WTTW National Productions
WTTW National Productions is a premiere producer and presenter of original, high- quality media – reflecting the world’s rich and diverse arts and entertainment scene as well as education, politics, public affairs, business, and religion – to a national audience. Our programs and series are distributed by PBS, American Public Television (APT), the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) and others. Our programming extends beyond the TV screen and can be seen internationally as well as online.
New and Current Productions and Presentations
Foreigner Live at the Symphony
In May 2017, the legendary rock ‘n’ roll band Foreigner performed two sold-out shows together with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, conducted by Ernst van Tiel, taped over three spectacular nights in Lucerne, Switzerland. Foreigner Live at the Symphony represents a year-long collaboration between Foreigner founding member and lead guitarist Mick Jones and the Grammy-nominated composing/arranging team, Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer, exploring the deep symphonic potential of these classic and iconic songs. Celebrating 40 years of chart-topping hits, the band performs “Juke Box Hero,” “Cold as Ice,” “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” “Waiting For a Girl Like You,” “Starrider,” “Double Vision,” “Urgent,” and “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
International Jazz Day from Cuba
More than four dozen world-renowned artists come together for an International Jazz Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, culminating in an All-Star Global Concert at the Gran Teatro de La Habana. International Jazz Day is the one day each year that jazz is celebrated worldwide, bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Featuring host Will Smith with remarks by Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock and featuring performances by Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Marcus Miller, Richard Bona, Roberto Fonseca, Chucho Valdes, and many more, this concert crowns a week of education and community outreach throughout the island nation of Cuba. The program includes scenic footage from throughout the city, exclusive interviews with the artists and performances of jazz standards, original compositions and modern classics.
THE PRICE OF PEACE: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg
How do we prevent war? How do we maintain peace? These questions have been posed by nations and people throughout history. Concessions often bring about peace in the short term, defusing tensions for a while, but the aggressor’s initial demands are not forgotten and, in fact, often bolstered with time. The lessons of appeasement verses deterrence are hard-learned time and time again. The Price of Peace: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg examines the use of deterrence of enemy aggression in the past, and the efforts to sustain it in the current era of rogue nations and nuclear proliferation.
The Experience with Dedry Jones
The Experience with Dedry Jones is a celebration of music hosted by Dedry Jones in WTTW's intimate Grainger Studio. Audiences enjoy a personal conversation with a world class musician as they discuss the artist career, interests and music history, interspersed with a live music performance backed by a full band. Each episode takes audiences on a unique and compelling journey through the artist's life, through their own words, experience, and song.
The Interview Show with Mark Bazer
Taped at The Hideout, an intimate dive bar in Chicago, this series was created to bridge the gap between the silliness of late-night talk shows and serious-minded interview programs. Each episode features host Mark Bazer facilitating two or three conversations with a diverse collection of guests that are as substantive as they are entertaining. Pairing well-known guests with talented up-and-comers while also including some short comedic sketches, every second of The Interview Show with Mark Bazer is sure to engage, inform, and enlighten a wide and diverse audience!
Soundstage returns in April with an eclectic season of musical performances that are fun, fierce, and will have you rocking all night long! The pioneering music television series kicks off this spring with more intimate performances by a cross-genre roster of artists, including iconic band Chicago celebrating the 50th anniversary of their album Chicago II, American Idol Runner-Up Katharine McPhee, two Grammy Award winning A Capella groups performing together — The Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, music legend and Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, and new duo RSO (Richie Sambora and Orianthi)!
RWANDA: THE ROYAL TOUR
This new 1-hour documentary is the latest edition of the groundbreaking Royal Tour series, in which Peter journeys to a select country to offer audiences access to extraordinary locations, historic landmarks, and cultural experiences, guided by some of the most dynamic and powerful heads of state around the world. Rwanda: The Royal Tour follows journalist Peter Greenberg as he ventures deep inside the country known as the “land of a thousand hills” with the ultimate tour guide — the President of Rwanda himself, Paul Kagame.
A City at War: Chicago
At the beginning of America's engagement in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt called on the country to become "an arsenal of democracy" — major producers of war material to help defeat the Axis powers. This new film explores how the Windy City answered that call, and how a mutually beneficial relationship between FDR and Chicago mayor Ed Kelly (the original "big city boss") helped to set everything in motion. The documentary reveals how the Chicago area was transformed into a well-oiled production machine, with every man, woman, and child mobilizing to support the war effort.
In a fractured nation, what ideals do we share in common? To find out, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy teams up with his Stanford University colleague Condoleezza Rice to investigate the idea of a unifying American creed. Their thorny, cross-partisan inquiry frames the stories of activists, each of whom is striving to realize his or her own vision of America’s promise across a deep divide.
Fighting on Both Fronts: The Story of the 370th
FIGHTING ON BOTH FRONTS: THE STORY OF THE 370th tells the remarkable but little-known story of one of few African American regiments to have fought in combat during World War I. They were America's unsung heroes — 2,900 men from Illinois, many of them from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. This intrepid group of soldiers fought on two fronts — the war against the Germans and the war against racism and inequality. But when they returned from war they realized that, despite their sacrifices, the country still denied them civil rights
10 That Changed America
Hosted by Geoffrey Baer, this series recounts the stories of 40 of America’s manmade wonders, introduces us to the men and women who built them, and explore the impact that these places have had on us as individuals and communities. These buildings, homes, parks, and towns are all around us, and yet Americans typically have little understanding of how they came to be, who built them, and how they affect us all.
