Tavis Smiley Takes the Show On The Road To China


Contact: Leshelle Sargent, WNET

323-953-5758, or SargentL@wnet.org

TAVIS SMILEY TAKES THE SHOW ON THE ROAD TO CHINA The week-long special series on location from China airs nationwide beginning Monday, July 11

LOS ANGELES, (July 7, 2011) – Tavis Smiley takes his award-winning PBS program Tavis Smiley to the People’s Republic of China for five nights next week, July 11 – 15, 2o11. Taped in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai over a 2-week period, the series examines the growing superpower’s economic and technology boom, its new breed of entrepreneurs, the country’s environmental, social and educational challenges including the complexity of U.S. — China relations.

Tavis Smiley is a co-production of THIRTEEN and The Smiley Group, Inc. in association with WNET New York Public Media. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentaries and other programs to the New York community.

“When I first visited China last year, I knew that I needed to come back with my television crew,” said Smiley. “I wanted Americans to see how much their own values are in common with the people of China. They too are looking for a life as good as its promise.”

The week of programming is broken up each night as the following:

Monday, July 11th – Smiley begins “China Week” with a look at the economic boom in China and how innovation and technology are driving the economy. Smiley interviews the leading pollster in China Victor Yuan and Kai-Fu Lee, one of the “godfathers” of Chinese technology.

Tuesday, July 12th – On night two, Smiley examines some of the challenges facing modern China — their rampant pollution, what is being done to combat this and also takes an inside look at the lives of poor migrant workers and their families.

Wednesday, July 13th – For the third night, Smiley with a special appearance by Princeton professor Cornel West, talks with Andrew Ballen, an African American expatriate who is bringing Hip-hop music and American culture to China. Ballen has a unique perspective on Chinese culture and the role “race” plays in this once isolated country.

Thursday, July 14th – During the final program on the road, Smiley visits 101 Middle School in Beijing, one of the most academically challenging schools in the world, where the best and the brightest students engage with the co-hosts of public radio’s “Smiley & West” in a frank conversation about how the next generation of leaders views China and the United States.

Friday, July 15th – In the final night of the week-long China series, Smiley sits down with four prominent Chinese-Americans for a wide-ranging discussion about China to conclude the week-long focus on the world’s most populous nation. Guests on the panel include: Dominic Ng, chairman of Committee of 100 and chairman and CEO of East West Bancorp Inc.; Sybase chairman and CEO and former chairman of Committee of 100 John Chen; Cindy Fan, author and associate dean of Social Sciences at University of California at Los Angeles; and Janet Yang, film producer and former culture liaison to China for Steven Spielberg.

The conversation airs all next week beginning July 11 on Tavis Smiley. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/tavis.


About TAVIS SMILEY on PBS TAVIS SMILEY is a unique hybrid of news, issues and entertainment, featuring interviews with politicians, entertainers, athletes, authors and other newsmakers. In 2009, Tavis Smiley was named to TIME’s list of 100 “Most Influential People in the World.”

TAVIS SMILEY is produced by The Smiley Group, Inc. / TS Media, Inc. in association with WNET/ New York. Major funding is provided by Wal-Mart and Nationwide Insurance. Additional support comes from PBS. The 30-minute program airs weeknights on PBS. To get local listings and to watch past episodes, please visit www.pbs.org/tavis.

About WNET New York Public Media – WNET is America’s flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces such acclaimed PBS series as Great Performances, American Masters, Nature, Need to Know, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Noah Comprende and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through SundayArts, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.


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