Pipeline 2021: Our annual survey of shows coming to public TV

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Programs coming to public TV next year, clockwise from top left: "Stateless," "Down a Dark Stairwell," "London's New Year's Day Celebration 2021," "A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem," "Los Hermanos/The Brothers."

This list includes limited series and specials from PBS signature series, independent filmmakers and distributors, minority consortia and public TV stations. With the exception of one pledge show from APT, all programs are intended for prime time or weekly broadcasts in January 2021 and beyond, though most aim to debut sometime next year.

Among the highlights:

  • Frontline will deliver Pandemic (working title) from producer/director James Bluemel next spring. The two-part, three-hour documentary examines the international response to the coronavirus pandemic by focusing on first-person accounts from countries such as Kenya, Colombia and Italy.  
  • A documentary about Soul!, the public TV variety show that made a profound impact on television. Ten years in the making by producer, writer and director Melissa Haizlip, Mr. Soul! also profiles her uncle, the late Ellis Haizlip, who created and hosted Soul!
  • American Masters is preparing a biography of Rita Moreno, combining contemporary footage of the actor’s current roles with interviews, archival footage, animation and Moreno’s own stories of the obstacles she surmounted throughout her life.

Our thanks to producers and their distributors and publicists, who supplied most of the information.

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