The Sporting Life:
I Love PBS/WNPT Edition

It should be no secret to readers of The Sporting Life that I love television… it is far and away my favorite medium and art form. The month of February is always very special for TV viewers in that many networks run special Black History Month programming. Nobody does it better than PBS nationally, and especially our local affiliate, WNPT. Throughout the month, I have told you in articles here in the PRIDE about PBS national programs A Ballerina’s Tale and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, along with WNPT locally produced Tennessee’s Self-Made Men. This month WNPT is also re-airing many recent and historic Black programs like Eyes on the Prize, The Gift (Sat. 2/27), Rise of the Black Pharaohs, and programs on B.B. King, Fats Domino, Tom Bradley, Whitney Young, the Freedom Riders, Jesse Owens, Vel Phillips (the first African American judge in Wisconsin and the first woman, and African American, in the nation elected to executive office in state government).

Many of these award-winning programs are available free on PBS Video, all on your schedule. All you need is a reliable Internet connection, and you’ll be able to enjoy hundreds of hours of content free! Simply go to wnpt.org and click on “Video” to get started.

PBS Passport
PBS Passport is a new added member benefit from participating PBS stations, including WNPT, that gives eligible donors and supporters extended access to an on-demand library more than 1,000 episodes of quality public television programming online, with new PBS programs being added weekly. In addition to American Experience, American Masters, Antiques Roadshow, Nature, NOVA, and Masterpiece — including all five seasons of Downton Abbey, the library is full of public television’s acclaimed arts, science, history, and lifestyle programs; including How We Got to Now, Earth a New Wild, Austin City Limits, and a rotating selection of films from Ken Burns — currently Jazz and Unforgivable Blackness The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson are available. Passport videos are designated by a blue “compass rose” icon.

Celebrate Downton Abbey
One of my all-time favorite shows, Downton Abbey on Masterpiece, ends this March and NPT is hosting a party and preview screening of the series finale. NPT’s A Finale Affair takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at the Noah Liff Opera Center, 3622 Redmon St., Nashville, Tenn. 37209; the screening starts at 3 p.m. Proceeds benefit Nashville Public Television. Guests are encouraged to dress in period attire or as their favorite Downton Abbey character for this afternoon of period-themed hors d’oeuvres, drinks, live music, photo opportunities with character cutouts, a trunk show organized by Fabu and a silent auction and the screening. See you there!

Downton Abbey is the highest-rated drama in PBS history; Season 5 alone reached 25.5 million viewers. The series has won 11 Emmys (from 59 nominations), three Golden Globes, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Producers Guild Award, and three BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Awards). Get your tickets, $75 each, at: http://www.wnpt.org/a-finale-affair.