Press release from Smithsonian Channel, Nov. 19, 2018:
AMERICA IN COLOR: ORGANIZED CRIME (new episode) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
Between 1919 and 1963, America’s criminals build a vast empire, finding money-making opportunities everywhere. Starting with fixing a baseball World Series and cutting their teeth by supplying bootleg liquor during Prohibition, a group of powerful figures shapes crime into an organized business that exploits political corruption and reaches across America.
THE LOST TAPES: DC SNIPER (new episode) – 9 p.m. ET/PT
In October 2002, the D.C. area, still reeling from the September 11th attacks a year prior, was once again rocked by the face of terrorism – this time by a string of sudden and mysterious shootings that left the region on edge and civilians in fear for their lives. In the first 24 hours of the attack five people are dead – some murdered in parking lots, others pumping gas outside of their cars. Hysteria quickly grabs Washington by the throat, and in the days that follow, unrelenting news coverage of the events will leave D.C., Maryland and Virginia paralyzed. After a 23-day manhunt spanning the entire country, the gunmen are finally apprehended. In total, 10 people are killed, and the nation is left grappling with a different kind of terrorism, equally as senseless as ones seen before. THE LOST TAPES: DC SNIPER uses rare audio from the snipers themselves as well as never-before-broadcast 911 calls, police dash-camera footage, crime scene video and the FBI’s reconstruction footage of the snipers’ rigged car to relive the month of fear.
CHINA FROM ABOVE: MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS (finale) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
From stunning heights, witness the mountains, rivers, and people that make up China’s great interior. Visit celebrations at the center of the Buddhist world and on the edges of river cities, soar over the world’s most famous peak 29,000 feet in the air, and dive into an ancient city submerged under a lake. China’s heartland is a place where urban and rural communities embrace the challenges of a changing 21st century world.
AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI: THE HEADWATERS (series premiere) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
The premiere episode of this new, three-episode series begins the journey of the Mississippi River at its source: Lake Itasca. Stunning aerials track the river as it weaves through the pristine wilderness of Minnesota, gathering momentum as numerous tributaries add to its flow. A family of beavers prepares for winter as 60 percent of all North American birds funnel through the Mississippi flyway in search of warmer climes. Gray wolves scavenge on the season’s victims. When spring’s thaw finally arrives, hundreds of bald eagles descend as the river releases a feast of gizzard shad no longer locked in ice. Swollen with meltwater, the river passes its first major city, Minneapolis.
AMERICA IN COLOR: PLAYTIME (new episode) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
In the early 20th century, new leisure and recreation opportunities transform American lives. Now with disposable incomes for the first time, society fills its free time with wholesome entertainment and sports, breaking down class barriers for this new generation. Through the depression, war and the resulting boom, play defines who Americans are as leisure becomes the cornerstone of the national identity.
THE LOST TAPES: TORNADO SUPER OUTBREAK (season finale) – 9 p.m. ET/PT
On the afternoon of April 3, 1974, once-in-a-lifetime tornado conditions formed over the “Tornado Alley” of the American Midwest. When a massive twister flattened Xenia, Ohio with a category F5 tornado, news outlets rushed to cover the devastation in the small farming town of 27,000. What many did not realize, however, is that dozens of other tornadoes were sprouting up from Illinois to Alabama, and nearly every state in between. By the early morning hours of April 4, the final twisters of the frenzied outbreak have cleared and reporters descended upon the devastated areas to report on the damage. In total, 148 tornadoes were recorded over an 18-hour period, causing more than $600 million in damage, the loss of 315 lives and over 5,000 more injured. THE LOST TAPES: TORNADO SUPER OUTBREAK utilizes rare radio and television broadcasts recorded along the tornado outbreak’s path – including accounts in Tanner, Alabama taken before and after a F5 tornado destroys the town, live reporting from WCKY in Cincinnati as twisters move through the city and radio air checks from WHAS in Louisville, to capture the tumultuous day. The episode also features newly transferred 8mm film of an F5 in Ohio as well as new scans of remarkable photo archives and sequences of the storms in action.
AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI: THE HEARTLAND (new episode) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
The central stretch of the Mississippi River pulses through America’s heartland and cuts into the hilly plateau of the Driftless Area – a region that escaped being flattened by Ice Age glaciers. It becomes a river of uninhabited islands harboring coyotes and hungry otters, overlooked by small towns nestled among the steep banks. Male wild turkeys fluff up their feathers and battle for mating rights. As the forests thin, red-tailed hawks hunt in the clearings, wood duck fledglings take a 30-foot leap of faith from their tree holes and bobcats hunt to feed their kittens. Near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, spring’s snowmelt and rain combine to break the river’s banks and force wildlife to flee.
AMERICA IN COLOR: AMERICAN ROYALTY (new episode) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
The 20th century sees America evolve into a major player on the world stage. As the country’s star rises, a handful of wealthy, powerful and interconnected families dominate the nation. These epic dynasties – from the Rockefellers to the Vanderbilts – capture the imagination, adoration and even revulsion of the American people. AMERICAN ROYALTY tells the story of these legacies which embody the American dream.
AMERICA’S MISSISSIPPI: THE BAYOU (season finale) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
Cruising through Cajun country and into the delta, a family of foxes narrowly escapes as the mighty Mississippi combines with the Ohio, creating the greatest flow of water in the United States—two million gallons of water pass by every second. Winding through a maze of bayous to the ocean, the water creates a constantly shifting landscape. South of the Civil War battleground of Vicksburg, the bayous hum with the mating song of millions of American toads and are home to America’s only marsupial, the opossum. Further south, the river spills into swamps, ponds and canals, irrigating crawfish farms that feed not only the hungry appetites of Americans but also a gathering crowd of wood storks, egrets and spoonbills. This is gator country and by late August, eggs that have incubated through summer’s inferno are ready to hatch. The Mississippi floats past the historic city of New Orleans, completing its journey as it empties its load into the gulf, where pesticides, minerals and nutrients combine to create a deoxygenated “Dead Zone,” but even here the river nurtures wildlife: thousands of moon jellyfish bloom and thrive.
AMERICA IN COLOR: HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE (season finale) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
From humble beginnings, Hollywood becomes one of the world’s leading multi-billion dollar industries, cornering the market on glitz, glamour and fame. Powerful studio moguls control the business while stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford become global icons. As Hollywood’s power and influence grows, so do its critics, accusing the industry of being immoral and subversive. Television eventually arrives to challenge its monopoly, but Hollywood is resilient, adapting and evolving to remain America’s Dream Factory.
MARILYN MONROE FOR SALE (new film) — 9 p.m. ET/PT
Smithsonian Channel is set to revisit the life of one of the silver screen’s most iconic legends by way of her most personal possessions, including some of her most recognizable costumes, letters and clothes. At Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles, a show-stopping auction of Marilyn Monroe belongings sees more than 1,000 lots sold for over 11 million dollars. This one-hour special charts her life while following highlights of the auction that included the infamous dress she wore while serenading President Kennedy. Featuring interviews with biographers, historians and even costume designer Bob Mackie, who worked alongside her, the documentary presents the screen goddess through real items that show her as she really was – an intelligent, resourceful and determined woman who rose to the top of her field and did so on her own terms.
LAWS OF THE LIZARD (new film) — 8 p.m. ET/PT
In LAWS OF THE LIZARD — which just won the 2018 Jackson Hole Science Media Awards’ top prize, the Grand Helix— two biologists and wildlife filmmakers embark on a year-long adventure in pursuit of the secrets of an unassuming lizard that can change the way we think about life on earth. When scientists have big questions about the world around us, time and time again they turn to this six-inch lizard called an anole to answer their questions. Nate Dappen and Neil Losin journey to remote forests, tiny islands and high tech labs in a quest to understand what they call “the laws of the lizard” and to answer such questions as: How do animals adapt to different environments? And how fast can evolution happen?