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[07/15/03 - 12:00 AM]
TCA Summer Press Tour: Pbs
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association began its summer press tour last week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters. This week sees the tour's focus shift to the broadcast networks as PBS held its session on Saturday for the press.

Here's a breakdown of the highlights of PBS' presentation:

-- PBS plans to revive "American Family" for a second season. The network has greenlighted 13 fresh installments of the series which will debut Sunday, April 4 of next year. PBS will also repeat episodes of the series' first season in September during Hispanic Heritage Month. Funding issues had previously held up the series continuing beyond its first season.

-- Several celebrities have lined up to boost PBS' offerings this fall: Ian McKellen will narrate the network's three-hour biography special "Churchill" while Don Cheadle will host the documentary series "Independent Lens." The new season features 29 stories ranging from Mormon missionaries to the monks of Shaolin in America.

-- Also due this fall is the eighth in Ric Burns' series "New York: A Documentary Film, American Experience." The latest installment, "The Center of the World," focuses on the World Trade Center.

-- "Nova" will spend the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first light with the documentary "Wright Brothers' Flying Machine."

-- Lastly on the kids front, PBS plans to launch the literacy campaign "PBS Kids Share a Story" on September 15.

Upcoming TCA schedule: Monday-Tuesday (July 14-15) - ABC; Thursday-Friday (July 17-18) - FOX; Sunday-Monday (July 20-21) - CBS; Tuesday (July 22) - UPN; Thursday-Friday (July 24-25) - NBC





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