By: Judy Shields
Photos: THT (Steve Viero)
Los Angeles, Calif. (The Hollywood Times) 10/8/2018 “We have The Migrant Kitchen, Lost LA, SoCal Connected, Tending Nature and City Rising. They really explore what we have been trying to do here. Good storytelling that addresses issues in an honest and beautiful way and we are very excited to present all of them.” Chief Creative Officer, Juan Devis KCETLink Media Group told The Hollywood Times.
KCET public television hosted a special Network “Upfront” event called FIND YOUR ORIGINAL celebrating launches of new seasons of KCET’s flagship Original Series SOCAL CONNECTED, LOST LA, THE MIGRANT KITCHEN, TENDING NATURE and CITY RISING last week.
What an amazing event it was. Delicious food and talented directors, producers, show host and celebrities. Boy can KCET throw a screening party. Make sure you catch the new season of SoCal Connected and Lost LA tonight on KCET at 8:00 p.m. They are two fantastic and informative public television shows. MUST SEE!!
There was a red carpet and a reception
highlighting local chefs/vendors that include Yokose Seafood, Factor’s Famous Deli, Wexler’s Deli, Compass Group, Yuca’s, BLVD Kitchen,
food vendor Caridad Vasquez and World Sake.
Red Carpet Attendees: Chef Roy Choi (Kogi, A Frame), Sharon Lawrence (Shameless, Queen Sugar, NYPD Blue), LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, Actor/Filmmaker Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time), Actress Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood), Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins (El Jardin, TOP CHEF), Producer Peter Jones (Inventing LA),
Actor Maurice Benard (General Hospital), Actress Brigid Branagh (Runaways, Army Wives), Author DJ Waldie (Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir), Actress Kat Kramer (Meet the Fockers), Comedian
Ralph Harris(KCET’s SoCal Connected)
Host of KCET’s Globe Trekker Brianna Barnes, Former Anchor of KCET’s SoCal Connected Val Zavala, Host of Lost LA Nathan Masters,
Host of SoCal Wanderer Rosey Alvero, KCET’s CCO Juan Devis, Board Chairman Dick Cook (Dick Cook Studios) and CEO Andy Russell (Public Media Group of Southern California).
Michael Riley, General Manager of Ellen Digital Ventures and Ariel Carpenter, VP Communications was spotted on the red carpet as well.
The formal program was introduced by KCET’s Board Chair Dick Cook and hosted by Chief Creative Officer Juan Devis. Cast and crew from each of the series were in attendance as well as special guests who are being interviewed in the upcoming episodes of the following shows:
Emmy® award-winning weekly half-hour news documentary series SOCAL CONNECTED debuts long-form episodes focused on a single topic, allowing for a deeper exploration of critical issues. New season kicks off with a look at the tumultuous LA media landscape on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. on KCET
LOST LA, a co-production with the University of Southern California Libraries and sponsored by Union Bank, uncovers the dreams that built modern-day Los Angeles through documents, photos and other rare artifacts. The new season unlocks the untold history behind the fantasy of California, from the sunny youthfulness of its beaches to the iconic scenery of Yosemite and premieres Tues., Oct. 9 at 8:30 p.m. on KCET
The Hollywood Times spoke with LOST LA Host Nathan Masters:
THT: What’s new with Lost LA?
Nathan Masters: Our new season of Lost LA is premiering next Tuesday, actually at 8:30 PM. Our show explores Southern California history through the archives. The archives offer a unique window into the past of Southern California. We have a single photo or singe artifact that takes us on this hidden world of history and we that is what we do on our show.
THT: Where do the stories come from?
Nathan Masters: We have an amazing team of producers. The show is co-produced by the USC libraries, so we have this special access to these rare historical material through the libraries. I work at the library which is my day job.
THT: How did you get involved in the archives and USC?
Nathan Masters: Well I am a writer, so they hired me as a writer and I wrote a series blog post for KCET website for the library, using library materials and it became very popular and Juan Devis, the COO for KCET came to me about making a show about the archives and we did.
THT: Tells us a little about the new upcoming season of Lost LA
Nathan Masters: We are all over the states this season from Disneyland to Yosemite. We have a new format, little bit more like a travel log, I’m on the screen a lot more and taking the viewer on a journey of discovery from the archives out on the field. For instance, our first episode, we start at the library at USC and I find some postcards and we want to go learn more about the postcards of Yosemite, so we go to Yosemite and meet people who bring it alive.
