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KCET-TV announces five new shows

November 8, 2011 |  6:45 pm

There are new shows in the pipeline at KCET-TV Channel 28.

The nation’s No. 1 independent public TV station on Tuesday rolled out a new lineup of five California-themed series slated for next fall, the first wave of an ambitious $50-million partnership announced in August with Encino-based visual-effects provider Eyetronics Media & Studios. KCET-TV left the PBS network this year after a falling out over dues and other issues.

The most fleshed-out is "Ocean Alive," which will, according to a news release, combine "the beauty of Southern California and the glamour of Hollywood with the powerful message of conservation." Jean-Michel Cousteau –- whose "Ocean Adventures" ran as a PBS documentary -– will serve as host, according to the station.

Marine photography can be notoriously difficult and expensive to produce, but KCET programming chief Mare Mazur said that at least initially, the series will make extensive use of Cousteau’s camp on Catalina Island. "Phase 1 is not going to be entirely underwater, so to speak," she said.

"Department of State" will be a weekly global affairs talk show designed to supplement KCET's existing news programs from BBC and Japan’s NHK. Executives have not yet picked a host.

Pioneers in technology and entertainment will get a closer look in "California Game Changers," a half-hour weekly show.

Meanwhile, KCET plans to leverage Eyetronics' vast library of documentaries, newsreels and memorabilia with the film series "Classic Cool Theatre" and "Retrostory," a nostalgic biweekly documentary that looks at old fads and trends.

Al Jerome, KCET's president and chief executive, confirmed that the station has met with delays in getting the programming underway and won't meet its initial goal of a late-fall start on production.

"We will start production after the first of the year on these shows," he said in an interview Tuesday morning. "So we’re pushed back a little bit."

What do you think of the new shows?


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Photo: KCET President Al Jerome has announced five new original shows. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times