The long-running KUAT news magazine program "Arizona Illustrated" will return to the air Monday after a weeks-long hiatus with a new name, new format, new hosts and a new set.
The show, "AZ Illustrated," will feature a different theme each night of the week, with a different host and producer for each program.
"The idea was to step back and help organize the days of the week around themes or ideas that are really clearly defined, and it would allow us to do a deep dive into some really important issues and ideas that certainly are critical to Tucsonans," said Jackie Kain, Arizona Public Media's chief content officer.
The Arizona Daily Star's editorial page editor, Maria Parham, will host the program on Mondays dedicated to metro issues including education, business and government.
Science is the theme of Tuesdays, hosted by Jane Poynter, scientist, author and president of the Paragon Space Development Corp.
Wednesday focuses on nature and the environment, hosted by journalist Georgia Davis. The arts take center stage on Thursday's episodes, hosted by artist Elizabeth Burden. And Jim Nintzel, senior writer for the Tucson Weekly, continues political coverage on Fridays.
The shows will feature a combination of stories, follow-up interviews with guests, roundtable discussions and live performances. Each show will begin with a two-minute recap of the day's news stories.
Jack Gibson, AZPM's general manager, said the organization's 30-member community advisory board helped to identify distinct subject areas for the show in a planning process that started three years ago.
Choosing the right areas of focus and having five voices now and five perspectives will set the show apart, Gibson said. "Distinctive storytelling is really at the heart of what we're trying to do with those five programs," he said.
From the Star's perspective, the show suits the newpaper's goals to add "more dimension to our local news report and digital presentation," President and Publisher John M. Humenik said.
Partnering with KUAT makes sense, Humenik said. "They know, as we do, that more local engagement around unique content benefits everyone, especially in a community as diverse as ours," he said.
Parham, a veteran Star journalist who has held positions throughout the newsroom, will represent the paper well, he said.
"Maria knows our community extremely well, and many, many people trust what she says," he said. "We encouraged her to host the show at the same time we expanded her responsibilities as our editorial page editor. We are confident the dual focus will create remarkable results."
The show's new set is courtesy of architect Rick Joy and his firm, which created a new backdrop from a collection of photos by Jeff Dey of Tucson's mountain ranges and downtown skyline stitched together and dyed onto a large canvas that nearly wraps around the entire studio.
Gibson said only a handful of public television stations produce nightly shows, and the majority of those follow the standard one-host format. The new show, he said, is "sort of the grand experiment."
"AZ Illustrated" airs Monday through Friday on KUAT Channel 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4224.