Emmy®-winning food series THE MIGRANT KITCHEN is produced in partnership with acclaimed culinary publication Life & Thyme. THE MIGRANT KITCHEN explores California’s booming food scene through the eyes of a new generation of chefs whose cuisine is inspired by the immigrant experience. Premieres Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET
TENDING NATURE shines a light on the environmental knowledge of indigenous peoples across California by exploring how Native peoples have actively shaped the land for millennia, in the process developing a deep understanding of plant and animal life. In partnership with The Autry Museum of the American West, the series premieres Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. PT on KCET
Last year, CITY RISING explored the history of discriminatory practices and gentrification throughout the state. This year we’re taking a look at California’s informal economies. In partnership with The California Endowment, the multi-platform documentary series will premiere on Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. PT on KCET
The Hollywood Times spoke with Gloria Flex, executive chef for Compass Group.
“Worldwide and the number one food company in the world. We have about 49 sectors that we occupy. We do Wolfgang Puck, Bon Appétit, CulinArt and I am here tonight with Monte Cedro, and we are Senior Living communities. We do food for independent living, when you retire, we do the food and we provide the dining services with high-end food. We do food to orders and I prepare menus. We provide state of the art food for senior living. It’s an industry that I believe folks are afraid to tap into. I started it about six years ago and I never knew that existed until now and I have such a passion for cooking for seniors and we all have parents and want them to have the best food available to them. You can do whatever you want to do, you can work for the best chefs ever, but what really matters is to make an impact in what you do and what you love to do and that is what I am doing.”
SoCal Connected Schedule:
“The News Blues” Tues., Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. (PREMIERE)
Local newsrooms in Southern California are shrinking at an alarming pace. The L.A. Times may have found its savior in Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, but other newsrooms in L.A. are looking to be rescued.
“Out of Bounds” Tues., Oct. 16 at 8 p.m.
One of the nation’s top high school athletes was on a path to the NFL but instead became the poster child for what’s wrong with L.A.’s mental health system. SOCAL CONNECTED documents the life and times of Dorsey High’s Antonio Carrion.
The Hollywood Times spoke with Antonio Carrion’s Mother Stephanie:
Stephanie said that her son was playing football at Dorsey High School and was going to have a career in the NFL. She said that she lost her daughter two days before the daughter’s 15th birthday and that she passed away in Antonio’s arms. She did not know that he carried the gene schizophrenia from his Dad’s side of the family. That her daughter’s death triggered his schizophrenia. Since then football went out the window, everything went out the window and he was even homeless for a while. She had no idea where he was. She said he is currently in a mental health pilot program due to him acting out and being crazy on the streets. He is now facing criminal time in jail for having a mental illness and not knowing what he was doing and them not knowing how to act with people that have mental illness.
“Divide and Conquer” Tues., Oct. 23 at 8 p.m.
Gerrymandering is one of the most effective tools to manipulate an election and guarantee a win. SOCAL CONNECTED profiles how some local governments have used political borders to dilute minorities’ power and what is being done about it.
“Blood Money” Tues., Oct. 30 at 8 p.m.
A look at the profiteering behind two of America’s fastest growing diseases affecting millions of Californians.
“People v. Kiera Newsome” Tues., Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.
A local woman strives to prove her innocence behind bars. A team of local pro-bono lawyers and law students fight the odds to get her out.
“The New Normal” Tues., Dec. 18 at 8 p.m.
California’s wildfires are more severe and deadlier than ever before. Debates are raging as to what to do, who will pay for billions of dollars in damage and what can be done to lessen the destruction as California adjusts to its new normal: year round fire.
SOCAL CONNECTED is executive produced by Karen Foshay (second from right). The season’s production team also includes Vince Beiser, Robert McDonnell, Katie Cooper, Gina Pollack, Stuart Sender, Tori Edgar, David Egen, Michael Ray, and Peggy Holter, among others.
To view this season’s episodes and additional online reporting visit KCET.org/socalconnected.
Join the conversation on social media using #SoCalConnected
LOST LA episodes will be telecast as follows (subject to change):
Episode One: “Yosemite” – Tues., Oct. 9
Yosemite National Park has seen some drastic changes since its birth as a park and preserve in 1864. From a scenic land maintained by indigenous peoples to its emergence as a tourist attraction, Yosemite Valley has become a postcard for the natural beauty of the state. But Californians have long fought over how to manage the Park that currently is a site of conflict over humanity’s relationship with nature.
Episode Two: “Desert Fantasy” – Tues., Oct. 16
California’s deserts have sparked the imaginations of millions of people around the world including real estate developers that have created desert utopias like Palm Springs and Las Vegas. From the famously alien landscape of Joshua Tree National Park to the wide expanses of seemingly empty land, the desert has been seen as a place of reinvention and a blank slate to create dreams.
Episode Three: “Beach Culture” – Tues., Oct. 23
One of Southern California’s great international exports has been its beach culture. Surfers, bodybuilders, and acrobats taught Californians how to have fun and stay young at the beach.
Episode Four: “Ghost Towns” – Tues., Oct. 30
Three California ghost towns are explored. Bodie was a Mono County gold mining settlement that was preserved in time while Llano Del Rio was a socialist utopian community in the Mojave Desert. Finally, Zzyzx was a former health spa on the way to Las Vegas. Some California dreams succeeded, giving birth to metropolitan regions in the state’s north and south. Other dreams failed, leaving nothing but ruins.
Episode Five: “Venice” – Tues., Nov. 13
Venice Beach boasts a rich, multilayered history. From its origins as a themed seaside resort to its international fame as a countercultural hub, explore Abbot Kinney’s original Venice of America development, the community of Beat poets who called Venice home and how the commercial renaissance has impacted the historically African-American neighborhood of Oakwood.
Episode Six: “Fantasyland” – Tues., Nov. 27
Los Angeles has long been the place where you can simply imagine something— and build it. This tradition can be from any time period, any locale, ordinary or exotic, real or fantasy. For instance, in nearby Anaheim, Walt Disney’s Imagineers created the intricately themed, immersive experience that is Disneyland.
An exclusive sneak preview of “Desert Fantasy” will be presented at the Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, presented by L.A. as Subject and the USC Libraries on Sat., Oct. 20 at USC. For more information, please visit: https://laassubject.org/archives-bazaar.
LOST LA is supported by The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and other generous institutional funders.
For more information about LOST LA and to watch episodes online, visit kcet.org/LostLA.
Join the conversation on social media using #LostLA
The Hollywood Times spoke with Dick Cook, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer – Dick Cook Studios & Chairman of the Board and Interim Chief Executive Officer – KCETLink Media Group. “Last Monday was the merger of PBS SoCal and KCET. It was long in the making and it was pretty glorious day and I believe something great for Southern California and public media.” Dick Cook said.
THT: What can we expect from this new organization?
Dick Cook: “I think you will continue to get the fantastic programming that we have all received from PBS and the upcoming new programing from KCET that is aimed right at Southern California and I think doing the mission of public media to inform, educate and inspire audiences. We are living in the most diverse community in the world and we have so many cultures and thing in So. Cal that make us unique and I think public media needs to reflects that, needs to show it, we need to celebrate it and this give us a great opportunity to do just that.”
THT: Are you from Southern California?
Dick Cook: “I am actually originally from Bakersfield and went to school at the University of Southern California and I’ve been here ever since.”
THT: Do you happen to have a favorite KCET show”
Dick Cook: “My favorite show is The Migrant Kitchen and I love it because this community is filled with some fantastic places to eat and they are so unique and they are different and so fantastic and having a show like The Migrant Kitchen just brings it out and people go out of their communities to taste other communities foods. It is great and Lost LA is another great show that is in conjunction with the USC libraries and so much that is interesting about the history of Los Angeles and again there is nothing quite like it. It is one of our duties at public media to bring that out and showcase that.”
The Hollywood Times spoke with Juan Devis | Chief Creative Officer, KCETLink Media Group
THT: Tell me about the merger with PBS?
Juan Devis: “We finally merged with PBS SoCal after eight years and it’s been a really incredible journey and we very glad to be back and I think PBS SoCal and KCET together are going to be a very strong force to public media in not only Southern California but in the nation.”
About the Merger:
A new local, community-supported public media organization and flagship PBS station was formed with the close of the merger between KCETLink Media Group and PBS SoCal. The new community institution – PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – is led by public media pro Andrew Russell, and governed by a 32-member board of trustees chaired by 38-year Disney veteran Dick Cook.
PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA will tell stories that matter, creating original programs that reflect the diversity of the region and sharing the full schedule of PBS programs that viewers love and trust. Through three content channels – PBS SoCal, KCET and LINK TV – this dynamic library of programs will be available for streaming on any internet-connected screen, on seven Southern California broadcast channels, and on one national satellite channel. The organization will also continue its community engagement, early childhood education and social impact services.
“Our calling – to use the power of public media to support an informed and engaged community – is more important than ever. We can accomplish this more successfully together – and by harnessing the unique combination of talent, energy and technical know-how that makes Los Angeles the world’s storyteller,” said Andrew Russell, President and CEO of PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. “We want to build a center for public media innovation that creates and launches new ideas in content, digital distribution, community engagement and social impact.”
PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA will maintain its locations in Burbank, Costa Mesa and Los Angeles, and the PBS SoCal, KCET and LINK TV channels will continue to build from their current content and programming strategies. All donations will now support the work of the newly merged organization. Additional details will be made available as two organizations are integrated.
About Public Media Group of Southern California
PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA tells stories that matter. We create original programs that reflect the diversity of the region, and share the full schedule of PBS programs that viewers love and trust – delivering a public media service that educates, informs and empowers. Through three content channels – PBS SoCal, KCET and LINK TV – our library of programs is available for streaming on any internet-connected screen, seven Southern California broadcast channels, and one national satellite channel.
