WTTW, one of the Midwest’s premier public media organizations, announces notable new programs and season premieres in its fall 2016 primetime and kids’ schedule. In addition to the continuing national public television series, including Antiques Roadshow, NOVA, Nature, and more, below are some special “popout” programs airing on WTTW11 and wttw.com in fall 2016, including several local premieres – Regina Spektor: A Soundstage Special (October 6), the 16th season premiere of Check, Please! (October 14), and a new Geoffrey Baer special, Navy Pier: A Century of Reinvention (October 27). Also of note: Chicago’s Tonight’s Candidate Forums and online Candidate Free Time in advance of the November general election, and a new PBS Kids series from the Jim Henson Company, Splash and Bubbles (November 23).
Poldark Season 2 on Masterpiece – Sunday, September 25, 7:00 pm (through November 20, 8:00 pm)
Against the breathtaking backdrop of 18th-century Cornwall, Aidan Turner (Poldark), Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza) and Heida Reed (Elizabeth) return as the complicated love triangle in a new season of the popular romantic saga, based on the novels by Winston Graham.
Indian Summers Season 2 on Masterpiece – Sundays through November 20, 9:00 pm
The series described by Variety as "picturesque, wonderfully soapy, and set against a rich historical backdrop" returns for a second season. It's 1935 in Simla – an Indian retreat for British colonials set in the Himalayas. Starring Julie Walters, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Jemima West, Nikesh Patel, and Rachel Griffiths.
MEXICO – One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless (New Season) – Fridays beginning September 16, 8:30 pm
In Season 11 of this weekly series, Chicago chef Rick Bayless explores the vibrant food scene and burgeoning chef movement in the Yucatán peninsula. Then Rick brings it all home, so audiences can try their own hand at this incredible cuisine.
Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War – Tuesday, September 20, 9:00 pm
This new film by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky traces an American couple's courageous mission in 1939 to help refugees escape Nazi-occupied Europe. Over the course of two eventful years, the pair will risk their lives so that hundreds can live in freedom. Waitstill and Martha Sharp are voiced by Tom Hanks and Marina Goldman.
FRONTLINE: The Choice 2016 – Tuesday, September 27, 8:00 pm
FRONTLINE’s acclaimed series returns with a two-hour film investigating what has shaped presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – where they came from, how they lead, and why they want to take on one of the most difficult jobs imaginable.
Do You Speak Chopin? – Sunday, October 2, 6:00 pm
This new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Marian Marzynski follows several young pianists as they compete in the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, called by many the “Chopin Olympics.”
Independent Lens: Best of Enemies – Monday, October 3, 9:00 pm
In 1968, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. changed TV news forever with their explosive political debates. Live and unscripted, conservative Buckley and leftist Vidal riveted viewers as a new era in contentious public discourse was born.
Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice – Monday, October 3, 10:30 pm
Meet the charismatic pioneering activist Willie Velasquez, whose rallying cry of "su voto es su voz" (your vote is your voice) started a grassroots movement that transformed the nation's political landscape, and paved the way for the growing power of the Latino vote.
PBS NewsHour Debates: A Special Report – Tuesday, October 4; Sunday, October 9; Wednesday, October 19, 8:00 pm
PBS NewsHour presents live coverage of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates, followed by analysis. The programs are co-anchored by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff.
Regina Spektor: A Soundstage Special – Thursday, October 6, 8:00 pm
Experience the artistry of award-winning singer-songwriter Regina Spektor (writer/performer of the Grammy-nominated Orange Is the New Black main theme), in this magical concert special taped in WTTW’s Grainer Studio. Backed by a lush string section, Spektor sits down at the piano to share tracks from her new release, Remember Us to Life, and other beloved hits from her previous bestselling albums.
Frontline: Confronting ISIS – Tuesday, October 11, 9:00 pm
Frontline presents this in-depth investigation of the U.S.-led efforts to degrade and destroy ISIS. Reporting from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey, the film examines the successes, failures, and challenges of the fight, as ISIS loses ground in the region but strikes out abroad.
Check, Please! – Friday, October 14, 8:00 pm
The 16th season of WTTW’s popular restaurant review series premieres with host Catherine De Orio. Restaurants/reviewers on the season premiere: Boston Fish Market (Des Plaines), recommended by talent manager Alicia James; Charlatan (West Town), recommended by attorney Alex Dravillas; and Bar Pastoral (Lakeview), recommended by artist Adam Thomas. New this season: guest “confessionals” online only at wttw.com/checkplease, where audiences will find extensive video, recipes, tweets, and more.
Chicago Tonight: Live Candidate Forums and Candidate Free Time – various dates in October, 7:00 pm
The team from Chicago Tonight provides live candidate forums featuring contenders for federal, state and local offices, along with online Candidate Free Time, where each candidate is offered two minutes of video to present their platforms to voters. Extended political coverage can be found at wttw.com/chicagotonight.
PBS Fall Arts Festival – Fridays beginning October 21, 9:00 pm
The PBS Arts Fall Festival returns in 2016 with a strong lineup of arts programs including Great Performances’ Hamilton’s America (October 21), Shakespeare Live!, and Gypsy, as well as Live From Lincoln Center’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, among other titles.
Navy Pier: A Century of Reinvention – Thursday, October 27, 8:00 pm
In this all-new WTTW multiplatform special to mark Navy Pier’s centenary, Geoffrey Baer traces its dramatic history from underused shipping terminal, to military training center, to university, to rough-edged concert venue, and now, top tourist attraction. The accompanying website will offer a mobile tour, historical timeline, fun facts, web-exclusives, and other interactive features.
Bill Murray: Mark Twain Prize for American Humor – Friday, October 28, 9:00 pm
Comedian/actor Bill Murray is the 19th recipient of the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. His fellow comedy stars pay tribute to his work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
PBS NewsHour: Election Night Live Coverage – Tuesday, November 8, 8:00 pm
Live coverage of election results, co-anchored by PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. WTTW’s Chicago Tonight provides extensive online reporting as well, at wttw.com/chicagotonight.
Soundbreaking – Monday-Friday, November 14-18 and Monday-Wednesday, November 21-23, 9:00 pm
This eight-part series takes an in-depth look at the art of music recording and how it's evolved, from The Beatles’ groundbreaking use of multi-track technology to the synthesized stylings of Stevie Wonder, from disco-era drum machines to the modern art of sampling.
Splash and Bubbles – Wednesday, November 23, several times daily
This new animated multiplatform series from the Jim Henson Company is designed to encourage kids ages 4-7 to explore the natural undersea world as they follow the adventures of Splash, a yellow fusilier fish, Bubbles, a Mandarin dragonet, and their friends.
Anne of Green Gables – Thursday, November 24, 7:00 pm
A new adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic novel tells the story of Anne Shirley, a precocious orphan placed in the care of uptight Marilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew, played by acclaimed actor Martin Sheen.
WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on wttw.com. Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!, and MEXICO – One Plate at a Time, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming to 2 million weekly viewers across a four state area. Visitors to wttw.com can connect with others in the community and access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, interactive features, event and membership opportunities, and robust microsites dedicated to WTTW and PBS series and specials. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.