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George Takei in his iconic role as Hikaru Sulu in the original STAR TREK series.
Courtesy of PIONEERS OF TELEVISION archives
George Takei in his iconic role as Hikaru Sulu in the original STAR TREK series.

Airs Friday, July 25, 2014 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

More than 200 breakthrough stars bring their stories to life in season four of this Emmy-nominated documentary series. Each episode melds compelling new interviews with irresistible clips to offer a fresh take on TV’s biggest celebrities. Featured stars in this season’s four new episodes: “Standup to Sitcom” (July 11) “Doctors and Nurses” (July 18) “Breaking Barriers” (July 25) and “Acting Funny” (August 1), include Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Roseanne Barr, Bill Cosby, Tim Allen, Ray Romano, Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Diahann Carroll, Howie Mandel, Bob Newhart and many more.

"Breaking Barriers" - This episode traces the story of people of color on American television — including the mid-1960s breakthroughs of African Americans Diahann Carroll (JULIA) and Bill Cosby (I SPY). Latino landmarks range from I LOVE LUCY with Desi Arnaz to MIAMI VICE with Edward James Olmos. Also featured are Asian-Americans like George Takei (STAR TREK), who details his youth spent in a Japanese internment camp.

“We are thrilled to bring another season of PIONEERS OF TELEVISION to PBS,” said executive producer Steve Boettcher, who, along with producing partner Mike Trinklein, has helmed numerous specials and series on television’s breakthrough performers. “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.”


“The fourth season of PIONEERS OF TELEVISION continues the series’ winning formula of bringing television’s most well-known stars and their lesser-known stories to PBS,” says Donald Thoms, PBS Vice President of General Audience Programming. “The show does a masterful job of serving us the history of the medium while telling us the backstage tales of America’s favorite shows.”