airs Monday, Dec. 14, at 11:02 p.m.; part 2 airs Monday, Dec. 21, also at 11 p.m.

Nurses Barbara Gilbert (Charlotte Ritchie), Trixie Franklin (Helen George), and Patsy Mount (Emerald Fennell)

Nurses Barbara Gilbert (Charlotte Ritchie), Trixie Franklin (Helen George), and Patsy Mount (Emerald Fennell).

This year a PBS viewer favorite comes with a big red bow: The Call the Midwife Holiday Special! It’s Christmas 1960 and the nuns and sisters at Nonnatus House are contending with the usual maternity ward surprises along with the excitement of a live TV broadcast of Poplar’s annual Christmas concert. Premieres Friday, Dec. 25, at 8 p.m.

Watch for holiday episodes of perennials Keeping Up Appearances and the Lawrence Welk Show, Saturday, Dec. 19 and 26. We’ll also re-air the Vicious holiday special, Friday, Dec. 25, at 9:30 p.m.

Do you think we’d let this season go by without a nod to the Nutcracker Ballet? Getting to the Nutcracker is a behind-the-curtains look at one company’s production, from auditions to rehearsals to performance. The documentary airs Friday, Dec. 25, at 11 p.m., just in time to fill your dreams with visions of sugarplum fairies.

Finally, start the new year with a new Sherlock on Masterpiece! The Abominable Bride stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson in Victorian times. Premieres New Year’s Day at 8 and re-airs Sunday, Jan. 10, at 9 p.m.

Happy holidays from NPT!

Extra Reasons to Support NPT this Season

Our December Membership Campaign begins this weekend with a slate of music specials and programs celebrating your favorite shows. And we have many great ways to thank you for your support with gifts ranging from Downton Abbey-inspired teas to DVDs and CDs to performance tickets and meet-and-greets.

Find more information about these thank-you gifts at

In addition to supporting the kinds of programming you’ve come to expect and trust from public television, here are two more reasons to consider making a donation to NPT this season:


Visa gift card TWGift Card Giveaway: Once again we’re holding a giveaway of a $1,000 Visa gift card and you’ll be automatically entered in the drawing when you make a donation to NPT between now and Dec. 31, 2015. Click here for details. You may also be entered in the drawing without making a pledge, though we hope you’ll be inspired to give generously.


GivingTuesdayGiving Tuesday: Falling on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving (December 1, this year), Giving Tuesday began four years ago in New York as a counter to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The concept of giving back, either by supporting nonprofit organizations or by volunteering in one’s community, has since spread to the rest of the world. If you would like to show your support of Nashville Public Television in connection to #GivingTuesday, please use this link:


Spend Thanksgiving with NPT

Thanksgiving is a time for kicking back and enjoying quality time with family and friends, even if that means finding a few moments between stuffing the turkey and launching the shopping season. Our Thanksgiving week schedule is flavored with programming to augment the holiday mood—you may even learn a thing or two!

thxgiving imageTuesday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. Documentarian Ric Burns turns his attention to those seasonal stars of American history, the Pilgrims. Airing on the American Experience series, the two-hour film seeks to go beyond the myths and lore to present a more truthful account of these religious radicals. Scenes shot aboard the Mayflower II (the only full-scale replica of the Pilgrims’ vessel in existence) and in Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Mass., add to the film’s poignancy. (If Plimoth looks familiar, it’s because that’s where PBS’ Colonial House was filmed.)

Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 9 p.m. The Pilgrims get the lion’s share of attention, but the settlers at Jamestown, Va., predated them by 13 years. Secrets of the Dead: Jamestown’s Dark Winter is not the usual holiday fare. Instead, the show derives from an archaeological find that has historians rethinking the narrative about the first permanent English settlement in North America. Was the 14-year-old girl whose bones were found in a cellar a victim of murder or something even more sinister?

Thursday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m. Our annual Thanksgiving marathon of Tennessee Crossroads episodes starts at 7 a.m. on NPT2 and moves to our main channel at 7 p.m. Join Joe Elmore and the gang as they make their way through 10 years of Crossroads journeys.

Thursday, Nov. 26, at 11 p.m. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a holiday tradition since 1924 and being invited to participate in the perambulating party is a big honor for marching bands. Journey to the Macy’s Parade follows one high school band’s road to New York.

Friday, Nov. 27, at 8 p.m. After the big meal, after the big shop, relax with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who is back with a new Great Performances show recorded in September at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. Andrea Bocelli: Cinema features songs from The Godfather, Dr. Zhivago, Love Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and other films. Bocelli sings in five languages in the concert, and welcomes actors John Travolta, Ryan O’Neal, Ali McGraw and Andy Garcia onstage to tell the films’ stories.

Find our full programming lineup at