PBS to Air HBO Films

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Los Angeles -- In an unprecedented move, PBS will air three original Home Box Office films following their HBO premieres, HBO chairman Chris Albrecht announced Thursday at the Television Critics Association tour here.

PBS will air in its entirety Dirty War, a fictional account of a "dirty-bomb" attack on central London, Feb. 23, one month after it premieres on the network. The PBS presentation will be followed by a 30-minute panel discussion with experts in homeland security, emergency preparedness, nuclear weapons and terrorism.

In April, PBS will air Sometimes in April, recounting the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The movie will premiere on HBO in March.

The third film, Yesterday, which follows the struggles of a young woman who has been diagnosed with AIDS, has yet to be scheduled for either network.

HBO Films president Colin Callender said the deal will allow the network to extend the reach of its films beyond HBO’s universe.

"We are always looking for innovative ways to bring HBO Films to a wider audience," Callender said. "Along with our successful ventures into theatrical release, this partnership with PBS is a bold and exciting way of doing that."

In other news, the network will bow two scripted series this year: The Comeback, a 14-episode comedy series starring Lisa Kudrow (Friends), and 12-episode Big Love, a drama that follows the lives of a polygamist, his three wives and their families.

The network also announced that it will air stand-up comedy specials starring Whoopi Goldberg and Tracy Ullman later this year.

Original movies set to air this year include Paul Newman-produced EmpireFalls, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name; Warm Springs, a true story about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's struggles with polio; and Halle Berry-produced drama Lackawanna Blues.