PBS's Live Millennium Broadcast

Watch the New Year ring in around the world on PBS

If you want to ring in the New Year but stay home, then PBS has just the show for you. You can watch the turn of the century 24 times from various countries and you never have to get off the couch.

PBS millennium 2000 is a 25-hour long show. The broadcast will be done with more than 2,000 cameras and 60 satellite paths. This is the most massive television event in history.

The production is spearheaded by Boston’s WGBH-TV and the BBC. It will show the New Year being celebrated around the world, and much of it will be live. Since New Zealand will be one the first countries to greet the Year 2000 that’s where the program will begin. From there it will move westward, chasing the New Year as it breaks around the globe.

For example, Sweden has chosen to broadcast a wedding from the village of Jukkasjarvi in a church built entirely of ice. Argentina will shoot footage in its Iguazu rain forest, then cut to an explosive tango sequence accompanied by fireworks. In Alaska an ancient ceremony will be shown which involves an 8-foot drum made from the stomach membranes of three whales.

That’s not the only U.S. representation in the program. There will also be performances by Sting and Aretha Franklin plus live reporting in Times Square by s Sesame Street character.

The program includes 56 commercial and public broadcasters from places such as Peru, Poland, South Korea and the Czech Republic. Each will produce segments designed to reflect the culture and experience of their nation in a way that is entertaining and inspirational.

With so many countries involved, so much technology this is a real gamble for PBS to take on.

Because remember there’s a little thing out there called the Y2K bug which could cause havoc with the technology. This is a show that is relying on technology and lots of it, but for PBS it’s a risk they felt was worth taking.

Source: Boston Herald

DATE: 12/3/99

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