On-Air Highlights

A look at May on WITF TV

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Apr 24, 2014 10:09 AM

WITF starts the month off with a celebration of the Pennsylvania Ballet. This special showcases one of Philadelphia’s cultural treasures, Pennsylvania Ballet, and honors the company’s golden anniversary. Featured are the pas de deux from After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon, Under the Sun Pas de Deux by Margo Sappington and “Diamonds” from Jewels by George Balanchine. Included are interviews with Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet founder, and Roy Kaiser, artistic director of the company. Catch Pennsylvania Ballet at 50 on Friday May 2 at 9:00pm. 


We’ll reprise The Paradise through May.  This Masterpiece series first broadcast over the fall.    A Victorian-era department store is the setting for love, intrigue, and a revolution in retailing, with Joanna Vanderham (What Maisie Knew) as a beautiful salesgirl and Emun Elliott (“Game of Thrones”) as the ruthless, enigmatic store owner. Adapted from Emile Zola’s classic novel, the glittering shopping spectacle also stars Patrick Malahide, Elaine Cassidy, and Sarah Lancashire.  The seven part series airs Thursday nights. 

A new installment of American Masters features George Plimpton.  Journey through the tall-tale life of the participatory journalist George Plimpton: The Paris Review co-founder, amateur sportsman and actor. The film shares his experiences using Plimpton’s own narration, interviews and previously unseen material.  American Masters airs on WITF Friday May 16 at 9:00pm.

Heroin use in Pennsylvania has reached epidemic proportions and young people are at particular risk. The average first-time user is 23 and has likely turned to heroin after developing an addiction to prescription pain medication. Once thought to be found only cities, these dangerous drugs are now readily available in rural and suburban neighborhoods. On Heroin: A Commonwealth Crisis, experts will discuss what led to this deadly health issue and provide information on prevention and treatment.  WPSU in State College is convening this important discussion to be carried live on public media across the commonwealth including WITF Thursday May 22 at 8:00pm.

Sunday afternoon May 25 WITF will feature a variety of programs commemorating Memorial Day.  Sunday evening Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise co-host the 25th anniversary broadcast of this night of remembrance honoring the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. The National Memorial Day Concert from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before an audience of hundreds of thousands, millions at home, and to our troops around the world via American Forces Network.  Recognition of our troops continues Monday with a two-part special focusing on America’s female patriots in Unsung Heroes. Today more women serve in the armed forces than at any other time in our nation’s history, in ways never before possible. Women pilot B-2 Stealth Bombers on combat missions, drive tanks in Iraq, direct Marines in Afghanistan, command carrier battle groups, fly jet fighters and helicopters, and continue the noble tradition of providing critical battlefield care as doctors and nurses.

Drawing heavily on This Republic of Suffering, historian and Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust’s acclaimed book, “Death and the Civil War” explores a critical but largely overlooked aspect of the Civil War experience: the immense and varied implications of the war’s staggering and unprecedented death toll. The war created a veritable “republic of suffering,” as landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted described the wounded and dying arriving at Union hospital ships on the Virginia Peninsula. The program premieres in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Antietam, the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.  Watch American Experience: Death and the Civil War Monday May 26. 


Later this summer WITF will bring you a five-part series Civil War: The Untold Story which examines this well-documented conflict through the lens of the Western Campaign, which dramatically shaped the final outcome of the Civil War.  Additional details about this series...

One final note, we’ll have a fairly large change to our children’s program schedule for June through August.  The new summertime schedule will highlight some of the popular PBS Kids programs like Wild Kratts, Curious George, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with twice as many episodes a day!  The summer schedule begins June 1.   The complete schedule will be posted soon to the website.

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