Here's a first look at Ken Burns' 4-hour, 2-part Jackie Robinson documentary that will premiere as part of PBS’ winter/spring primetime lineup this year.
Titled simply "Jackie Robinson," the film will memorialize the life of the legend, who was the first African American player in Major League Baseball. The 2-part documentary will air on Monday & Tuesday, April 11-12, from 9-11pm on both nights.
Also on PBS's winter/spring lineup:
- After announcing that the network had temporarily shelved its "Finding Your Roots" series in June last year, thanks to "Ben Affleck-Gate" (you'll recall the kerfuffle over the revelation that Affleck had requested that the episode in which he was featured and learned that an ancestor of his owned slaves, omitted), the series is back on PBS' schedule, with a 3rd season still hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. It kicks off this month, airing on Tuesday nights from 8-9 p.m. ET, with a lineup of 28 new guests, including Keenen Ivory Wayans, Senator John McCain, Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and others.
- Also, Gates will host a second program titled "Black American Since MLK: And Still I Rise," airing in April, which will explore the last 50 years of African American history, from the victories of the Civil Rights Movement to the first black president, asking profound questions about the state of black America today, and the nation as a whole.
- Other notable titles that will premiere on the network during the upcoming season include the TV debuts of a handful of documentaries we've covered on this blog: Stanley Nelson's "Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution," Nelson George's Misty Copeland documentary, "A Ballerina's Tale," and “(T)ERROR” from filmmakers Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, which follows an active counterterrorism investigation by the FBI.
Ken Burns examines the life and times of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, who in 1947 lifted a nation and an entire race on his shoulders when he crossed baseball’s color line, in a documentary that will reveal fascinating stories about the legend’s life after baseball. Co-directed with Sarah Burns and David McMahon (the trio also worked together on the recent Central Park Five documentary) and set to air April 11 and 12 on PBS, the film features President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama celebrating the role of not just Robinson, but also his wife, Rachel, which we see in the first clip from the film below.
"Jackie Robinson" airs in 2 parts, each 2 hours long, on Monday and Tuesday, April 11-12, 9-11 pm ET.