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.
In the fifth 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 Mexico, Palm Beach, St Lucia, and Egypt, just to name a few! Website
A unique 6-part independent travel series, hosted by Kira Cook, takes a rare and whimsical look at life on islands without cars exploring islands in the western hemisphere’s developed world that have managed to keep a well-worn foot in the past by restricting or forbidding the use of motorized vehicles.
Rick asked. His fans answered. For the 12th season of “Mexico: One Plate at a Time - Bayless’ Best Ever” Rick Bayless returns to bustling Mexico City for an exploration of the country's most vibrant classics. These are the dishes Rick's social media followers asked to know. Always the teacher, Rick takes us into the market stalls, street vendors and restaurants — both rustic and refined — for lessons in the essential ingredients before returning to his Mexico City apartment to prepare his “best ever” versions. Back home in Chicago, Rick puts a contemporary, and sometimes unexpected, spin on the Mexican favorites.
Meet prize-winning architects who design classical and traditional buildings and cities. They’re the winners of the Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame, an award given annually since 2003 to living architects whose work “embodies the highest ideals of traditional and classical architecture. Each 30-minute program follows host Geoffrey Baer as he visits the architects across America and in Europe, traces their life stories, hears about their philosophies, and gets a tour of some of their most notable works. Episode #101
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. Website
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.
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! Website
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)! Website
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.
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.
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!” Website
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
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.
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.
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.”
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 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. Website
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 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. Website
WTTW National Productions is pleased to have produced, co-produced, or presented the following quality programs for public media over the past 60 years: