Press Release: Star Spangled Spectacular To Air On MPT



Star-Spangled Spectacular concert special to air on Maryland Public Television


Live, two-hour September 13 concert special celebrates national anthem’s 200th anniversary


Two-hour live broadcast, hosted by John Lithgow, co-hosted by Jordin Sparks, features performances from

Kristin Chenoweth, Melissa Etheridge, Denyce Graves-Montgomery, Little Big Town, Pentatonix,

Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, and Train


OWINGS MILLS, MD – Maryland Public Television, in partnership with Dick Clark Productions and THIRTEEN Productions, presents Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem, a concert special honoring the 200th anniversary of our national anthem, at Pier Six Concert Pavilion on Saturday, September 13. The concert will air live on MPT at 8 p.m. as part of PBS’s Great Performances series.

Prior to the concert, MPT will team up with WBAL-TV for a one-hour program Star-Spangled Spectacular: Baltimore Celebrates airing from 7-8 p.m. on MPT and 7-7:30 p.m. on WBAL. Hosted by WBAL’s morning duo Jason Newton and Mindy Basara with MPT’s Jeff Salkin and Yolanda Vazquez and WBAL’s Megan Pringle on location at sites throughout the city, the program will highlight the biggest events and attractions during the weeklong Star-Spangled 200 celebration. The program will feature a mix of packages and live interviews showcasing the tall ships, Navy gray hulls and historic exhibits that define the celebration.

Star-Spangled Spectacular is the highlight event during the Star-Spangled 200 celebrating the 200th anniversary of our national anthem. Acclaimed actor, musician and author John Lithgow will host alongside platinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks. The star-studded show includes performances by a diverse line-up of artists including: Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristen Chenoweth; Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge; celebrated mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves-Montgomery; Grammy Award-winning country group Little Big Town; a capella sensations Pentatonix; legendary singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; Grammy Award-winning Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers; multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning band Train; and the Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

These talented artists will pay tribute to our nation’s ideals in a patriotic program that includes a flag ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument, historical highlights, and an extraordinary fireworks crescendo. Baltimore’s harbor, replete with tall ships and naval vessels will serve as a stunning backdrop for the celebration.

Major corporate support for Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of Our National Anthem is provided by AT&T, Papa John’s Pizza, and Constellation Energy. Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Agnes Varis Trust, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Harold and Elise Danino Hirshberg, and PBS.   

About MPT

Launched in 1969 and headquartered in Owings Mills, MD, Maryland Public Television is a nonprofit, state-licensed public television network and member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  MPT’s six transmitters cover Maryland plus portions of contiguous states and the District of Columbia.  Frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards, MPT creates local, regional, and national television shows.  Beyond broadcast, MPT’s commitment to professional educators, parents, caregivers, and learners of all ages is delivered through year-round instructional events and the super-website Thinkport, which garners in excess of 19 million page views annually.  MPT’s community engagement connects viewers with local resources on significant health, education, and public interest topics through year-round outreach events, viewer forums, program screenings, and phone bank call-in opportunities.  


My FEARLESS Emmy Picks


Heellloo everyone! It’s that time of year again..EMMY season! Here’s a breakdown of my fearless Emmy picks. You probably won’t agree with them..and if you get a cookie.

Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Michelle Dockery “Downton Abbey”
Claire Danes “Homeland”
Robin Wright “House Of Cards”
Julianna Marguiles “The Good Wife”
Lizzy Caplan “Masters Of Sex”
Kerry Washington “Scandal”

Who SHOULD Win: Robin Wright “House Of Cards”
Who WILL Win: Julianna Marguiles “The Good Wife”
Spoiler: Kerry Washington “Scandal”

Robin Wright had ALL the buzz and momentum from her Golden Globe win..up until she submitted “Chapter 26” for her Emmy episode. WHY ROBIN..WHY? “Chapter 17” would have guaranteed you the golden prize. Anyway..Julianna Marguiles is coming off a red hot season of “The Good Wife”, and her Emmy submission is her strongest episode to date. All the submissions are very strong this don’t be surprised if Kerry Washington or even Claire Danes hear their name called.


Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Bryan Cranston “Breaking Bad”
Matthew McConaughey “True Detective”
Woody Harrelson “True Detective”
Jon Hamm “Mad Men”
Kevin Spacey “House Of Cards”
Jeff Daniels “The Newsroom”

Who SHOULD Win: Bryan Cranston “Breaking Bad”
Who WILL Win: Bryan Cranston, or Matthew McConaughey “True Detective”
Spoiler: Kevin Spacey “House Of Cards”

Last years surprise winner, Jeff Daniels, and perennial nominee Jon Hamm are just filler here. Woody Harrelson takes a backseat to McConaughey in “True Detective”, so that’s another man down. Kevin Spacey is a solid close number three, as his show has tons of support in the Television Academy. I just don’t see him beating Bryan Cranston or Matthew McConaughey here. Cranston shockingly lost last year to Daniels, and McConaughey has taken acting pills or something the past year and a half. Both give tour de force performances. My heart says Walter White..but my gut is telling me Rust Cohle.

Best Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Josh Charles “The Good Wife”
Peter Dinklage “Game Of Thrones”
Aaron Paul “Breaking Bad”
Jim Carter “Downton Abbey”
Jon Voight “Ray Donovan”
Mandy Patinkin “Homeland”

Who SHOULD Win: Josh Charles/Aaron Paul
Who WILL Win: Aaron Paul
Spoiler: Jon Voight

Aaron Paul has won here twice before; Peter Dinklage has won once; and Jon Voight is coming off of a Golden Globe win. I don’t think Voight will repeat here. Jim Carter, Mandy Patinkin, and Peter Dinklage can add another nomination to their resume.  The REAL contest is between Paul and Josh Charles. Even before his character was killed off of “The Good Wife”, Charles was atop every Emmy prediction list out there. He’s a superb actor. Will the buzz for his “Good Wife” storyline push him over Aaron Paul? Probably not. But don’t count him out just yet.

