NPT’s ‘Soldier & Citizen’ preview event & broadcast premiere Feb. 23 & 28

Soldier & Citizen, the fourth documentary in Nashville Public Television’s Citizenship series, premieres this month on NPT. The documentary examines how minority groups ‒ African-Americans, immigrants and women ‒ leveraged their “blood debt” of military service to further their cause for full citizenship. Soldier & Citizen premieres Thursday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. on NPT and will be available for online viewing at An encore presentation airs Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 p.m., during a marathon of Citizenship Project documentaries on NPT (noon to 3:30 p.m.).

NPT will also host a free preview screening on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Tennessee State Museum (1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville, 37208). The event will include a panel discussion with four experts featured in the documentary: Dr. Lisa M. Budreau, senior curator of military history at the Tennessee State Museum; Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of history at Volunteer State Community College; Jo Ann McClellan, founder and president of the African American Heritage Society of Maury County; and Dr. Reavis L. Mitchell Jr., professor of history and Dean of the School of Humanities and Behavioral Social Sciences at Fisk University.

Produced by Ed Jones, the documentary covers the Civil War, the two World Wars and the Vietnam War, delving into the heroic efforts of soldiers during wartime ‒ including the Buffalo Soldiers and the Tuskegee Airmen ‒ as well as the often shameful ways they were treated during their service and upon their return to their communities. Women’s service during wartime is paired with a survey of how suffragists hoped the exploits of nurses during the First World War would help convince Congress and President Woodrow Wilson to support their quest for voting rights.

In addition to the panelists, others appearing in the documentary are: Sgt. Charles L. Henson, 598th Field Artillery Battalion, 92nd Infantry Division; Ronald R. Krebs, Ph.D., professor of political science; University of Minnesota; Bobby L. Lovett, Ph.D., professor of history and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Tennessee State University (Retired); Carroll Van West, Ph.D., director, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

NPT’s Citizenship Project is a series of original productions about how different groups have fought for, obtained and maintained the rights and access we commonly associate with American citizenship. These include the right to vote, the right to receive a public education, the right to be considered equal before the law, and the right to worship the religion of one’s choice. Over the course of the project, the programs will cover Tennessee history from the end of the Civil War through the 1960s, exploring civil rights and women’s suffrage among other topics.

The Citizenship Project is made possible by the support of

See these Oscar-nominated documentaries on NPT

Be sure to include NPT in your plans to binge the 91st annual Academy Awards nominees. Three films nominated in this year’s documentary categories will air on NPT and other PBS stations and/or will be available for streaming via NPT’s video portal at

The critically acclaimed Hale County This Morning, This Evening premieres on NPT on Monday, Feb. 11, at 9 p.m. on Independent Lens. Described as a lyrical and detailed portrait of life in an Alabama country in America’s so-called Black Belt, this documentary is part of NPT’s 2019 Black History Month programming. RaMell Ross’ film has been nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category.

Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, also nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category, follows three young men in a Rust Belt town. The trio bonds through skateboarding as they navigate volatile family life. This film premieres on NPT on Monday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m. on POV.


Finally, A Night At the Garden earned a Best Documentary Short Subject nomination. The short feature uses striking archival fragments recorded from a 1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden to shine a light on the disturbing fallibility of seemingly decent people. This piece by Marshall Curry airs Monday, Feb. 18, at 9:30 p.m. in a POV Shorts episode called “Hindsight is 20/20.”

In addition to broadcasting Independent Lens and POV, Nashville Public Television frequently offers free screenings of independently produced documentaries in the Middle Tennessee area. Join us for Indie Lens Pop-Up screenings this spring, including The Providers, on Thursday, March 7, at Watkins College of Art. Part of the Independent Lens series, this documentary explores the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural America. The event is free, but RSVPs are required at

NPT wins 2018 NETA Awards for ‘Aging Matters’ & ‘A Word on Words’

The 2018 NETA Award Winners in Salt Lake City.

NPT received two awards from the National Educational Telecommunications Association on Jan. 21, 2019. NETA honored its members with awards for excellence in community engagement, instructional media, content creation and promotion. The gala evening, sponsored in part by the Contributor Development Partnership (CDP), was the opening event for the 2019 NETA Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leaders Forum at the Marriott Downtown at City Creek hotel in Salt Lake City.

