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(l-r) Host Masud Olufani, contributor Andy Borowitz and host Celeste Headlee.
Courtesy of Brandon Ogden for PBS
(l-r) Host Masud Olufani, contributor Andy Borowitz and host Celeste Headlee.

Airs Mondays & Tuesdays, Oct. 7 - 29, 2019 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

RETRO REPORT ON PBS is a new one-hour magazine format series hosted by journalist Celeste Headlee and artist Masud Olufani and featuring New Yorker humorist Andy Borowitz.

Produced by Retro Report, a non-profit organization whose mission is to arm the public with a complete picture of today’s most important stories, the series offers viewers a fresh perspective on current headlines, revealing their unknown — and often surprising — connections to the past.

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, with breaking headlines, all-news networks and online outlets constantly competing for attention, RETRO REPORT On PBS aims to widen the discussion, revealing the story behind the story, providing new insights into how today’s events have been shaped by the past.


Each episode will explore four distinct stories, closing with “Now It All Makes Sense,” a special segment featuring the wit and wisdom of author and comedian Andy Borowitz.

Topics to be explored include:

  • How decades-old research on human behavior shows that social media’s addictive power is by design rather than chance.
  • Why half a million children still have dangerously high lead levels even though it was banned from gasoline and household products decades ago.
  • How the sex education policies of today are informed by failures of programs created during the Clinton era.
  • Why mandatory arbitration agreements enacted on Wall Street 20 years ago have negatively impacted today’s #MeToo movement.

“Today, more information is available than ever before, and it’s coming from countless sources — with varying degrees of credibility,” said Perry Simon, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, PBS. “RETRO REPORT ON PBS takes viewers on a journey into the most important stories of the day, looking at them through the lens of their often surprising historical roots, providing new insights while correcting the record and exposing myths along the way.”

“Public media has always set the bar for objective, balanced news coverage,” said GPB President and CEO Teya Ryan. “As our world becomes more infiltrated with different mediums and an increasing desire to stay informed, RETRO REPORT on PBS explores the deeper context of stories and empowers viewers to discern facts and overarching themes in society.”



Episode 1 airs Monday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + repeats Thursday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - Learn social media’s addictive power. Discover NFL protests’ ties to 1968. See how Wall Street women fought harassment, and a python invasion. Andy Borowitz compares politics ads to cigarettes.

Episode 2 airs Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + repeats Thursday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - Uncover crime evidence pulled from DNA websites. See how drug rules stem from a pill's side effects. Learn how a screen addiction cure is rooted in the past and why Americans are ambivalent about robots. Andy Borowitz objects to "no news."

Episode 3 airs Monday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + repeats Thursday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - Learn why crime witnesses fail to act. Meet a Naval officer who transformed the military. Psychedelic drugs like LSD are back in the lab. Follow the voyage of a trash barge that persuaded us to recycle. Andy Borowitz highlights lunar hoaxes.

Episode 4 airs Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + repeats Thursday, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - Hear how President Trump is taking on the press with a time-tested strategy. Learn the origins of vaccine fears. Discover the story behind free agency, and a law that was meant to rescue wild horses. Andy Borowitz bemoans the no-apology apology.

Episode 5 airs Monday, Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + repeats Thursday, Nov. 14 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - Learn how texting could reduce suicides. See why surrogate parenthood is still being shaped by Baby M. Shine a light on lead, banned but not gone. Climate help may come from the Cold War. Andy Borowitz recalls a flaming river.

Episode 6 airs Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + repeats Thursday, Nov. 21 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - Discover the lessons from a 1970s public housing experiment. Understand the roots of newborn testing. Explore head injuries in pro sports. See why too few people, not too many, is a problem. Andy Borowitz takes on Space Force.

Episode 7 airs Monday, Oct. 28 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + repeats Thursday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 - Understand immigration controversies that echo the past. Learn the truth about a lawsuit over hot coffee. Uncover the origin of special ops. See how risks are measured after Challenger. Andy Borowitz looks at Anita Bryant's unintended influence.

Episode 8 airs Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV (repeats Nov. 2 at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on KPBS 2) - Discover how sex ed programs are informed by past failures. Debunk a myth about crime. Uncover the story behind new AIDS hot spots. Learn the legacy of Napster. Andy Borowitz tackles TV bullying.

Watch On Your Schedule:

Clips and episodes will be available to stream on demand on KPBS Video and the PBS Video App.

Join The Conversation:

Retro Report is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @RetroReport on Twitter. #RetroReportPBS


Presented by Georgia Public Broadcasting and produced by Retro Report. Executive Producers: Bonnie Bertram and Kyra Darnton.