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PBS Announces SUMMER OF SPACE Lineup


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“Chasing the Moon” from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Anchors Programming Lineup Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

New Documentary 8 DAYS: THE JOURNEY OF APOLLO 11 (w.t) and Specials from NOVA and ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Will Also Premiere Along with Special Digital Collections that Celebrate the Wonder and Awe of Space Exploration

During its presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, PBS announced a celestial programming spectacle sure to excite any space enthusiast. A SUMMER OF SPACE multiplatform experience, anchored by the highly anticipated AMERICAN EXPERIENCE six-hour film “Chasing the Moon,” and including new science and history programs, will begin in July timed to the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon landing. “Chasing the Moon,” written, produced and directed by Academy Award nominee Robert Stone, premieres Monday-Wednesday, July 8-10, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET. The film tells the story of the space race, from its earliest beginnings to the monumental achievement of the first lunar landing in 1969.

In addition to “Chasing the Moon,” the SUMMER OF SPACE lineup brings five new programs that cover different areas of space exploration combined with the best of PBS’ encore space-themed programming and PBS Digital Studios content. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW kicks off the lineup on July 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET, commemorating the 50th anniversary with the premiere of an all-new “Out of This World” special episode featuring stellar appraisals that include NASA memorabilia, space travel treasures, science fiction finds and more.

Viewers will take a unique journey with the crew of Apollo 11 for their eight-day, three-hour, 18-minute and 35-second mission in 8 DAYS: THE JOURNEY OF APOLLO 11 (w.t), a new documentary from BBC Studios, co-produced with PBS premiering July 17 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Rare mission audio takes viewers inside the spacecraft on its historic journey. The film seamlessly blends this authentic mission audio, featuring candid conversations between Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins with newly shot studio footage, NASA and news archive, and stunning CGI recreation of the journey and landing to tell this amazing story in a riveting new way.

NOVA will present two new specials. On July 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET, join the next generation of engineers who aim to take us “Back to the Moon” as a stepping stone for future human missions to Mars, the Asteroid Belt and beyond. On July 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET, “The Planets” treats viewers to an up-close look at some faraway worlds, including the dark side of Pluto, an ancient Martian waterfall and the storm twice the size of Earth seen from high above Saturn, revealing how each of them has affected our own planet.

In the three-part ANCIENT SKIES, also beginning July 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET, audiences will discover how centuries of knowledge, experimentation and engineering helped our ancestors explore outer space. Expert contributors and indigenous storytellers demystify astronomical myths with scientific explanations.

“Our SUMMER OF SPACE programming lineup invites PBS viewers to visit the farthest reaches of the universe, blending past and present to celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the latest advances in space exploration,” said Perry Simon, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming at PBS. “This exceptional collection of special programs will give viewers a historical understanding of the Apollo 11 moon landing, from its inception to execution with documentaries “Chasing the Moon” and “8 Days: The Journey of Apollo 11” (w.t.), as well as exploring the distant planets and deep mysteries of space that are well beyond human grasp with ANCIENT SKIES and NOVA programs.”

SUMMER OF SPACE programs will stream following each broadcast and be available on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport. SUMMER OF SPACE classroom-ready materials will also be available for educators and students on PBS LearningMedia.

The SUMMER OF SPACE interactive hub will be housed on PBS.org. Throughout the summer, viewers are invited to submit videos, photographs, audio recordings, or text entries about how they experienced the Apollo mission and/or about their interest in space exploration in general.

“Chasing the Moon” will be supported by a multi-platform digital experience, anchored by an immersive web site featuring original short form video, collaborations with leading digital publishers and additional forms of experimental storytelling that will expand upon the characters and stories presented in the documentary. In addition, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will host several high-profile public screening events in the months leading up to the premiere, and will partner with PBS member stations across the nation to create regional space-related content and host their own live preview events, further extending the reach of the film.

As part of the SUMMER OF SPACE, PBS KIDS will roll out new space-themed content beginning in June, including educational resources for families and educators to use all summer long. On June 17, PBS KIDS will premiere READY JET GO!: ONE SMALL STEP, a one-hour special featuring astronomy and scientific exploration. The new movie from READY JET GO! will take young viewers on far-flung adventures, as Jet and his friends journey to the moon, where they learn about Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission. The special will air on PBS stations and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and stream on the free PBS KIDS Video app and pbskids.org.