NPT was nominated for five awards and won in the following categories:

News & Public Affairs
NPT Reports: Aging Matters: Aging & the Workplace

What the judges said: “The show is informative without being boring; it’s personal and warm but never loses track of its purpose….This is a model for what every station can do.”

Short Form
A Word on Words

What the judges said: “Every element of these pieces is done well. The title sequences, audio, and video. Good interviewers. The closing tag is especially engaging.”

The NETA Awards are an annual recognition of public broadcasting’s finest work, a tradition established in the 1960s by the pioneering Southern Educational Communications Association from which NETA was formed. NETA is a professional association organized in 1997 to serve and support public television licensees and affiliated educational organizations. The organization has 101 member stations in 46 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

Fourth season of NPT’s Emmy Award-winning ‘A Word on Words’ begins Jan. 25

‘A Word on Words’ hosts J.T. Ellison and Mary Laura Philpott


The new season of A Word on Words, NPT’s Emmy Award-winning reboot of its classic series, launches Friday, Jan. 25, on Facebook and Sunday, Jan. 27, on-air. Mystery writer J.T. Ellison and essayist Mary Laura Philpott return as hosts and NPT associate producer/senior editor Suzy Hence takes over as series producer.

Fifteen authors will be featured this season, beginning with Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers). Makkai will be followed by Craig Johnson (the Sheriff Longmire novels, now a Showtime series); Silas House (Southernmost); Tayari Jones (American Marriage); and Alexander Chee (How to Write an Autobiographical Novel). These first installments were filmed at Nashville’s Downtown Public Library; others will be filmed on location around Middle Tennessee. The episodes will air Sundays at 10:26 a.m. on NPT following Tennessee Crossroads.


J.T. Ellison interviews author Tayari Jones.


A Word on Words received a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award in January 2017 and is up for a second Emmy at the Feb. 16, 2019, awards celebration. Segments from last season were used in What Makes a Great Book and Authors and Their Hometowns, companion documentaries to PBS’ Great American Read series. Additionally, A Word on Words’ Philpott moderated “The Great American Read” panel discussion during the 2018 Southern Festival of Books.

Generous support for A Word on Words is provided by Judy and Steve Turner.

Learn more about NPT’s literary series at Keep reading!

‘Volunteer Gardener’ tips for a head start on spring

Volunteer Gardener NPT
By Laura Bigbee-Fott

This is the first of a series of guest-written gardening blogs to inspire fans of NPT’s Volunteer Gardener and anyone looking for tips and ideas for happier, healthier gardens.

January is named for the Roman god Janus, whose purview was beginnings, endings and the transitions between the two. That’s especially apt here in Zone 7a where last year’s growing season has come to an end and most perennials are completely dormant. However, during this transition from dark to light, there are lots of chores we can accomplish to get a head start on our gardens!

You’re probably already poring over the mountains of seed catalogs you received over the winter holidays, but why not take advantage of these milder January days to get outside and get some real work done?

Here is quick list to get you started:

  • Use fireplace ashes. Take the ashes from your fireplace and spread them on your compost pile. You can also scatter the ashes around alkaline-loving plants such as clematis, forsythia, barberry, crocus, lilacs and buddiea. Just be sure to avoid your blueberry bushes!
  • Plant dormant trees and shrubs. Do this on days when your soil has dried out a bit. Working cold, wet soil – especially here in Middle Tennessee where we have a lot of clay – can cause compaction and that will inhibit root growth.
  • Start indoors. Start slower-growing plants indoors. Coleus are easy to grow from seed, and if you start now, they will be a lovely size to plant out in May.
  • Garden cleaning. Tools, pots, bird houses and bird feeders can all be cleaned now. Be sure to use a mild vinegar or bleach solution. Don’t forget to oil and sharpen your tools in preparation for spring. Oh, and fill all those bird feeders!
  • Winter weeding. Dig out winter weeds before they get a foothold in your garden! Look out for violets, as well as wild onion and strawberries. It’s been so mild this winter that even henbit and chickweed are making an appearance; get a head start and pluck them out now.
  • Garden mapping. On these long, dark evenings, draw out maps of your beds and landscape plantings. Make notes of additions you’d like to make, as well as items that need to be divided and/or moved to another location later in the season.
  • Crop cover. Winter rye can be used as a winter cover crop for areas you were late to clear.

