PBS debuts show about global charity

Tribune Content Agency

A new PBS show digs into the “messy business” of global charity, telling the stories of philanthropists around the world.

“It’s a feel-good travel show with a really raw edge kind of to it,” said Earl Bridges, co-host and executive producer of “The Good Road,” which introduces viewers to philanthropists around the world.

“I just kept thinking, ‘Why do I know more about a celebrity chef that can make a cheeseburger than I know about these people that are doing super interesting work?’” he said. “And so that’s kind of the impetus for this show.”

In the first season of this “extreme travel show,” Bridges and his co-host Craig Martin — the “philanthropologists” grew up together in Bangkok, Thailand — take viewers everywhere from Tanzania to Myanmar and Alabama.

“We specifically look for stories that help to describe a place, so anti-poaching in Kenya or refugee camps in Myanmar or prison reform in Thailand,” Bridges said.

One episode focuses on the work of a husband and wife — an anesthesiologist and neonatologist, respectively — working in a maternal health clinic in Uganda. Another follows a punk rock band in Myanmar that helps feed children in the streets and teaches others to read.

“Every episode has these kind of surprising characters that, like I say, really flip the narrative of what you thought of the place,” Bridges said. “We highlight these characters that we visit, who are really doing these amazing things in really unlikely places.”

Travel is in Bridges’ blood, as he spent most of his childhood circling the globe. His father, Earl Bridges Sr., was an Air Force pilot and later a missionary. The family moved constantly as Earl Jr. grew up, traveling to the Philippines, California, Thailand, Germany and more.

When it comes to philanthropy in Florida, Earl Jr. noted there’s a good deal of work being done regarding climate change.

“In Merritt Island, there’s a lot of people that do a lot of research around that,” he said. “I have a soft spot in my heart for a lot of the environmental pieces, but those types of causes that you see here in the U.S. are not really the things that we’ve explored in the show.”

For more information about the show, visit goodroad.tv. Bridges and Martin also host a global charity-based podcast called Philanthropology, available on Apple and Spotify.


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