A donor-supported community institution, PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA hosts hundreds of in-person cultural events, screenings and community conversations to spark the sharing of diverse ideas and perspectives, and delivers real social impact through an Early Learning service that prepares our most vulnerable children for school, as well as other special public service initiatives. Find us at pbssocal.org, kcet.org and linktv.org.
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. KCET is a part of the KCETLink Media Group. Select original programming from KCET is also available for streaming on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon and Roku platforms. For more information please visit http://www.kcet.org/apps.
PBS SoCal PRESIDENT & CEO ANDREW RUSSELL
Andrew Russell is a nationally recognized public media leader, known for driving innovation in the field.
At the helm of PBS SoCal, Russell has driven rapid growth at the station, doubling its revenues, tripling the station’s membership, and opening new offices in Downtown LA and Century City. He increased PBS SoCal’s content partnerships and distribution, expanded its education and community services, and forged new partnerships with major Southern California education, arts and cultural institutions. In his role, he has led PBS SoCal to make particularly strong commitments to the education of children, arts and culture, diversity, and to the use of new digital platforms to deliver PBS SoCal’s programs to Southern California.
Before joining PBS SoCal in 2013, Russell held executive leadership positions at PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and led many of public media’s hallmark initiatives for nearly 25 years. Russell is credited with leading the creation of PBS’ renowned Ready to Learn service for pre-school children, helping to re-shape PBS’ primetime strategy, and significantly growing PBS revenues as the leader of PBS Ventures.
Russell is also recognized for driving innovation in media. He led the creation of PBS Distribution for digital and home video platforms, launched PBS’ mobile business, and helped to build partnerships with tech and digital giants like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Netflix and Apple. He served in roles at Accenture and PwC, developing strategy for major companies in the media, communications, and high-tech industries.
A California native, Russell holds an MBA from Stanford University, an MPA from Princeton University, and a BA from the University of California, Davis. He serves on the Leadership Council for The Music Center, the Board of the Los Angeles City Club, and is a Member of the CEO Roundtable at UC Irvine.
About Juan Devis | Chief Creative Officer, KCETLink Media Group
As Chief Creative Officer, Juan Devis is responsible for the oversight of all production and editorial output from long-form episodes to short-form digital series. His role in developing strategic partnerships with funders, organizations and independent production houses ensures a new slate of content for both KCET in Southern California and Link TV nationwide. Devis develops creative strategies that define
KCETLink’s editorial and artistic vision. He also spearheads the stations’ arts and culture initiatives and produces the Emmy® award-winning Artbound as well as current series that include Lost LA, The Migrant Kitchen and Tending The Wild among others.
Devis joined the organization 10 years ago as a freelance producer rising within the organization to the title of Senior Vice President, Content, Development and Production prior to becoming KCETLink’s first Chief Creative Officer. With the foresight of expanding programming onto the emerging digital web platform, Devis has spearheaded the independent company’s multi-platform transformation with award-winning content often produced, collaboratively allowing for a greater exchange of ideas in the production of content.
For more than a decade, Devis has worked with a number of non-profit organizations and media arts institutions in Los Angeles serving as producer, director, educator and board member. Devis is currently board member of Arts for All and was recently appointed to serve in the California Arts Council.
He has won numerous awards for his film, TV, and interactive work including Emmys, Webbys, National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards, and more.
About Dick Cook | Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer – Dick Cook Studios & Chairman of the Board and Interim Chief Executive Officer – KCETLink Media Group
Dick Cook is the chairman of the Board of Directors for KCETLink Media Group and serves as the interim CEO while the organization searches for an incumbent. In addition, Mr. Cook is the chairman of the board and CEO of Dick Cook Studios, with over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry. As past chairman of The Walt Disney Studios he oversaw all areas of development, production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated motion pictures from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone and Miramax. Under Mr. Cook’s leadership, Disney achieved numerous milestones and was one of the leading domestic and international distributors for over two decades. Mr. Cook also served as executive producer on the critically acclaimed motion picture “42,” which told the life story of famed baseball player Jackie Robinson. His many honors include the Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge’s George Washington Medal of Freedom; the Motion Picture Showmanship Award by the publicists of the International Cinematographers Guild; “The Walt Disney Man of the Year Award” by Big Brothers Big Sisters; The Children’s Charity of Southern California Lifetime Achievement Award by Variety; and “Pioneer of the Year” by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. Mr. Cook is chairman of the Rose Hills Foundation Board of Directors, and serves on the Foundation Board for Providence Health Services. Mr. Cook recently sat on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, where he served as Academy treasurer. He was also on the Board of Directors for Legendary Pictures. Mr. Cook graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in political science, and he has been a USC trustee and served as president of the USC Alumni Association.