Dick Gregory, Mary-Louyise Parker, and director Byron Hurt. Photo by Rahoul Ghose/PBS.

What a whirlwind weekend. In Beverly Hills, the nation’s television critics assembled to get sneak peeks of upcoming shows headed to the small screen in the Fall. The first two days were given over to public television, and let’s just say PBS set the bar pretty high for the commercial broadcasters who will dominate the next 12 days.

On day one, our illustrious host Mary-Louise Parker and series producer Lois Vossen were on hand to unveil one of our key programs coming in the new season, which starts in October. Over a breakfast of biscuits and gravy, critics previewed Soul Food Junkies, a new film by Independent Lens alum Byron Hurt (Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes). After the screening, Parker joined Hurt and comedian and activist Dick Gregory (who appears in the film) for a discussion panel. Soul Food Junkies premieres on Independent Lens on October 29, 2012.

Check out the trailer here:

“Soul Food Junkies” 2012 Trailer from Byron Hurt on Vimeo.

Chermayoff, Ryan, Kristof, Lane, Basu, Ferrera, and WuDunn. Photo by Rahoul Ghose/PBS.

The joint was buzzing for day two, when PBS and Independent Lens hosted a preview and panel discussion for our Half the Sky series, a two-part Women and Girls Lead event on PBS on October 1-2, 2012. We really brought the star power with a panel including Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, flanked by Meg Ryan, Diane Lane, and America Ferrera, along with executive producer and director Maro Chermayeff, with participant Urmi Basu.

The extended trailer:

Stay tuned for news about the first half of the season, with trailers for all of our new shows.