If you take some time during this month of transition to get a head start in the garden, you will be able to greet spring with calm and pleasure. Get more ideas on Volunteer Gardener Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on NPT.

Laura Bigbee-Fott is a Davidson County Master Gardener. She owns Whites Creek Flower Farm and runs a floral event and wedding design business called Everything Blooms.

‘Victoria on Masterpiece’ Season 3 Premieres Jan. 13

The third season of Victoria on Masterpiece premieres on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m. This will not only be the U.S. premiere, it’ll also be the world premiere because the episodes will air here in the U.S. before they are shown in the United Kingdom.

It’s 1848 when the story picks up. Queen Victoria is expecting her sixth child and contending with a discontented Europe where revolutions are breaking out in country after country. Later, Victoria and her consort Prince Albert will have to deal with the increasingly problematic Bertie, heir to Victoria’s throne.

Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) returns as Victoria and Tom Hughes is back as Prince Albert. Season 3 also welcomes Laurence Fox (Inspector Lewis) as Lord Palmerston, the British foreign secretary at odds with the queen over foreign policy; and Kate Fleetwood (Harlots) as Victoria’s half-sister Princess Feodora, fleeing political unrest in her German home.

Victoria was written by historical novelist Daisy Goodwin, who also serves as executive producer. Season 3 continues Sundays through March 3. Each episode will re-air at 7 p.m. the Sunday following its broadcast premiere and will also be available to stream at for two weeks. After that, each episode will be available via NPT Passport. Seasons 1 and 2 of Victoria on Masterpiece are currently available on NPT Passport.


Royal extras

Victoria gave her name to a period of major industrial, technological, artistic and geopolitical change. In addition, the royal family set trends in many areas, from popularizing Scottish tartans to spreading Christmas traditions to defining wedding customs. When Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg just a few years into her reign in 1840, she did so in a stunning white lace dress and veil that made white bridal wear the standard.

Royal historian Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria’s nuptials in Victoria & Albert: The Wedding, a two-part special airing Sunday, Jan. 13 and 20, at 9 p.m. The program follows the painstaking re-creation of Victoria’s gown, her 300-pound wedding cake and other elements and then shows an elaborate reenactment of the wedding. Worsley was part of PBS’ “Royal Wedding Watch” team covering the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Here she’s joined by food historian Annie Gray, costumier Harriet Waterhouse and military historian Jasdeep Singh. Worsley’s Tales from the Royal Wardrobe and Tales from the Royal Bedchamber re-air on NPT at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, respectively.

Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter was for a time defined by matrimony, but in the case of Princess Margaret, it was a wedding that didn’t take place. The two-part Margaret: The Rebel Princess airs Sunday, Feb. 10 and 17, at 9 p.m. and profiles Queen Elizabeth’s glamorous, jet-setting younger sister. Forbidden from wedding dashing – and divorced – Royal Air Force pilot Peter Townshend, Margaret eventually married photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones and became part of the Swinging London scene of the 1960s.

Our complete broadcast schedule is available at

‘Doc Martin’ Season 8 begins Thursday, Jan. 3, on NPT

Martin Clunes in ‘Doc Martin.’

He’s back! Martin Clunes returns as the irascible, yet lovable, title character in Doc Martin beginning Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, at 8 p.m. on NPT. Viewers will have several opportunities to enjoy the series: Each Season 8 episode will air Thursdays at 8 and 11 p.m., Saturdays at 9 p.m. and again Sundays at 10 p.m. (10:30 p.m. on Jan. 6).

As the season opens, Martin and Louisa (Caroline Catz) are raising their toddler and giving their marriage another go in Portwenn. Their Cornish neighbors are up to their usual questionable business ventures, rocky relationships and interactions with odd visitors to the seaside village.

Previews of each Season 8 episode will be available at Our complete broadcast schedule is available at

New holiday shows: ‘Tennessee Crossroads,’ ‘Call the Midwife’ & more on NPT

Joe Elmore at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens.

