With Upward Trend in Ratings, KCETLink Media Group
Unveils Robust 2015-16 Program Schedule
Focused On Key Partnerships and Global Storytelling Strategy
Three UK Crime Dramas Added To Lineup Plus New Season of DOC MARTIN; Renewals of Three Award-Winning Flagship Productions Round Out New Schedule; Two Documentaries Make National Broadcast Premieres; Digital Content Jumps from Online to On-Air
BURBANK, Calif. - October 5, 2015 - Gripping new documentaries from around the world, critically acclaimed content that captures the spirit of Southern California, and the return of top-rated British dramedy DOC MARTIN are among the distinctive programming offerings that viewers can expect during the 2015-2016 television season from KCETLink Media Group, the national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network. KCETLink Media Group includes public television service KCET reaching six million households in Southern California and national satellite service Link TV available nationwide to almost 35 million subscribers of DirecTV (channel 375) and DISH Network (channel 9410).
The announcement of upcoming programming priorities was made today by KCETLink Media Group's President and CEO Michael Riley, who also revealed that KCET's whole day viewership increased 40%* in FY2015 compared to FY2014 while its primetime viewership increased 31%. This whole day figure represents a higher percentage increase than all public TV stations, independent TV stations and directly competing cable networks in the Los Angeles DMA. In addition, Mr. Riley noted that kcet.org, which has developed into one of the most valuable resources for information and news about Southern California, has averaged over one million monthly pageviews since the beginning of the year.
New original content and acquisitions from the network were officially revealed today, as well asadditional commitments to the network's award-winning news series SOCAL CONNECTED and thecritically acclaimed arts and culture multiplatform series ARTBOUND as well as the unique series that explores walkable urban spaces, CITY WALK. The new programming slate reflects a strategy designed to engage the public in the heritage of Southern California and explore what the region represents on a broader scale.
"We are very encouraged by the ratings and happy to be able to grow the company from a place of greater stabilization with exciting projects on the horizon," said Mr. Riley, who joined the network from ABC Family in January. "My main focus has been to prioritize our key franchises and leverage our video storytelling expertise through new strategic partnerships."
Securing new partners to leverage the network's video storytelling capabilities will help create a larger impact around KCETLink key areas of content, including environment, news & information, as well as arts & culture. Recently, KCETLink and the Los Angeles Times announced a collaboration called "The California Conversation" that brings together each organization's strengths to deepen engagement around key issues shaping the region. "The California Conversation" debuted on June 9 whenGovernor Jerry Brown discussed the drought crisis in California in an hour-long conversation at USC. The event was watched on TV by nearly 1 million viewers, and read by over 1.5 million people in print and online outlets, reaching nearly 20 million people through social and traditional media.
The network also announced the acquisition of three British crime-drama series for KCET during the 2015-2016 season that include the first three seasons of WHITECHAPEL, and the debut seasons of both SHETLAND and THE FIXER, which will continue to build on the network's extremely loyal fan base of popular UK-produced programming. KCET's highest-rated series DOC MARTIN was announced to return in January for a seventh season of the Martin Clunes starring dramedy after a jaw dropping cliff hanger wrapped up season six. DOC MARTIN season seven will be televised exclusively in the Southern California market on KCET.
Returning Wednesdays this fall is LINK VOICES, the weekly series of diverse, provocative documentaries that inform, inspire and challenge viewers to impact change. The global documentary series kicks off the second season with the powerful broadcast premiere of the Anthony Edwardsexecutive produced "Searching for Home: Coming Back From War" directed by Eric Christiansen. The film is an emotional and unflinching look at returning veterans of all generations from various foreign wars and their search for the "home" they left behind--physically, mentally and spiritually. The important documentary makes its national television debut on KCET and Link TV on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2015. In addition, a series of online vignettes that profile veterans and their experience with war will launch on kcet.org in October and continue to roll out through the summer of 2016.
A second national broadcast premiere of LINK VOICES follows in December with the Outfest Grand Jury Documentary winner "Born This Way" addressing LGBTQ rights in Cameroon. The season two lineup promises to continue to introduce viewers to compelling, topical and daring storytelling.
Finally, KCETLink will be launching GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES on Oct. 13 at LinkTV.org, a digital first initiative that curates critically acclaimed short-form documentaries from around the world under a variety of topics that range from urbanism and gender identity to dance and women's issues, among many others. Acquired from more than 50 global organizations including the Thomson Reuters Foundation, content will initially live online and engage a broad audience. Based on their level of audience engagement, some of the programs will then be produced as pilots to air on Link TV. The new programming model will result in the return of MOSAIC, a global news and issues-driven initiative that was formerly a Link TV flagship series that delivered unfiltered news from the Middle East. MOSAIC will debut with a pilot episode in late October with one of the focuses being on Asian millennials in China.
