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PBS Shines Light on Health with Spring Slate
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 Featuring New Series and Specials Focusing on Well-Being

Additional Programs and Resources Made Available to Keep Americans Informed Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

PASADENA, CA; January 10, 2019 [UPDATED March 18, 2020] PBS today announced a new spring programming line-up that will shine a light on health and the challenges and diseases that sometimes stand in the way. From April through May 2020, PBS will premiere 14.5 hours of new series and specials, showcasing how humans can influence their brains and bodies to achieve a sense of well-being. Programs will examine the science of how the human brain and body work and will seek to educate viewers about health issues that sometimes get stigmatized.

As the television and digital destination for high-quality programming and documentaries, PBS continues its commitment with this inaugural health-based initiative. Viewers will gain context and insight into human physical and mental health through fascinating stories told via investigative research, expert testimony and first-hand accounts.

“This compelling collection of health and wellness-based programming will explore what it takes to care for yourself and your loved ones,” said Perry Simon, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming at PBS. “As a recurring initiative, we hope these specials will create an ongoing discussion amongst our viewers.”

This distinct collection of health-related specials is part of PBS’s recently announced strategy to present thematically connected programing each quarter. Viewers will gain a detailed understanding of health, from studying the fundamental building blocks of life in THE GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY, to addressing devastating crises such as diabetes in BLOOD SUGAR RISING and mental illness in INDEPENDENT LENS “Bedlam.”

To keep Americans informed amid the coronavirus pandemic, PBS will also present a collection of programs with timely and relevant information on the spread of the virus, including CONFRONTING CORONAVIRUS: A PBS NEWSHOUR SPECIAL, which features interviews with officials and a virtual town hall with curated questions from across the nation; and FRONTLINE “Coronavirus Pandemic,” on the government’s response to the outbreak. Additional online resources are available from PBS.orgPBS KIDS and PBS LearningMedia to help adults and children understand the virus and ways to prevent infection. Learn more.

The full schedule is as follows: 

Thursday, March 19, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
This special will focus on health precautions for individuals and the public at large, as well as the pandemic's economic impact in both the United States and globally. Anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff, it will include interviews with officials, reporting from NEWSHOUR's bench of special correspondents throughout the world and a virtual town hall with curated questions from people across America, to be moderated by NEWSHOUR correspondents Amna Nawaz and William Brangham.

Re-Airs Thursday March 19, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
Throughout the last few decades, diseases that spill over from animals to humans have been on the rise. This documentary examines what’s behind their increase and reveals strategies to prevent devastating outbreaks. Join scientists as they investigate the rise of spillover viruses like Zika, Ebola and Nipah, and learn what science can do to anticipate and prevent epidemics around the world.

Monday, April 6, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW examines artifacts and artistry of health and medicine history in Treasure Fever. Appraisals spotlight items related to health and wellness, including surprising historical objects once used for health purposes but not in use today.

Monday, April 6, 2020, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET
Explore why some children are severely damaged by early adversity while others are able to thrive.  Revisit children profiled decades ago to see how early trauma shaped their lives as adults. A presentation of Public Policy Productions in association with WNET's CHASING THE DREAM.

Tuesdays, April 7 & April 14, 2020, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET
Powerful personal stories and stunning breakthroughs reveal the historical search for the human genome and the promise of modern research. Based on Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s best-seller on how genes impact heredity, disease and behavior.

NOVA “The Truth About Fat”
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
Scientists are coming to understand fat as a system akin to an organ—one whose size may have more to do with biological processes than personal choices. Explore the mysteries of fat, and its role in hormone production, hunger, and even pregnancy.

Monday, April 13, 2020, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET
Hear the poignant stories of people grappling with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions. Psychiatrist Kenneth Rosenberg visits ERs, jails and homeless camps to examine the national health crisis of mental illness.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET
A team of dedicated Miami-Dade County public servants work to help people with mental illness navigate from lives of tragedy to possibility. The film reveals a humane criminal justice approach to mental illness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET
Diabetes is an epidemic that affects 100 million Americans, costing over $350 billion annually. Explore the history and science of this hidden crisis and meet some of the faces behind the statistics whose stories bring insights and hope.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The Man Who Tried to Feed the World”
Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
Explore the life of 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, who tried to solve world hunger. He rescued India from a severe famine and led the “Green Revolution,” estimated to have saved one billion lives. But his work later faced criticism.

FRONTLINE “Coronavirus Pandemic”
Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
A special report on the government response to the coronavirus and the human toll. The two-part special investigates the federal response versus Washington State, the outbreak’s U.S. epicenter; and in the Midwest, how the outbreak impacts poor children.

INDEPENDENT LENS “Jim Allison: Breakthrough”
Monday, April 27, 2020, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET
Meet a visionary doctor on a quest to find a cure for cancer. Nobel Prize winner Dr. Jim Allison spent decades waging a lonely but ultimately fruitful quest to discover a way the immune system can stop cancer in its tracks.

Additionally, PBS Digital Studios will launch “Under Your Skin” in April, a 35-40 episode series from Complexly and Tangled Bank Studios that will answer questions about the anatomy, biology, chemistry and physiology that make you... you. The series will act as a user guide to the human body where viewers will be taken on a tour of the body, exploring topics such as growth, development, addiction, sleep and much more.

PBS LearningMedia, a free resource that includes thousands of contextualized learning materials aligned to state and national standards, will offer classrooms a host of educational offerings focusing on human health. Video clips, activities, discussion questions, and lesson plans from THE GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY, BLOOD SUGAR RISING, INDEPENDENT LENS “Bedlam,” and other programs will be available beginning in April. These resources will help science, health, social studies, and English Language Arts educators address important topics related to human health in their classrooms.

PBS programming will be available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members will also be able to view all episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). 


About PBS
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 126 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.


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Brandii M. Toby-Leon, Bullseye Communications

Lisa Dyer, Bullseye Communications

Lara K. Davidson, PBS


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