Thursday, May 21, 2015

As Providence Would Have It, inCommon with Mike Leonard Comes to Rhode Island PBS

On Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m., Rhode Island PBS premieres a new 4-part series, inCommon with Mike Leonard, the 30-year veteran correspondent for NBC’s Today Show. Leonard describes the program as “things we have in common as human beings and common things that we sometimes overlook that have great value but are hidden in plain sight.”

One of the four episodes is entitled "Providence" and it’s as much about the definition as it is about the location. “Providence” will air on Monday, June 15 at 7 p.m.

Providence played a big role in shaping Mike’s life. Mike Leonard attended Providence College in the late 1960s and played ice hockey under Coach Lou Lamoriello, Hockey Hall of Famer and now president of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. In the Providence episode – replete with interconnected stories of destiny, divine intervention, and providential events – Leonard reunites with former PC hockey team member Jim Murphy, a Vietnam veteran and former Burrillville teacher and school administrator. Leonard also discusses fate, divine providence, and destiny with Providence College President Brian J. Shanley, O.P., and Providence College hockey players and coach Nate Leaman – before the coach took the team to the national hockey championship title earlier this year.

inCommon with Mike Leonard features ordinary people making an extraordinary impact in locations across the United States, in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world. Filmed with innovative cinematography, Mike weaves wisdom and wit into each episode while keeping the spotlight on the triumphs and tragedies of ordinary people and their extraordinary stories. Mike shows it’s the stories we tell in life that truly connect us. They are what we all have in common.

Episodes are built around themes of time, providence, acceptance, and hope:

Time (Rhode Island PBS on June 8 at 7 p.m.; Learn on June 30 at 9 p.m.)
Acclaimed for tapping into the everyman experience, Mike unreels a compelling home movie segment, reflecting how his camera allowed him to access the story of life we all share, and to slow down time by recording it. This premier episode also profiles a humble Phoenix high school coach who spends his time instilling character in competitive athletes; takes a humorous look at parents finding the meaning of childhood moments in failed attempts to frame them; and shows generations of a family who pause the passage of time, only to watch it begin again.

Providence (Rhode Island PBS on June 15 at 7 p.m.; Learn on June 30 at 9:30 p.m.)
inCommon visits Providence, Rhode Island, to explore life's providential twists and turns through the intertwined lives of college students of the 1960s, Vietnam veterans, and the Providence College hockey team.

Acceptance (Rhode Island PBS on June 22 at 7 p.m.; Learn on June 30 at 10 p.m.)
Life is about accepting ourselves, unfamiliar cultures, different races, new ideas, change. But can a tony suburb on Chicago's north shore accept the unconventionality of grown men playing wiffle ball in Mike's front yard every Sunday -- in a makeshift ballpark he created himself? inCommon also visits Uganda for perspective on how one aspiring filmmaker confronts cultural, technological, and geographic obstacles. In Israel, Arab and Israeli children bond as teammates in a sports camp set amidst swirling sectarian violence just outside their oasis of peace. Winnetka to Uganda to Israel -- Mike connects the journey across continents with the common ground of sports, friendship, creativity and play.

Hope (Rhode Island PBS on June 29 at 7 p.m.; Learn on June 30 at 10:30 p.m.)
Hope abides in the hearts of those who believe they will find their way home to their dreams. With a goal in sight, the hopeful recognize landmarks pointing the way, opportunities to open the path they seek. Hope - plus attention and active engagement in finding a way - lead to the realization of dreams. Mike's father pioneers overnight delivery before its time -- from Ireland to Phoenix to Chicago -- trusting a stranger on a plane to deliver the touchstone to Mike's career. These touchstones begin with a movie camera that comes to connect Mike to TV, his son Matt to opportunity for an aspiring African artist, his son Brendan to his own show at age 19, and his mother to hope despite devastation, then offering hope to grieving parents in Memphis.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) content over the air on digital 36.1; on Rhode Island cable services: Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, Full Channel 08; on Massachusetts cable services: Comcast 819HD, Verizon 18 / 518HD; on satellite: DirecTV 36 / 3128HD, Dish Network 36. WSBE Learn transmits over the air on digital 36.2; on cable: Cox 808, Verizon 478, Full Channel 89, Comcast 294 or 312.