ABOVE PHOTO: From left: Mo Rocca, Roxane Gay, host Carlos Watson, Seth Weathers, and Seth Stephens Davidowitz on the set of “Third Rail with OZY”.
New PBS debate series covers national topics with audience input
Carlos Watson, Emmy Award-winning journalist and Editor-in-Chief of OZY.com, will host a new, prime-time, cross-platform debate program, “Third Rail with OZY.” Co-produced by WGBH Boston’s Studio Six and OZY Media, and made possible with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and The Pew Charitable Trusts, this seven-part series broadcasts and streams Fridays at 8:30PM ET, (check local listings).
Intriguing, unexpected and enlightening, “Third Rail with OZY” promises to present new voices and valuable dialogue for the digital age. In a fresh addition to the PBS line-up, Watson will frame each week’s half-hour show around a single, provocative question. Expert and celebrity guests will debate it in the studio each Friday, moderated by Watson, and informed by the weeklong social media conversation leading up to it. The series’ underlying query in this contentious age is: can dialogue informed by data alter people’s points of view?
“Third Rail with OZY will be sharp, smart, and — we hope — fun. WGBH’s partnership with OZY Media creates a rare and important opportunity for Americans to really listen to each other, and engage with a diverse range of viewpoints for a new type of conversation,” says Denise DiIanni, series creator and Senior Executive in Charge for WGBH.
“After the success of “Point Taken” in 2016, we are excited to welcome Carlos Watson back to PBS stations this fall. Carlos brings a unique combination of smarts and razor-sharp wit to his role as host and moderator, exploring a range of topics that are timely and relevant to the concerns of the American public,” said Marie Nelson, Vice President, News and Public Affairs, PBS. “While there are many issues that divide our country, there is often common ground to be found. We are proud to continue to serve as a platform for spirited and civil discussion.”
Online and social media voting will be used to assess outcomes of each week’s debate. Viewpoints posted on Facebook and Twitter, and on PBS.org, will be integrated and displayed as part of the program. To frame and inform the televised and digital discourse, the Marist Institute for Public Opinion will conduct advance, exclusive national surveys on each of Third Rail’s featured questions. The Conversation US, a media outlet aggregating academic and research content, will be an editorial collaborator.
“Third Rail with OZY will be an arena for open and honest conversations about provocative topics, offering a variety of viewpoints and spirited debate on some of the most critical issues facing our society today,” explains Carlos Watson, OZY.com Editor in Chief and host of “Third Rail with OZY.” “Now more than ever it is important we bring these conversations out of the shadows and into the light, offering people perspective and an opportunity to make their voices heard.”