Need a little Christmas? We’ve got plenty this month with a sleigh full of holiday episodes, music specials and cooking/entertaining shows. Joe Elmore and the Tennessee Crossroads crew put together a collection of an hour-long Tennessee Crossroads Christmas Special, premiering Thursday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. Tune in for nine holiday-themed stories including Chad’s Winter Wonderland in Wilson County, the Chattanooga Power Board windows, and a woman with a massive collection of Santa items. The special also features two vintage story segments and a look at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in all of its holiday splendor.


The new Call the Midwife Holiday Special airs Tuesday, Dec. 25, at 8 p.m. It wouldn’t be Christmas at Nonnatus House without new arrivals – this time greets a new nun and four Chinese orphans. We’re also airing the Call the Midwife 2016 specials on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 9:30 p.m.; and the 2017 special airs Saturday, Dec. 22, at 9:30 p.m.

Christmas at Belmont is one of our most popular holiday programs! See the 2015 concert hosted by Kathy Mattea on Friday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. and the 2017 concert hosted by Sheryl Crow at 8 p.m. Then, Jordan Smith ’tis the Season airs at 9 p.m., and Happy Holidays with the Boston Pops caps off the night at 11 p.m.


Holiday eats

Hosts Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison (pictured) and the rest of the America’s Test Kitchen crew share favorite recipes, traditions and personal memories in the new Home for the Holidays special, airing Friday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.

Chef Lidia Bastianich serves up A Heartland Holiday Feast, on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 8 p.m. In this new Lidia Celebrates America special, Bastianich goes on a cross-country trip to sample tamales, ribs, pies and other culinary traditions of America’s rural communities.



Shows of Christmas Past

Keeping Up Appearances Christmas episodes air Saturdays, Dec. 15 ‒ 22, at 8 p.m. Christmas episodes of Still Open All Hours air Saturdays, Dec. 15 (2016) and 22 (2017), at 9 p.m. The Lawrence Welk Show celebrates Christmas 1966 on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. and New Year’s 1970 the following Saturday at 7.

Performance treats

Tony Award-winning Broadway star Sutton Foster and actor Hugh Bonneville host Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a new holiday performance premiering Monday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. Other performers include the eight-person Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble, a percussion ensemble and a handbell choir.

Spend Christmas Eve at a cozy Vermont Inn via an encore presentation of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn ‒ The Broadway Musical on Monday, Dec. 24, at 8 p.m. on Great Performances.

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without the Nutcracker. Sunday, Dec. 16, at 11 p.m., young dancers compete for roles in an annual production in Getting to the Nutcracker. Meanwhile, Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet transplanted the famous story to the city’s 1893 Columbian Exposition (The White City) with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look in Making a New American Nutcracker, airing Thursday, Dec. 20, at 11 p.m.

Stocking stuffers

You’ll find a collection of festive episodes on NPT Passport, our members-only streaming portal. The programs include two Downton Abbey Christmas episodes, a Christmas masterclass from The Great British Baking Show and a classic Julia Child show on how to roast a turkey. Click here for the complete playlist and here for information on NPT Passport. The collection will be available through the end of the year.

Apollo 8 was the first lunar space mission that took humans around the back side of the Moon. The mission came at the end of 1968, launching on Dec. 21 and including a poignant moment when the three astronauts took turns reading from Genesis during a live broadcast on Christmas Eve. Sunday, Dec. 23, at 10:30 p.m., Earthrise on POV Shorts, discusses the mission’s iconic photograph of Earth rising dramatically over the Moon’s horizon. On Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m., NOVA’s Apollo’s Daring Mission on chronicles that entire lunar adventure.

New Year’s in

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? We’re airing Live from Lincoln Center featuring the New York Philharmonic and Renée Fleming on Monday, Dec. 31, at 8 p.m. That’s followed at 9:30 p.m. by Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve show. This year’s guests include Chris Isaak, Boz Scaggs, Gary Clark Jr., and Norah Jones.

Hugh Bonneville returns as host of Great Performances broadcast of the New Year’s Celebration from Vienna. The show airs Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, at 8 p.m. and will feature the Vienna Philharmonic led by Christian Thielemann, principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Vienna City Ballet.

