The partnership enables the organizations to share digital, video and audio content in new ways. As part of this collaboration, PBS will launch a designated elections-focused digital destination on PBS.org in February that will include content from NPR, as well as from PBS’ signature news and public affairs programs and local PBS station newsrooms across the country. Likewise, NPR will integrate PBS content into its politics section on NPR.org. PBS and NPR will cross-promote both sites through social media tools.
PBS Election 2016 includes a mix of new and returning series and specials that will follow the election trail from the primary debates to Election Night and beyond. Coverage will highlight all major political events, including primaries, conventions and Election Night returns.
PBS Newshour will produce the programming service’s Democratic primary debate moderated by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff in Milwaukee on February 11. In addition to coverage of the campaign on the nightly broadcast, online and on its social platforms, election-focused special programming of the early primary season will include primetime coverage of the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary and Super Tuesday. Newshour and NPR also will provide full coverage in July of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and Republican National Convention in Cleveland – a first-time collaboration for the two organizations.
PBS Newshour Weekend will feature remote broadcasts from the host cities on the weekends leading up to the Democratic and Republican Conventions. In addition, the program will provide regular, in-depth reporting, called “Every Vote Counts: Examining the People, Places and Issues the Candidates Overlook,” throughout the 2016 campaign.
Frontline’s The Choice returns this fall with a two-hour film investigating what has shaped the two major-party presidential candidates, where they came from, how they lead and why they want to take on one of the most difficult jobs imaginable. Produced by Michael Kirk (United States Of Secrets, League Of Denial), The Choice 2016 will investigate formative moments in the candidates’ lives, providing in-depth reporting and powerful new insights about the candidates.
Washington Week With Gwen Ifill features the PBS anchor alongside Washington journalists, analyzing key election news stories and their effect on the lives of all Americans. This election season, the program will originate from key election locations with a series of live “road shows” along the campaign trail, including from the site of PBS’ Dem primary debate in Milwaukee on February 12; from GOP Convention host Cleveland on July 15; and the following week from the Democratic site in Philadelphia on July 22. In September, Washington Week will originate from the battleground state of Colorado with a live-audience program from the campus of Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
PBS’ American Experience franchises launches The Presidents, an all-new digital portal showcasing hundreds of assets from the Peabody Award-winning collection of films about our nation’s presidents. Films in the collection include the upcoming Murder Of A President (February 2 on PBS) and biographies of John F. Kennedy Jr., Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln and John Adams. Launching on Presidents Day (February 15), the portal will allow viewers to screen films, delve deeper with experts and living witnesses, and examine more than 200 primary source documents. The Presidents explores issues faced during various administrations, including the economy, war, dealing with a crisis, and abuses of power.
Throughout 2016, PBS will introduce a slate of new and returning programs focusing on issues important to the American people. Special programming includes:
- Independent Lens takes on the subject of gun violence over two consecutive nights with two documentaries: “Peace Officer,” about the increasingly militarized state of American police, told through the story of a former sheriff who established Utah’sfirst SWAT team (May 9); and “The Armor of Light,” which follows two people of faith who come together to explore the contradictions of a nation rife with gun violence — an evangelical minister who questions whether one can be pro-gun as well as pro-life, and a grieving mother dedicated to creating change after the shooting of her unarmed teenage son. Both films will be followed by one-hour primetime town-hall-style conversations.
- 16 FOR ’16 (w.t.), produced by OZY Media and hosted by Carlos Watson, is an American political documentary series that revisits the most compelling stories from past U.S. presidential campaigns to uncover gory details, hidden insights and lessons learned. Subjects include Howard Dean, Sarah Palin, Michael Dukakis, Ross Perot and Gary Hart, among others. The sixteen 30-minute episodes will air weekly leading up to election night.
- In Willie Velasquez: Empowering the People, a production of Galan Incorporated and Latino Public Broadcasting, viewers meet the man who led the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project and launched 1,000 voter registration drives in 200 cities, paving the way for Latinos to have a voice in government and underscoring the growing power of the Latino vote.
- Postcards From the Great Divide is a new series of nine short films, produced by a diverse mix of filmmakers who present a glimpse into grassroots politics in nine states. Each film focuses on a different topic relevant to the dynamics of voter turnout and partisan choice that will help decide the presidential race. Executive produced by Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker and Paul Stekler, the makers of Vote for Me: Politics in America.The films will premiere on the PBS NEWSHOUR and be distributed online via PBS.org.
- Getting Ahead is a one-hour primetime special, presented by WNET’s public media initiative Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America, that examines the hotly debated nationwide movement to increase the minimum wage. The documentary follows Tavis Smiley as he travels to Northern California where increases have been in place for more than a year, and offers a thought-provoking look at the real impact of higher wages on communities, businesses and employees.
- America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa, a one-hour prime-time special produced by Futuro Media and presented by WGBH that examines the changing demographics in the United States, viewing critical electoral issues through the lens of the new American mainstream and the country’s evolution to a majority-minority nation.