Best Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Christine Baranski “The Good Wife”
Maggie Smith “Downton Abbey”
Joanne Frogatt “Downton Abbey”
Anna Gunn “Breaking Bad”
Lena Headey “Game Of Thrones”
Christina Hendricks “Mad Men”

Who SHOULD Win: Anna Gunn “Breaking Bad”
Who WILL Win: Anna Gunn “Breaking Bad”
Spoiler: Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

No question Anna Gunn is a lock to win here. The only competition is Christine Baranski. She’s been nominated a lot in the past, only winning once. Her episode submission deals with her reaction to the death of Will Gardner. I remember watching that episode as it aired and saying to myself “This should be her Emmy submission.” Boom. With “The Good Wife” being snubbed for Best Drama (those bastards), will some members elect to give one of its stars an Emmy? As a sort win? Best chance is either here..or Lead Actress..or Supporting Actor. Hmm..Gunn still wins. Most likely.

Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Amy Poehler “Parks And Recreation”
Julia Louis Dreyfus “VEEP”
Taylor Schilling “Orange Is The New Black”
Melissa McCarthy “Mike and Molly”
Edie Falco “Nurse Jackie”
Lena Dunham “Girls”

Who SHOULD Win: Julia Louis Dreyfus “VEEP”
Who WILL Win: Julia Louis Dreyfus “VEEP”
Spoiler: Amy Poehler “Parks And Recreation”

The thing that bugs me the most about this category, is FOUR of the submitted episodes are pretty drama heavy. Louis-Dreyfus and McCarthy’s are the more comedic ones. We need a DRAMEDY category, dammit!

There’s a pivotal scene in the episode Julia Louis Dreyfus submitted, where she’s in the bathroom with Gary, played by Tony Hale, that is just..fucking hilarious. I can’t describe it any other way. The funniest scene in ANY television show last year. If she loses, it will be because Amy Poehler is WAAAYY overdue for an Emmy win.

Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Matt LeBlanc “Episodes”
Louie C.K “Louie”
Jim Parsons “The Big Bang Theory”
Ricky Gervais “Derek”
Don Cheadle “House Of Lies”
William H. Macy “Shameless”

Who SHOULD Win: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Who WILL Win: Jim Parsons “The Big Bang Theory”
Spoiler: Ricky Gervais “Derek”

This is always a weird category. ANY category that Jon Cryer wins is a weird category automatically, actually. Gervais won here way back when for a little show called “Extras.” Will his charm in “Derek” push him over Sheldon Cooper? Parsons has two nominations this year, the other in Supporting Actor/Miniseries for “The Normal Heart.” He won’t win there, but a combo of both performances should push him in the winner circle here.

Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Kate Mulgrew “Orange Is The New Black”
Allison Janney “Mom”
Julie Bowen “Modern Family”
Anna Chlumsky “VEEP”
Kate McKinnon “SNL”
Mayim Bialik “The Big Bang Theory”

Who SHOULD Win: Kate Mulgrew “OITNB”
Who WILL Win: Mulgrew or Allison Janney
Spoiler: Julie Bowen “Modern Family”

Allison Janney won an acting Emmy already this year for her guest starring role on “Masters Of Sex.” Will Emmy voters want to spread the wealth? If they do, Mulgrew is the clear favorite. They tied at the Critic’s Choice Awards, so this outcome should be interesting.

Best Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Andre Braugher “Brooklyn Nine Nine”
Tony Hale “VEEP”
Adam Driver “Girls”
Ty Burell “Modern Family”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson “Modern Family”
Fred Armisen “Portlandia”

Who SHOULD Win: Tony Hale “VEEP”
Who WILL Win: Hale, or Andre Braugher “Brooklyn Nine Nine”
Spoiler: None

Both Hale and Braugher are past Emmy winners (Braugher for “Homicide) and both are pretty brilliant in their roles. Some say Hale won his second Emmy last year, getting up on stage with Julia Louis Dreyfus when she won, and being “in character.” None of the other four gents have a shot.

Best Comedy Series

“Modern Family”
“Orange Is The New Black”
“Silicon Valley”
“The Big Bang Theory”

Who WILL Win: “Modern Family”
Spoiler: “Orange Is The New Black”

“VEEP”is hands down the funniest show this year. However, Emmy voting habits sometimes die hard. “Modern Family” would tie “Frasier” for most Comedy Series wins if they win again this year. Some voters are salivating that headline come Tuesday morning. But, the shows Emmy nominations, as well as ratings, have dropped year to year. While “VEEP” finally broke into the writing category, and has increased its nomination total. “OITNB” is funny, but it’s a Dramedy. Some voters write it off for its heavy subject matter. But the buzz is deafening. Has “Modern Family’s” support dropped enough that “VEEP” can take the crown? I hope so.

Best Drama Series

“House Of Cards”
“Breaking Bad”
“True Detective”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game Of Thrones”
“Masters Of Sex”

Who SHOULD Win: “Breaking Bad”
Who WILL Win: “Breaking Bad” / “True Detective”
Spoiler: “House Of Cards”

Another tough one to predict. “True Detective” has some in the TV Academy pissed because it’s a miniseries essentially, competing in the Drama category. But it’s DAMN good drama. So is “Breaking Bad” and “House Of Cards”, frankly. HOC has solid support, but again, it’s sitting in the number 3 position. Emmy voters awarded “Breaking Bad” Best Drama Series last year for Season 5: Part 1 (total sham by the way), but will they do it again? I honestly, have no freakin clue. But I’m going with Walter White.





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