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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Larry, Darryl and Darryl, come in for a visit on "Newhart" with Bob Newhart.

Milwaukee-based show features "Pioneers of Television"


As television programs have changed through the decades, I'm not sure if the public had more influence on the shows, or if the characters and plot of the show had more influence on us.

What I do know, is that a number of shows were groundbreaking, and that emergence is celebrated in the PBS series "Pioneers of Television," which starts its fourth season on Tuesday.

The four episodes, narrated by Benjamin Bratt, starts with "Standup to Sitcom" on Tuesday; "Doctors and Nurses" on Tuesday, April 22; "Breaking Barriers" on Tuesday, April 29; and "Acting Funny" on Tuesday, May 6.

"From stars that had Americans howling with laughter in front of their television screens, to the ones who broke barriers — and maybe even some who saved lives — this season's line-up features legends who paved the way for contemporary television," series producer Steve Boettcher said in a release.

"We are thrilled to bring another season of 'Pioneers of Television' to PBS."

Besides the great content this show features, there's also a strong connection to Milwaukee. Boettcher, Mike Trinklein and the crew with Boettcher+Trinklein Television of Milwaukee travel the country to meet the stars and go through archives. All of the writing and editing of the series is done in Wisconsin.

I had the chance to speak with Boettcher late last week and screened the "Standup to Sitcom" episode. The thing that really sticks out with the "Pioneers of Television" is the caliber of stars that are interviewed.

"We are so happy with the stars we got this season," Boettcher said. In the first episode, guest interviews include Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Ray Ramano, Roseanne Barr and Bob Newhart. "The cast we have is truly spectacular – a legendary cast of people."

I pointed out to Boettcher how much I enjoy seeing the little nuggets that are uncovered in the storytelling, ones that can draw in a viewer to become a regular watcher of the series.

"We do enjoy finding those too," he said. "We do a lot of research to find the perfect clip to fit the story, like, hearing how Jerry (Seinfeld) said his show was about two idiots trying to figure out something. Then, we would look for the best example"

In "Doctors and Nurses" Boettcher wanted to take viewers on a journey, "from George Clooney on 'ER' to Richard Chamberlain on 'Dr. Kildare."

"In one season, Clooney was working on "ER" and doing Batman ("Batman and Robin") at night. He had little time to memorize everything he had to say in the script in "ER" … especially with all of the medical terms and jargon," Boettcher said.

"So, when Clooney had to speak to a patient in the bed, he would take a marker and write on the bed sheets. On that show, they were moving really fast, and didn't always change the sheets. If you look closely in other scenes you can sometimes see the writing on the beds in the backgrounds," Boettcher said.

MARATHON BOMBING: This week, Fox News will mark the terror strike on the Boston Marathon and its spectators and participants, with a number of specials.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the 2013 marathon tragedy, the special will feature breaking news coverage to retell the events of that day and the weeklong manhunt, shootout and capture that followed.

On Tuesday, "America's Newsroom's" with Martha MacCallum will present an in-depth investigative package featuring interviews with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and a former head of the CIA regarding the Tsarneav brothers and how they slipped through the system. The special is still scheduled to start around 8 a.m.

On Monday, April 21, Fox News' Bill Hemmer will anchor both "America's Newsroom" at 8 p.m. and America's News Headquarters at noon.

SOCCER: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel announced it will be airing the Dallas Cup. The championship game is set for Sunday at 6 p.m.


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