'TV's Top 5': Ken Burns on Baseball's Return and PBS' 'Hemingway'

Ken Burns Lynn Novick
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Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

Welcome to Episode 114 of TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

Every week, hosts Lesley Goldberg (West Coast TV editor) and Daniel Fienberg (chief TV critic) break down the latest TV news with context from the business and critical sides, welcome showrunners, executive and other guests, and provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

This week's five topics are:

1. April TV preview.
Following a slow first quarter of the year, April swings into action with a wide swath of high-profile new and returning shows. During this segment, we discuss the month's most-anticipated new scripted series on broadcast and streaming platforms.

2. Comic-Con on the hot seat.
Comic-Con International announced plans this week for a Thanksgiving weekend in-person event in San Diego. The plan has landed with a thud in the creative community, with scores of studios, publicists and artists, among others, blasting the plans for a multitude of reasons. This segment explores the debate and odds that the in-person event will actually happen.

3. Showrunner Spotlight.
Documentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick join the show this week to discuss their latest effort, PBS' Hemingway. The longtime collaborators discuss why the famed author wound up in their crosshairs, exploring his problematic history and why now was the right time for the project, which has been in the works for decades.

4. Showrunner Spotlight, Part 2.
It's baseball season! What better way to welcome the return of the National Pastime than with Burns and Novick, whose 10-part PBS doc Baseball is the cultural authority on Major League Baseball. This short segment sees us discuss the impact of MLB acknowledging the Negro Leagues and how those stats rewrite the game's rich history. Plus Burns weighs in on doing an 11th inning of the beloved doc and when he thinks Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

5. Critic's Corner.

As usual, every episode ends with Dan's guide to what to watch (or skip) in the week ahead. This week, he offers reviews of Made for Love, The Serpent, Chad, Hemingway and Kung Fu.

Hear it all now on TV's Top 5. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. (Reviews welcome!) You can also email us with any topics or Mailbag questions you'd like to be addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.

Coming next week: We are joined by Christina Lee for a Showrunner Spotlight interview about HBO Max's Made for Love.