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Emergency Preparedness Game Show ‘WHAT A DISASTER!’ Reimagines Public Safety in Innovative and Fun Format Premiering This Thanksgiving on PBS SoCal

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CONTACT Chelsea Grosbeck
New Family-Friendly Competition Shares Public Safety Facts as Well as
Smart and Creative Safety Solutions for Disaster Scenarios

What A Disaster with Jay Jackson Image

Jay Jackson, host of PBS SoCal’s emergency preparedness game show WHAT A DISASTER! (Photo courtesy of PBS SoCal)


The program will also stream on pbssocal.org/WhatADisaster and on the free PBS Video App. (available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, the App Store and Google Play), as well as on YouTube TV.

Burbank, Calif. – November 10, 2020 – PBS SoCal, Southern California's home for new PBS program premieres, announced today the debut of an entertaining new spin on emergency preparedness with the special WHAT A DISASTER! The fun new game show hosted by Jay Jackson (Parks & Recreation) challenges three Southern California families to test their emergency readiness plans in the event of the next wildfire, earthquake, flood or other disaster. Viewers will follow the contestants’ progress through a series of fast-paced, exciting tasks that include comical twists designed to educate and teach critical, lifesaving guidance. WHAT A DISASTER! premieres in Southern California this Thanksgiving on Thurs., Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal and encores on Sat., Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. on KCET. The competition-themed special seeks to raise awareness on the importance of disaster preparedness as well as equip viewers with an understanding of the “do’s and don’ts” in emergency situations. Produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, each family’s strategies will be judged remotely by two disaster response experts: El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center in San Bernardino’s Lulu Lopez and LISTOS National Program Director Liliana Encinas. The family with the most creative and resourceful solutions will be rewarded with a $1,000 cash prize. The other families with the least number of successes will be receiving a Disaster Preparedness Kit.

Earlier this year, an announcement was made by PBS SoCal to launch a partnership with Listos California, a statewide emergency preparedness campaign anchored in the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to launch an on-air and online campaign with PBS stations across the state focused on preparing Californians for emergencies. The initiative was designed to reach vulnerable populations and encourage them to take free and easy steps to prepare for wildfire and other disasters as they stay home and practice physical distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An emergency guide was made available listing five simple steps as a way to advance public media’s commitment to public safety and to keeping the public well-informed.

PBS has played an essential role in informing the American public for generations and the new program WHAT A DISASTER! will deliver much-needed public safety facts in an innovative way.

Join the conversation on social media using #WhatADisaster

ABOUT PBS SOCAL PBS SoCal is a donor-supported community institution that is a part of Public Media Group of Southern California, the flagship PBS station California formed by the merger of PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media Group. PBS SoCal delivers content and experiences that inspire, inform and entertain – over the air, online, in the community and in the classroom. We offer the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE, Independent Lens, a broad library of documentary films including works from Ken Burns; and educational PBS KIDS programs including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George. Our programs are accessible for free through four broadcast channels, and available for streaming at pbssocal.org, on the free PBS App via streaming devices.




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