January 2017

The new year on NPT begins with the premiere of Victoria on Masterpiece (8 p.m. Sundays, January 15 through March 5), a lavish series set at the start of Queen Victoria’s long reign, and new seasons of Sherlock (Sundays, January 1 through 15) and Civil War drama Mercy Street (7 p.m. Sundays, January 22 through March 5). For the latter, Tennessee State Museum curator Rob DeHart will again write a weekly guest blog post at wnpt.org relating each week’s episode to an object from the museum’s collection.


Nashville author and bookstore entrepreneur Ann Patchett’s best-selling novel Bel Canto was inspired by a December 1996 hostage situation at the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru. The Lyric Opera of Chicago commissioned an adaptation of the book on the advice of soprano and Great Performances host Renée Fleming and held the world premiere in December 2015. Bel Canto the Opera premieres Friday, January 13, at 8 p.m. on NPT. The performance features soprano Danielle de Niese as American opera singer Roxanne Coss who was making a special appearance at the international diplomatic gathering at the invitation of a Japanese industrialist, portrayed by bass-baritone Jeongcheol Cha.

On Thursday, January 19, at 8 p.m., NPT will premiere Travis Tritt: A Man and His Guitar, an unplugged solo concert recorded live at the Franklin Theatre in November of last year. Be sure to watch for a special in- studio guest as we record the national PBS pledge special for the new program.

Alicia Keys in a Great Performances Landmarks Live in Concert; Courtesy of Great Performances

Our music programming continues with Great Performances’ Landmarks Live in Concert series Fridays at 8 p.m. The show is hosted by Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and features Alicia Keys (January 20) and Brad Paisley (January 27) performing in places that hold special meaning for them. Keys sings at the Apollo Theatre and other New York sites, while Paisley returns to the Appalachian Mountains for an outdoor concert at West Virginia University.


The rights of museums regarding artifacts removed from various cultures has been a hot topic in recent years and is part of the theme of What Was Ours, airing Monday, January 16, at 9 p.m. on Independent Lens. The documentary chronicles the visit of three Native Americans to Chicago’s Field Museum archives where numerous ancestral objects are held. The trio consists of Shoshone elder and Vietnam veteran Starr Weed, and a teenage powwow princess and a young journalist who are members of the Arapaho tribe.

Dramas about the British monarchy seem to be all the rage this television season and there is certainly a lot of material to mine. Spirited historian Lucy Worsley (Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber, Tales from the Royal Wardrobe) explores the particularly rich marital life of Henry VIII in Secrets of the Six Wives. Airing Sundays, January 22 through February 5 at 9 p.m., the three-part series seeks to uncover the real stories of the wives of the Tudor king.

Make a New Year’s resolution to support NPT! Simply go to www.wnpt.org and click the donate button. Remember, encore presentations of many of our shows and program theme nights are broadcast on NPT2, our secondary channel.

Jeongcheol Cha and Danielle De Niese in Bel Canto from Chicago Lyric Opera; © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Northern Arapaho regalia hand-beaded in the traditional style, from Independent Lens: What Was Ours – Courtesy of Alpheus Media



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