What's Coming to PBS This Fall and Winter

Daniel Hautzinger
Elinor Wonders Why. Image: Pipeline Studios, © SHOE Ink
Elinor Wonders Why. Image: Pipeline Studios, © SHOE Ink

2020 may be an unprecedented year, but one constant is PBS programming, featuring such stalwarts as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Masterpiece dramas, new kids shows, and exhaustive Frontline documentaries. Here's a preview of some of what's coming in the fall and summer.

Elinor Wonders Why

September 7

This new PBS KIDS series for preschoolers follows the observant and curious bunny rabbit Elinor as she and her friends Ari the bat and Olive the elephant explore science, nature, and community in Animal Town.

NOVA: Human Nature

September 9

As the possibility of editing human DNA with CRISPR technology becomes more and more refined, NOVA examines the difficult questions posed by such advances: how far should we go?

Frontline—The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden

September 22

As it has since 1988, Frontline presents the life stories of the two major party candidates for president, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, examining the evolution of their views, their path to the presidency, and defining moments of their career. It's an in-depth portrait of both candidates in a decisive election.

Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan

October 5

Hosted by the New York Times-bestselling author Kelly Corrigan, this interview series from PBS and PBS NewsHour will feature such luminaries as Bryan Stevenson, the lawyer, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of Just Mercy

Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

Premieres October 6

The sixth season of the popular ancestry investigation series continues with new episodes featuring everyone from Carly Simon to Lupita Nyong'o, PBS's own Lidia Bastianich, Gayle King, Jordan Peele, Bill Hader, and more.

PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism

October 9

This new half-hour, age-appropriate program features both conversations between real children and their parents as well as segments from PBS KIDS shows ArthurDaniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum about race and racial justice. 

Great Performances: GRAMMY® Salute to Music Legends

October 16

Enjoy a starry tribute celebration of Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award winners featuring archival clips and acceptance remarks from the honorees and the artists they have influenced, including Chicago, Roberta Flack, Iggy Pop and more.

Independent Lens: Feel Good Man

October 19

Artist Matt Furie's creation Pepe the Frog has been co-opted by alt-right people online as a symbol of hate. Now Furie is trying to reclaim his creation.

Nature: Australian Bushfire Rescue

October 28

The bushfires that devastated Australia in the past year wreaked havoc on the unique wildlife of the continent. Follow the stories of rescue and rehabilitation of kangaroos, wombats, koalas and other species.

Roadkill

Premieres November 1

Hugh Laurie stars in this new Masterpiece drama as an ambitious politician whose enemies seem to be picking apart his public and private life to his detriment.

American Masters: Laura Ingalls Wilder

December 29

Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she turned her childhood in the Ozarks into the Little House on the Prairie series, influencing generations of Americans conceptions of the West. 

Elizabeth Is Missing

January 3

In this Masterpiece film, Glenda Jackson plays an independent grandmother who lives alone despite early-stage Alzheimer's. The drama is propelled by the disappearance of her only friend, Elizabeth, and the mystery surrounding it. 

All Creatures Great and Small

January 2021

This new adaptation of the beloved books of James Alfred Wight, aka James Herriot, brings the humorous adventures of a young country veterinarian in Yorkshire during the 1930s.

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

February 2021

For his next sweeping history, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes on the exuberant history of the Black church in America, as a site for worship, resilience, organizing, freedom and more, in two parts.

American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free

February 2021

This documentary, executive produced by Alicia Keys, tells the stories of six female Black entertainers, and their struggles against racism in the entertainment industry: Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, and Pam Grier. 

Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL!

Winter 2021

SOUL! was America's first variety show, premiering in 1968 and running for six years. In this documentary, the niece of the show's producer and eventual host, Ellis Haizlip, tells the story of the pioneering show. 

The entire Ken Burns Collection will be available for streaming

The COVID-19 pandemic could be the perfect time to dive into Ken Burns's in-depth films covering the breadth of American history and culture, from baseball to jazz to the Civil War, and beginning in August all of his films will be available to stream via WTTW Passport, available to WTTW members.