Nature special part of effort to emphasize family-friendly viewing
By DAVID BAUDER, Associated Press
NEW YORK — PBS is collaborating with the BBC on a special live event this summer where cameras will try to catch bears, wolves, eagles and other wildlife in their natural habitat in Alaska.
“Wild Alaska Live” will air over three nights on PBS on July 23, 26 and 30. Cameras placed in the Tongass National Forest, the Kenai Fjords National Park, in Hallo Bay and other locations will hunt for wildlife as the show discusses how the state’s human population interacts with nature.
The show is similar to “Big Blue Live,” a 2015 event focused on marine life in California’s Monterey Bay. That was another partnership with the BBC, said Beth Hoppe, chief programming officer at PBS.
“Live natural history has really caught on for them,” Hoppe said. “For them, it’s a big spectacle. For us, it’s a way to dip our toes into the space.”
Brothers Chris and Martin Kratt of the PBS Kids series “Wild Kratts” will host the event.
PBS has a run of natural history and science programming lined up for its “Summer of Adventure.” Next month will see the start of multipart series “The Story of China” and “Big Pacific,” the latter on the ocean’s “most guarded secrets.” “Nature’s Great Race” details stories of migration, and PBS will also show travelogues in Cuba and Ireland.
Through the adventure programming and other series, PBS is emphasizing family-friendly viewing at a time it sees competing broadcast networks getting away from that notion, Hoppe said. An adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables” did well for the network last fall, and PBS has agreed to air two other films in a related trilogy. PBS is also planning a three-hour version of “Little Women.”
“It’s a good thing to emphasize right now,” she said.