New Four-Part Documentary Miniseries From Acclaimed Filmmaker Peter Jones
And Narrated by Tony Goldwyn
Showcases a Century of Aerospace in Southern California
Part of the PBS ‘Summer of Space’
Burbank, Calif. – June 13, 2019 – KCET, Southern California’s home for award-winning original public media programming, announced today the premiere of the new original miniseries BLUE SKY METROPOLIS, a historical documentary produced in partnership with the Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jones (Johnny Carson: King of Late Night and the Peabody Award®-winning Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times) as part of the PBS “Summer of Space” to commemorate the semicentennial moon landing anniversary. BLUE SKY METROPOLIS is a 21st century story that looks at the past, present and future of aerospace in Southern California from multiple perspectives including science, culture, politics, race, business, labor, environment and gender. The miniseries will consist of four one-hour episodes and is narrated by Tony Goldwyn (Scandal, The Last Samurai, Ghost). BLUE SKY METROPOLIS premieres Sun., July 14 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET. All four episodes will air back-to-back on Thurs., Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal before becoming available to PBS stations across the country throughout the month of August.
Following the broadcast, each episode will stream on the free KCET app (available on Roku and Apple TV) , the PBS Video app (available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, the App Store and Google Play), as well as on YouTube, kcet.org/bluesky and pbssocal.org/bluesky
BLUE SKY METROPOLIS is the untold story of how aerospace was central to the growth of California and its emergence as an economic power. The documentary miniseries focuses on the people behind the aerospace movement and will feature many of the current major players in the aerospace industry in California, which is the hub of modern day aerospace engineering. The aerospace century will unfold through the lives and words of the men and women who created it: John Northrop, Glenn Martin, Donald Douglas, Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, Walt Disney and Wernher Von Braun.
The Aerospace Century begins in 1910 with the Los Angeles International Air Meet – only the second public showcase of powered flight in the world. The series chronicles the epic mobilization during World War II – when two million workers assembled 300,000 aircraft. It traces the Cold War emergence of the “military-industrial complex” as a nation grappled with the threat of nuclear annihilation. Stories play out via radio recordings, newsreels, industrial films, and oral history excerpts. More than 60 people were interviewed for the series including writers, historians, corporate executives, members of the armed forces, astronauts, scientists, engineers and even the current Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. The series visits iconic locations representing the industry’s past, present and future – from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Griffith Observatory to Virgin Orbit, SpaceX and Relativity, a recent start-up founded by twenty-somethings who build rockets with 3-D printers.
Episodes of BLUE SKY METROPOLIS will be telecast as follows on KCET (subject to change*):
“WINGS: Aviation Takes Flight in Early Los Angeles” – Sun., July 14 at 8 p.m.
Aviation takes flight in early Los Angeles, becoming an industry of dreamers, risk takers and entrepreneurs. The region is America’s “arsenal of democracy” during World War II, as two million workers build 300,000 aircraft. Critics see an unhealthy alliance developing between the federal government and aircraft manufacturers.
“THE BIG CHILL: The Cold War Fuels Business and Anxiety” – Sun., July 21 at 8 p.m.
The Cold War and Pentagon dollars fuels the explosive growth of modern Los Angeles and creates the military-industrial-complex. Entire suburbs are built in record time to house defense industry workers, but covenants restrict non-white races from living there. Fear of nuclear annihilation spawns a new genre for Hollywood as ‘science fiction’ movies become a box office goldmine.
“A SPACE ODYSSEY: Southern California Spearheads Mankind’s Greatest Achievement” – Sun., July 28 at 8 p.m.
The triumphant and tragic Space Race unfolds in first-hand accounts of those who pioneered the technology and built the hardware that made possible mankind’s greatest achievement. Meanwhile, the military-industrial-complex expands unchecked.
“BACK TO THE FUTURE: A New Space Age Dawns in Southern California” – Sun., Aug. 4 at 8 p.m.
The end of the Cold War brings massive layoffs but tech billionaires choose Southern California to launch their space companies. Though committed to the “democratization” of space, SpaceX and Virgin Orbit include the Pentagon as a major customer.
Visit PBSsocal.org and KCET.org for additional digital content exploring aviation and aerospace history here in Southern California, through articles, interactive timelines and maps, photos and video content.
BLUE SKY METROPOLIS is part of the special “SUMMER OF SPACE” programming slate on PBS to honor the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing as well as the latest advances in space exploration, featuring a massive variety of new science and space-themed programming during the month of July. Among the more than 20 hours of new space-themed content are the eagerly anticipated AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Chasing the Moon and NOVA: The Planets five-part mini-series.
Join the conversation on social media using #SummerOfSpace and #BlueSkyMetropolis
ABOUT PETER JONES
Peter Jones has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy® Award five times, winning twice: for his A&E Biography special Judy Garland: Beyond the Rainbow (1997), and for Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006). His Peabody Award-winning Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times (2009) premiered as a national primetime special on PBS, and Johnny Carson: King of Late Night (2012) remains the highest rated film in the 31-year history of the PBS series American Masters. Over the course of a decade, Peter Jones Productions created 85 profiles for A&E Biography, many written and directed by Jones. Peter is a graduate of Stanford (BA, American Studies) and Northwestern (Masters, Medill School of Journalism). He has twice been the recipient of the Producer of the Year Award from The Producers Guild of America.
On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its 54-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org. Select original programming from KCET is also available for streaming on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon and Roku platforms. For more information please visit kcet.org/apps. KCET is a content channel of the Public Media Group of Southern California.