‘Wetlands’ to examine Louisiana black bear

“Downton Abbey” fans will have to wait until January for season four’s debut, but in the meantime, PBS will roll out new installments of veteran programs “Frontline,” “Great Performances,” “American Experience” and more.

Affiliate Louisiana Public Broadcasting is also working on new shows for the fall , among them the second part of its “Alive! In America’s Delta” six-part series.

Premiering in December, “Alive!” will give viewers an in-depth look at efforts to increase the black bear population in Louisiana.

“It’s been really fantastic to work with (the Louisiana Department of) Wildlife & Fisheries and we’ve been basically following their biologists, looking at what they do and what they’ve been doing for the black bear recovery program,” Liz Barnes, segment producer, said.

Barnes and a film crew have been working on the project for a year, shooting footage in the Red River Wildlife Management Area in Concordia Parish, in Pointe Coupee Parish, and along the coast. Patterson in St. Mary Parish is a black bear hot spot.

“One of the amazing things we got to do was attend a den visit,” Barnes said. She explained that the biologists tag some of the black bears so they are able to track them to their dens and then, after sedating the mother bear, can do a biological workup on the mother and the cubs.

“We were fortunate to be able to capture it on film,” Barnes said.

Also highlighting fall programming on LPB are national PBS programs, including:

“League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” 8 p.m. Tuesday. The installment of “Frontline” examines the health crisis that led to a $765 million settlement with former pro football players who suffered lasting effects from concussions. The two-hour show reveals how, for years, the league denied and worked to refute scientific evidence that these violent collisions during games are linked to early onset dementia, catastrophic brain damage and other devastating consequences for some of football’s stars.

“Superheroes; A Never Ending Battle,” 7 p.m. Tuesdays starting Oct. 15. This series looks at the evolution of superheroes in comic books, graphic novels, television and movies since the 1930s. Host and narrator is Liev Schreiber. On-camera interviews feature Stan Lee, Adam West, Lynda Carter, Michael Chabon and Todd McFarlane.

“The African-Americans: Many Rivers To Cross,” 7 p.m. Tuesdays starting Oct. 22. This six-part series hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. chronicles African-American history from the 17th century until today.

Featured in the program is Ruby Bridges and William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, as Bridges (Hall) looks back on being the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.

“American Masters: Jimi Hendrix,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. The profile of the legendary rock musician includes never-before-seen video. Also look for archival interviews, photographs, family letters, and new interviews with Hendrix family members, bandmates, Paul McCartney and others.

““Downton Abbey, Series 4,” premieres Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Academy Award-nominee Paul Giamatti joins the cast of the hit “Masterpiece” series, which finds aristocrats and servants coping with last season’s shocking finale. Change is on the way as three generations of the Crawley family have conflicting interests in the estate.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting provided information for this story.