Mr. Riley commented, "The content development strategy in the year ahead will take a 360-degree approach that converges broadcast and digital storytelling so our viewers can interact with these stories in a way that best resonates with how they consume media. We have a tremendous advantage working with some of the best and most creative minds across multiple platforms."
The priority programs expected to debut** with the KCETLink Media Group in 2015-2016 are as follows:
RENEWED ORIGINAL SERIES (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):
"ARTBOUND" (Premiering Nov. 17, Tuesdays on KCET and Link TV)
The critically acclaimed weekly television series and online destination ARTBOUND(kcet.org/artbound), will continue to capture the spirit of the burgeoning arts and culture community in Southern and Central California and how it's shaping California as the creative capital of the world. The series will shift its focus to more immersive documentary specials, including its debut episode that explores the concept of "Afrofuturism" and the ways in which black art production is taking shape in contemporary Los Angeles.
The series will also continue to air videos created from popular user-voted online columns from cultural tastemakers about how the arts and artists have shaped the region. Since its inception in 2012, the series has earned high industry praise including several Emmy® Awards, LA Press Club awards, two Golden Mike awards and a National Entertainment Journalism award, among others. Today, ASCAP recognized ARTBOUND with the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor / Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award.
"CITY WALK" (Season 3 premieres in March 2016 on KCET and Link TV
From Rigler Creative, the third season of Emmy® nominated CITY WALK is a weekly series that journeys by foot across the country for a ground's eye view of urban America with a strong focus on health, physical activity, public transportation, architecture, urban parks, vibrant communities and life in Southern California. In tune with the US Surgeon General's recent call to action to promote walking and walkable communities, CITY WALK offers historical insight as well as a modern perspective. The series has a vibrant online destination at kcet.org/citywalk where visitors can stream full episodes, find show segments, web extras, related news, and tap into additional resources on how walking can change lives.
"SOCAL CONNECTED" (Season 7 premieres January 2016, Wednesdays on KCET)
Airing exclusively on KCET, SOCAL CONNECTED, launches season 7 with weekly half-hour installments offering viewers substantive, in-depth reporting on vital issues that impact Southern Californians. An additional series of four hour-long specials will air throughout the season bringing together civic leaders in dialogue with engaged citizens for a deeper exploration of critical issues.SOCAL CONNECTED, recently honored with nine Emmy® Award nominations and two wins, is anchored by 16-time Emmy®-Award winner, Val Zavala. SOCAL CONNECTED is made possible through the generous support of The Ahmanson Foundation, Chapman University and the Maddocks-Brown Foundation.
NEW DOCUMENTARY ACQUISITIONS (IN PREMIERE ORDER):
LINK VOICES: "The C-Word" (Premieres Oct. 7 on KCET and Link TV)
To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this inspirational docudrama is based on the true story of British blogger and author Lisa Lynch, who started the blog "Alright Tit" as an outlet to cope with her terminal breast cancer diagnoses at the age of 28. Lynch's blog--in which she displays both her wit and courage-- ultimately became the 2010 book The C Word, capturing the no-nonsense and lively style of Lynch's writing and personality. The upbeat and brutally honest film shares Lynch's story from her initial breast cancer diagnosis, subsequent remission and then her passing after the cancer reoccurred.
SEASON TWO PREMIERE OF LINK VOICES: "Searching for Home: Coming Back From War"
(National Television Premiere Nov. 11 *Veterans Day* on KCET and Link TV)
Built on the "pillars" of The Truth - The Healing - The Hope, "Searching for Home: Coming Back From War" is a multi-generational study of the often perilous journey from battlefront to home front. From World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to modern-day conflicts, the documentary film honors the men and women who have left "home," only to return to new and difficult challenges as profoundly changed people. The film captures, up close and personal, the lives of veterans struggling with issues of grief and trauma, some for as many as 60 years. Unprecedented access allows the viewer to personally witness the hidden wounds, disturbing memories and the devastating impact of PTSD.
LINK VOICES: "Born This Way"
(National Television Premiere Dec. 9 on KCET and Link TV)
Directed by Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann, "Born This Way" takes place in Cameroon, where homosexuality is punishable with a five-year prison sentence. The film observes Gertrude, a young lesbian, as she hesitantly comes out to the nun who raised her in a convent. Meanwhile, Cedric, a young gay man, is determined to stay in his home even as his neighbors escalate their violent threats. From their base in an HIV treatment center, these two brave souls risk life and liberty to create positive momentum for LGBTQ rights, even as they face overwhelming personal struggles.
NEW SERIES ACQUISITIONS (IN PREMIERE ORDER):
"WHITECHAPEL" (Premiered Sept. 27 on KCET)
Ambitious DI Joseph Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones) is assigned a new case, where the investigation quickly runs out of suspects until a renowned "Ripperologist" draws the police's attention to the similarities between the Jack the Ripper killings in 1888 and the modern-day murder that Chandler is investigating. The race begins to catch the copycat killer before he strikes again.
"DOC MARTIN" (Season Seven premieres Jan. 14, 2016 on KCET)
Martin Clunes stars as the cantankerous village doctor Martin Ellingham, whose truculence and tactlessness causes mayhem in a small Cornish community. The series details the trials and tribulations of the brash Ellingham, a celebrated London surgeon who is forced to quit his job after developing a blood phobia. He finds work as a general practitioner in the sleepy village of Portwenn. In the season seven opener, Ellingham goes after Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz) and their baby as they depart for Spain.
"THE FIXER" (Premieres in March 2016 on KCET)
Set in modern Britain, the series follows the life of an ex-British Special Forces soldier, John Mercer (Andrew Buchan, "Broadchurch," "The Honourable Woman"), arrested by police for killing his aunt and uncle following his discovery of their abuse of his sister. Released early from prison to serve in a covert state security squad, Mercer finds himself a government-backed assassin responsible for eliminating criminals and renegade police officers that the law cannot apprehend.
"SHETLAND" (Premieres in March 2016 on KCET)
The television murder-mystery series is adapted from the immensely popular crime novels by Ann Cleeves set against the stunning backdrop of the Shetland Isles. The acclaimed drama stars Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez. When an elderly woman is found murdered on the archaeological site in the grounds of her croft, Perez and his team investigate and find that somehow the murder is linked to another.
Digital to Broadcast Programming
"CLIMATE CHANGE LA" (Live at KCET.org/climatechangeLA)
An online platform in partnership with Climate Resolve will exclusively debut climate studies fromUCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES), and serve to educate both consumers and businesses about the local impacts of climate change. In addition to putting the climate science studies into context, the web portal will offer everyday actions and solutions that can be adopted to address climate change in our region. Climate Resolve will also be updating the hub with original content, including interviews with local leaders working on climate change solutions.
"CALIFORNIA MATTERS WITH MARK BITTMAN" (Currently online at KCET.org/CAFoodMatters with two pilot episodes premiering Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 on KCET and Link TV)
The online site and the television program will follow the respected food writer, author and former New York Times columnist in a 10-part web series that takes the renowned food expert across the state to explore leading research in food and health policies as well as sustainable agriculture by several University of California campuses. UC and its Global Food Initiative is producing the video series in collaboration with the Berkeley Food Institute where Mark Bittman was a distinguished visiting fellow this spring.
"MOSAIC" (Launching Oct. 13 on Linktv.org; broadcast premiere Oct. 27 on Link TV and KCET)
The Peabody Award-winning series returns as part of GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES, a digital first initiative that curates critically acclaimed short-form documentaries from around the world. This time,MOSAIC will focus on Asia. MOSAIC's debut episode, "China Dream," explores how Chinese President Xi Jinping's 2012 call for "rejuvenation of the nation" impacts Chinese intellectuals, millennials that are studying in the U.S., migrant workers in China, and an entrepreneur in Africa.MOSAIC is a multimedia platform, docu-news initiative that creates, curates and distributes the best global content through film, photography and writing. Devoted to innovative storytelling across a wide spectrum of styles and lengths, the series provides in depth, historical, contextual analysis and features stories as told by the people of the region.
"LA AS SUBJECT'S LOST LA" (Launching in 2016 on KCET and Link TV)
In conjunction with the University of Southern California Libraries and the LA as Subject initiative dedicated to preserving the rich archival histories and cultures of Los Angeles, eight local up-and-coming filmmakers attempt to document historical perspectives of the city including lost habitats, structures, wildlife, and communities that once existed.
*Ratings courtesy of Nielsen.
**Debut dates may be subject to change due to unexpected scheduling conflicts.
ABOUT KCETLINK MEDIA GROUP
KCETLink Media Group, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV - DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410 - and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.