[12/07/11 - 09:23 AM]
"MLK: The Assassination Tapes" Premieres Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 9PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
The film was "created almost entirely through the use of television and radio news footage from the weeks leading up to Dr. King's visits to Memphis through the aftermath of his murder."

[via press release from Smithsonian Channel]

The Raw, Real-Time Story of an American Tragedy


Story of Last Days of Dr. Martin Luther King Told Through Rare Television and Radio News Accounts, Many Not Seen or Heard Since 1968

New York, NY - December 7, 2011 - The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the defining moments in American history. The new Smithsonian Channel one-hour documentary, MLK: THE ASSASSINATION TAPES, premiering during Black History Month on Sunday, February 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, is a chilling, immersive experience of those historic events, created almost entirely through the use of television and radio news footage from the weeks leading up to Dr. King's visits to Memphis through the aftermath of his murder.

It is a rare accomplishment when a filmmaker can recreate the past from contemporary news reports. It was standard practice for most local stations to re-use their tapes and wipe out history, and very few local television and radio stations in Memphis preserved their footage.

But MLK: THE ASSASSINATION TAPES draws extensively from the unique materials at the Special Collections Division at The University of Memphis. When Memphis's mostly black sanitation workers went on strike on February 11, 1968, several University faculty members, believing this was a seminal moment in the civil rights movement, began collecting every piece of media they could find - television, radio and print. When Dr. King arrived in town to lend his voice to their cause, the team from the University was already gathering material in full-force. The process continued throughout both of Dr. King's visits - and after his killing. Much of the footage has never been seen by the public since it was first gathered in 1968... until now.

Compiling the events from authentic accounts was a difficult and painstaking task. With no narrator and with no interviews - other than those conducted by journalists at the time - producer Tom Jennings ("The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination") weaves a powerful account of the events leading up to Dr. King's murder, the shocking moment itself, and the aftermath. MLK: THE ASSASSINATION TAPES captures the roiling emotions of the Civil Rights era, when long-simmering anger on both sides of the racial divide reached a boiling point.

What led Dr. King to Memphis began when the cities' sanitation workers went on strike to protest their poverty level wages and dangerous working conditions that led to two workers being crushed to death by a garbage compacter. From the start, Memphis city officials refused to negotiate, insisting the workers had no right to go on strike.

In March, Dr. King decided to take time off from planning his "Poverty March on Washington" to travel to Memphis to lend his voice to the sanitation workers. Unfortunately, a second visit turned into a disaster when a march through the city turned violent, with businesses being burned and looted. Dr. King was whisked out of the city over fears for his safety. The march was one of the most humiliating moments in his career. A week later, against the strong advice from his closest aides and confidantes, Dr. King returned, arguing that that if his message of non-violence didn't work in Memphis, it would not work anywhere.

On April 3, at Mason Temple in Memphis, he gave his famous "Mountaintop" speech that cited the threats and foreshadowed his death: "I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know that we, as a people, will get to the promised land." The next day he was shot.

MLK: THE ASSASSINATION TAPES captures the frantic manhunt for MLK's assassin, the riots that erupted across the country, and the desperate pleas for peace from President Lyndon Johnson and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. It includes poignant footage of Coretta Scott King and her children marching in Memphis just days after King's death, in support of the striking workers.

MLK: THE ASSASSINATION TAPES is produced by Tom Jennings of Tom Jennings Productions. Executive producers for Smithsonian Channel are David Royle and Charles Poe.


Smithsonian Networks is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, whose programs are largely inspired by the assets of the world's largest museum complex. Smithsonian Channel features award-winning original documentaries, series, and groundbreaking programs highlighting America's historical, cultural and scientific heritage. Smithsonian Channel brings the American experience home in high definition and Dolby Digital 5.1 and is available to customers of DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision, Verizon, AT&T, and more. Learn more at www.smithsonianchannel.com.

  [december 2011]  

(series past and present)
(series in development)
(tv movies and mini-series)

[10/09/15 - 04:00 PM]
NBC Picks Up the Back Nine Episodes of "Blindspot"
The drama has scored as the fall season's #1-rated new series in adults 18-49.

[10/09/15 - 02:35 PM]
CBS Orders "American Gothic," A New Drama Series from Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and CBS Television Studios, For Broadcast in Summer 2016
Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank of Amblin Television, James Frey of Full Fathom Five and Corinne Brinkerhoff, who is writing the script, will serve as executive producers.

[10/09/15 - 01:27 PM]
"Blindspot" Is Television's #1 Gainer in Total Viewers for a 2nd Straight Week
NBC further spins the numbers for Sunday, October 4 and Monday, October 5.

[10/09/15 - 12:51 PM]
Disney XD Orders Second Season of Animated Series "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy"
"Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy" season two is currently in production and slated to premiere in 2017.

[10/09/15 - 12:36 PM]
Pop on Over to Joy Behar's Place for Some "Late Night Joy" on TLC
The series is produced by True Entertainment and Behar's JoyBee Productions.

[10/09/15 - 12:24 PM]
Academy Award Nominee Bradley Cooper Returns as Sen. Edward Morra, On "Limitless," Tuesday, Oct. 27
The news was announced today by executive producer Craig Sweeny at the series' New York Comic Con panel at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

[10/09/15 - 10:55 AM]
CBS News Continues to Grow in Audiences and Key Demographics
CBS News spins the numbers for the week of September 28-October 4.

[10/09/15 - 10:41 AM]
ABC to Bump "Beyond the Tank" Indefinitely; "Shark Tank" Repeat Set for Tuesday, October 13
The Alphabet will encore the season premiere of the parent series this Tuesday at 10:00/9:00c.

[10/09/15 - 10:18 AM]
Esquire Network Orders New High-Octane Competition Series "Team Ninja Warrior"
For the first time in ninja history, the mother of all obstacle courses is now built for two.

[10/09/15 - 10:18 AM]
With L+3 Added, CBS Has Four of the Week's Top Five and Seven of the Top 10 Scripted Broadcasts
CBS further spins the numbers for the week of September 28-October 4.

[10/09/15 - 09:57 AM]
"Fear the Walking Dead" Delivers the Highest-Rated First Season of Any Series in Cable History Among Total Viewers and All Key Demos
AMC spins the numbers for the season to date.

[10/09/15 - 09:36 AM]
Live + 3 Day Ratings: ABC's "Quantico" Is the Season's First New Scripted Show to Grow Over Its Debut in Adults 18-49
ABC further spins the numbers for Sunday, October 4.

[10/09/15 - 09:20 AM]
ABC Family Announces January 2016 Premiere Date for Its Returning Hit Series "Pretty Little Liars"
In advance of the celebrated return of the fan favorite, the network will also air "Pretty Little Liars: 5 Years Forward," a one-hour behind-the-scenes glimpse at the highly anticipated series time jump on Tuesday, November 24.

[10/09/15 - 09:06 AM]
Disney's "The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar" Primetime Television Movie Event to Air on Disney Channel
"The Lion Guard" television series will premiere in early 2016.

[10/09/15 - 08:51 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: NFL Extends CBS Win Streak on Thursdays
The Eye leads the night for the fourth consecutive week.