Great Performances team brought stage virtuosos into the videoscape

Twenty-five years ago this week, public TV first aired Great Performances, its major performing arts showcase. And just in time for the anniversary, CPB in October 1997 gave its top public TV award, the Ralph Lowell medal, to Jac Venza, executive producer of the series from the start. Earlier in the fall the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored him with its Governors Award.No other producer has captured as much free-floating excellence and put it on videotape as Venza, public TV’s major performing arts impresario. He also serves as director of cultural and arts programs at New York’s WNET, overseeing the American Masters biographies, the pop music series In the Spotlight and the local City Arts series. Venza talked with Current Editor Steve Behrens in the offices of the arts unit at WNET.

Revisiting Brideshead Revisited

You may have recently reacquainted yourself with this classic public TV mini-series. The American Program Service and 20 stations have brought it back for a third set of broadcasts this year, after a few runs on Bravo. Here, David Stewart reminds us of the quality, scope and impact of the production when it premiered in this country 14 years ago. On Monday evening, Jan. 18, 1982, the 11-part, 13-hour television series Brideshead Revisited broke over the PBS audience with the suddenness of a storm.