Thinking Inside the Box

New Year, Lots of Terrific New Series on MPTV

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi, Ellis Bromberg, with more Thinking Inside the Box on

January marks the start of the Winter/Spring season on Milwaukee Public Television and I am truly excited by all the new series and season premieres of old favorites coming to Channels 10&36 in the new year.

We'll start off with the program everyone has been talking about and marking on their calendars for months: Sunday nights at 8 on Channel 10 starting January 6, it's DOWNTON ABBEY back for its third season on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC. In the seven new episodes we see social changes, romantic intrigue, and personal crises grip the Crawley's country estate -- and the indomitable Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora's mother (wait until you see the interaction on camera between two of our greatest actresses, Ms. MacLaine and Dame Maggie Smith; it's wonderful!).

One year ago, our breakout local hit, with terrific audience response, was AROUND THE CORNER WITH JOHN McGIVERN, and we're expecting great things from it again this year. Its first play each week is Thursdays at 7 o'clock on Channel 10 with 13 new episodes taped all across Wisconsin -- it's a wider geographical reach than we had the first season -- and they look wonderful! The first few feature Shorewood, Mineral Point, and Kenosha. And like last year, John McGivern and historian sidekick John Gurda will be on hand for free local screenings in virtually every community featured throughout the season. The place to find out more about those local screenings is right here on

We also have high hopes for another new MPTV weekly series launching January 12. It's THE ARTS PAGE with popular radio personality Sandy Maxx. You know, the arts scene in southeastern Wisconsin is as vibrant as ever, and we will give it the attention that no other local TV station does: we'll have background stories about local shows and exhibits; interviews with talented artists, performers, and writers; reports on trends in the arts; and more. Since we know our viewers like to travel across the country, THE ARTS PAGE will also include segments shot by other public television stations in major cities. The series will be seen at 5 o'clock on Saturdays on Channel 10.

Three other long-running local productions are back with new seasons. 4th STREET FORUM, our lively, local weekly town hall meeting on issues of significance to the community, returns Friday night, January 18 at 9 o'clock on Channel 36 with new host Marcus White. (Don't forget you can attend the FORUM tapings in person Thursdays at noon at Historic Turner Hall in Milwaukee.) The granddaddy of all outdoor shows, OUTDOOR WISCONSIN with Dan Small, kicks off its 29th season on January 10 at a new time, Thursday nights at 9 on Channel 10. And WISCONSIN FOODIE, the entertaining series dedicated to discovering the stories behind the food we eat, returns to the schedule, Thursday nights at 7:30 on Channel 10 beginning January 10, right after AROUND THE CORNER WITH JOHN McGIVERN. The first episode of that new season features two iconic Milwaukee spots, the Fondy Food Market and Speed Queen Bar-B-Q.

You know, our good friends at the Milwaukee-based Boettcher Media Group are also bringing a new season of their popular national series, PIONEERS OF TELEVISION, to MPTV in January. Four new episodes, Tuesday nights at 7 o'clock on Channel 10, premiering January 15, focus on: groundbreaking women comediennes; nighttime soap operas; superheroes; and TV's best-known miniseries. Ryan Seacrest narrates PIONEERS OF TELEVISION.

And finally, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE explores the struggles of the men and women who fought to end slavery in a new, important three-part series THE ABOLITIONISTS, Tuesday nights at 8 on Channel 10, beginning January 8.

It's really an extraordinary month of great television on MPTV. So please join us. And from the entire MPTV family -- the best staff in public television, our board, volunteers, and students -- we wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

And I'll be back soon with more Thinking Inside the Box.