Nature Cat is a new animated PBS KIDS® series designed to encourage kids to explore and develop connections with the natural world. With broad comedic appeal and a focus on natural sciences, the show follows Fred, a house cat who dreams of exploring the great outdoors. Once his family leaves for the day, Fred transforms into Nature Cat, “backyard explorer extraordinaire!”
The Travel Detective Season 4
In the fourth season of the public television series The Travel Detective, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg shares cutting-edge travel news, must-have information, and insider secrets on navigating the travel process. Each episode has need-to-know tips to improve the travel experience: how — and when — to book a hotel room, avoiding nickel-and-diming fees, and how to speed through airport security. The series also features signature “Hidden Gems” destination segments, where Greenberg highlights his personal picks and favorite experiences off the tourist map. Featured destinations in this season include Jordan, Hawaii, Cuba, Australia, and United Arab Emirates, just to name a few!
Other Recent Productions and Presentations
Making a New American NUTCRACKER
The one-hour documentary Making a New American NUTCRACKER, narrated by actress Neve Campbell (The Company), takes audiences behind the scenes to discover what it took to bring this original production to life. The Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater gathered a stellar group of creative visionaries, including Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon , to reimagine the original story of 19th-century privilege into the story of Marie, the daughter of an immigrant single mother working as a sculptress, who falls asleep on Christmas Eve and dreams of the World’s Fair.
Wheaton College Christmas Festival: Love Divine
Wheaton College Christmas Festival: Love Divine offers a program of sacred Christmas music presented by the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Wheaton, Illinois. Join the Wheaton College Concert Choir, Men’s Glee Club, Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Women’s Chorale and guest artist Claire Holley for a selection of pieces spanning the centuries, including “Wolcum Yole,” “A Rhapsody on Christmas Carols,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” and “Gloria."
Weekend in Havana
Weekend in Havana follows architectural enthusiast and television host Geoffrey Baer as he takes his first trip to Havana, Cuba. Geoffrey, with the help of a number of prominent Cuban travel guides, will lead viewers through an exploration of the capital city of this island nation and discover why it still holds such fascination for Americans. Geoffrey and his Cuban companions will lead viewers on a journey of discovery through Havana’s distinctive cultural landscapes.
(pronounced you-me-go) is an innovative transmedia world of invention and construction designed to engage children in the exploration of real-world science, engineering and mathematical ideas. Through game play and problem solving, children navigate the world of UMIGO along with a cool and quirky cast of characters. UMIGO is funded in part by a Ready to Learn award from the US Department of education.
3-D interactive game designed to support reading comprehension for grades 2-3, is about the hilarious misadventures of two rookie "Worldsplorers,"" Gylnert and Zornat who hail from the planet Cyron. They are charged with figuring out Cyron’s 429th discovery &ndsah; EARTH. Mission to Planet 429 is funded in part by a Ready to Learn award from the US Department of Education.
WTTW National Productions is pleased to have produced, co-produced, or presented the following quality programs for public media over the past 60 years:
- 10 Buildings that Changed America
- 1916: The Irish Rebellion
- About Your House with Bob Yapp
- The America’s Family Kitchen
- American Idealist
- The Arab Americans
- The Artist Toolbox
- Brian Wilson & Friends: A Soundstage® Special Event
- Catholicism: The Pivotal Players
- CEO Exchange (Seasons 1-4)
- Chicago: City of the Century
- A Christmas Carol: The Concert
- Count Me In
- Curious Traveler
- David Broza at Masada
- Dream of Italy
- Ebert Presents At The Movies
- Ecuador: The Royal Tour
- Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives
- Electoral Dysfunction
- Family Travel with Colleen Kelly Season 2
- The First Silent Night
- The Frugal Gourmet
- Grannies on Safari
- Harlem Globetrotters: The Team That Changed the World
- HandyMa’am with Beverly DeJulio®
- The Hayloft Gang
- Heroes on Deck
- The Horsemen Cometh
- In a Just World
- inCommon with Mike Leonard
- In Pursuit of Passion
- Intelligence Squared
- I Remember Better When I Paint
- Islands Without Cars
- Jerzy Popieluszko: Messenger of the Truth
- Joffrey Nutcracker
- Justice & Jihad
- Lamb Chop’s Play Along
- Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis
- Long Distance Warrior
- Lost in Middle America
- Love is a Verb
- The Magic Never Ends: The Life and Works of C.S. Lewis
- Marriage: Just a Piece of Paper?
- McLaughlin Group
- McLaughlin’s One on One
- MEXICO—One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless (Seasons 1-9)
- MEXICO—One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless | Season 11
- Mini-Med School TV
- Mulberry Child
- My Neighborhood: Pilsen
- The New Explorers
- One Dog at a Time with Dennis Hill
- Pedal America
- Power of the Poor
- Power to the People
- Globalization at the Crossroads
- A Renaissance Christmas
- Race to the Moon: The Daring Adventures of Apollo 8
- RAGGs Holiday Jam
- The Real Adam Smith
- Real Age with Dr. Mike Roizen
- Retirement Revolution
- Rx: Doctors of Tomorrow
- Rx: The Quiet Revolution
- Skokie: Invaded But Not Conquered
- Sneak Previews
- Soldiers without Swords: The Black Press
- Soundstage (Seasons 1-16)
- SS United States: Lady in Waiting
- Straight No Chaser
- Testing Milton Friedman
- Trailblazers: The New Zealand Story
- Unexpected Justice
- Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools
- Water Pressures
- Wind Gods