Find our complete programming schedule at

‘Rumble’ kicks off NPT’s Indie Lens Pop-Up series at Watkins

The new season of NPT’s free Indie Lens Pop-Up documentary screenings begins Jan. 10, 2019. NPT is partnering with Watkins College of Art again this year to host the screenings 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays in the Watkins theater (2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville TN 37228). The screenings are free, but reservations are required. The first event of the new season features Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, an electrifying look at Native American influence in popular music. Following the film, award-winning Native American musician Gareth Laffely (who is of Mi’kmaq/Cree descent) will perform.

Gareth Laffely’s latest CD project, Voices of the Guardians, features award-winning Native American actor Wes Studi (Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, Avatar), and Emmy Award-winning producer Lance Bendiksen. A portion of proceeds from this CD will be donated to the American Indian College Fund to help other Native American youths realize their dreams of higher education.

Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. The films are chosen from current broadcast seasons of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens.

NPT’s 2018-2019 Indie Lens Pop-Up schedule:

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana
Thursday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m.
Watkins College of Art

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World brings to light a profound and missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. Featuring music icons Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, Randy Castillo, and Taboo, Rumble shows how these pioneering Native musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives.



The Providers by Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin
Thursday, March 7, 6 p.m.
Watkins College of Art

Set against the backdrop of the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural America, The Providers follows three healthcare providers in northern New Mexico. Amidst personal struggles that at times reflect those of their patients, the journeys of the providers unfold as they work to reach rural Americans who would otherwise be left out of the healthcare system. With intimate access, the documentary shows the transformative power of providers’ relationships with marginalized patients.



Charm City by Marilyn Ness
Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m.
Watkins College of Art

During three years of unparalleled violence in Baltimore, Charm City delivers an unexpectedly candid, observational portrait of the police, citizens, and government officials left on the front lines. In these divisive times, Charm City offers humanity as common ground.

Independent Lens is an Emmy Award-winning weekly series airing Monday nights at 9 p.m. on NPT. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more visit Join the conversation: and on Twitter @IndependentLens.

Learn about all of NPT’s events at

NPT promotes two; other staff updates

Nashville Public Television recently promoted two staffers and welcomed another back to the city and station.

Shane Burkeen was promoted to Director of Brand & Digital Strategies at NPT. He joined the staff in 2016 and previously served as Brand and Digital Content Manager. During his time at NPT, Burkeen has implemented cross-departmental digital campaigns and has been responsible for refreshing NPT’s brand to better reflect the organization’s mission and core values.

Suzy Hence was promoted to Associate Producer/Senior Editor. Her new duties include producing NPT’s Arts Break interstitials about local arts organizations (she currently serves as host of the series) and A Word on Words interstitials focusing on authors and book-related topics. She will also be responsible for media management and editing workflow. Hence will continue to edit Volunteer Gardener and other NPT productions. She has edited documentaries in every NPT series during her 12 years at the station, including Aging Matters: Caregiving, Next Door Neighbors: Somali, and Children’s Health Crisis: Infant Mortality, for which she received Midsouth Regional Emmys.

NPT welcomed Bridget Kling back to Nashville and to the staff as Senior Director of Broadcast Content responsible for the broadcast schedule on NPT’s three on-air channels. She is also in charge of local content production for broadcast and digital platforms. During her previous tenure at NPT, Kling produced Beautiful Tennessee, Christmas at Belmont, The Fugitives, Arts Break and other long- and short-form programs. She held various positions, including Director of Program Development and Director of Special Projects. During her earlier nine years at the station, Kling received a Midsouth Regional Emmy, a national Gracie Allen award, and National Educational Telecommunications Association awards. She also received the inaugural Rising Star Award presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission.

MiChelle Jones, NPT’s Communications Manager, will become vice chair of NETA’s Communications Council Executive Committee in January 2019. She recently received a Richard E. Ottinger Scholarship to attend the 2019 NETA Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leader Forum, January 21 ‒ 24 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A two-time National Endowment for the Arts writing fellow, Jones handles NPT’s publicity, advertising, promotions and social media.