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Titanic TV: ABC's Miniseries, James Cameron and 'Dancing With the Stars' Len Goodman

As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912 approaches, television’s offerings are dominated by nonfiction programming with only a smattering of dramatized offerings.

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Director James Cameron will make a small screen offering aside from the epic re-release of Titanic 3D in theatres. Cameron shares the knowledge he has learned since making the film and after having done more than 30 dives to the its deep sea resting place for National Geographic Channel’s Titanic: The Final Word.

Another interesting, and totally unexpected, entry into the Titanic-related TV offerings features Dancing With the Stars judge Len Goodman. He shares a personal connection to the ship via his previous experience working at the Ireland shipyard where it was built on a PBS program.

ABC breaks through the event's nonfiction programming with its four-part dramatic miniseries, Titanic, which was written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

Take a look at The Live Feed’s Titanic TV watch list below.

Dramatizations:

Saving the Titanic, Check local listings, PBS
Based on eyewitness accounts, the drama of this program unfolds in the engine and boiler rooms after the ship makes its fatal crash into an iceberg. David Wilmot (The Tudors) and Ciaran McMenamin (Primeval) lead the ensemble cast.

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Titanic, Saturday, Sunday, April 14 at 8 p.m., April 15 at 9 p.m., ABC
ABC’s four-hour miniseries from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and BAFTA-winning producer Nigel Stafford Clark (Bleak House) tracks the doomed voyage from the different perspectives of its crew and passengers. Their stories will meet in the dramatic last hour. It stars Linus Roache (Law & Order), Geraldine Somerville (Harry Potter), Perdita Weeks (The Tudors), and many others.

A Night to Remember, Saturday, April 14 at 10 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
The 1958 film is based on Walter Lord’s 1955 nonfiction book, which is still considered one of the most definitive sources about the sinking. Like the book, Titanic researchers felt the film was a very close depiction of what was known about the accident at the time. Told from the point of view of its passengers from survivors’ accounts of the event, it does focus on the ship’s second officer, Charles Lightoller (Kenneth More).

Nonfiction:

The Titanic with Len Goodman, Check local listings, PBS
In a former life we’ll call the ‘60s, the Dancing With the Stars judge used his jazz hands for heavy metal… as a welder at the Ireland shipyard where the Titanic was built. Goodman takes that connection further to provide the personal stories from some of the men who helped build the ship and then went down with it.

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The Real Story: Titanic, Thursday at 7 p.m., Smithsonian
This episode of the series would probably make Cameron peeved. It sets out to punch holes in the director’s fictionalized 1997 movie, which at the time was considered a work of great detail and accuracy. But, its producers say that modern technology and new theories tell a different story. This may be something Cameron has already realized, see Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron.

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Titanic’s Final Mystery, Thursday at 8 p.m., Smithsonian
With 20 years of research, new findings and eyewitness testimony to back him up, Tim Maltin answers the questions behind the legendary sinking and addresses the myths surrounding the ship’s demise.

Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron, Sunday at 8 p.m., National Geographic
Nat Geo’s explorer-in-residence, Cameron goes beyond his dramatized film with more than 30 dives to the sunken ship under his belt. Along with engineers, naval architects, artists and historians, he’ll reveal how much more he has found out since his 1997 hit film.

Q&A: 'Downton Abbey' Creator Julian Fellowes Discusses Why International Buyers Love 'Titanic' Mini

Save the Titanic With Bob Ballard, Monday at 10 p.m., National Geographic
As a member of the team that first discovered the ship in 1985, Bob Ballard traces it back to its origins at a Northern Ireland shipyard and back through to the present with a new question to answer: With natural forces, careless visitors and even rogue salvage operators, will the ship survive another 100 years?

CBS This Morning, Thursday, April 12 7-9 a.m., CBS
The morning show will run a Titanic piece and interview with Cameron.

Titanic At 100: Mystery Solved, Sunday, April 15 at 8 p.m., History
All the other productions must not have gotten the memo. This documentary’s team of scientists, engineers, archaeologists and imaging experts have solved the mystery of the ship’s sinking. In partnership with RMS Titanic, which is in possession of the salvage site, its team claims to have made the most exhaustive study of the wreck ever made. What’s especially cool about this program is that it has image mapped the entire site with techniques used by NASA.

Which programs will you be tuning in to? Tell us in the comments section below.

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro