Sherlock Holmes, Clinton, Gates on PBS

November 16, 2011 - 7:35 PM
TV PBS New Season

In this publicity image released by PBS, Rose Leslie, left, and Siobhan Finneran are shown in a scene from

NEW YORK (AP) — There's good news for fans of Sherlock Holmes and "Downton Abbey": They're both coming back to PBS next year.

A two-part examination of Bill Clinton's presidency, a look at some celebrity family trees by Louis Gates and a series on American infrastructure hosted by a former "Survivor" contestant are all part of PBS' new spring schedule, the public broadcasting service said Wednesday.

An abrupt season ending to "Downton Abbey" with several unanswered questions — including whether the show was even going to return — led to angry phone calls from many fans, said Paula Kerger, PBS president. The first season was only four episodes. The second season, set during World War I, contains seven episodes and starts Jan. 8.

The "Masterplace Mystery!" presentation of "Sherlock, Series 2" is set in 21st century London and will air in three episodes in May, PBS said.

The "American Experience" documentary on Clinton premieres on President's Day and features fresh interviews with many in the administration and some of the president's adversaries. It does not include a new interview with Clinton, Kerger said.

The positive side of profiling such a recent president is that many people within the administration are still alive. The negative side is losing the perspective of history, she said.

"He's an interesting and complex individual and I think the piece captures that," Kerger said.

Harvard professor Gates is host of "Finding Your Roots," a 10-part series that begins March 25. The series will have celebrity juice — Kevin Bacon, Barbara Walters, Tyra Banks and Martha Stewart are among those who have their family roots explored — and Gates tries to tie those family stories to historical trends.

Yul Kwon of "Survivor" will be host of "America Revealed" starting on April 11. He'll try to show how infrastructure is changing traffic and food production, for example.

Cultural programming includes a premiere of Anna Deavere Smith's play "Let Me Down Easy," a music special on Tony Bennett's duets album, and Michael Feinstein's "American Songbook."

"We're going to continue our focus on arts content," Kerger said.