Docs

PBS preps Joe McCarthy doc for ‘American Experience’ strand

American pubcaster PBS will premiere a new doc about Wisconsin senator and infamous anti-communist crusader Joseph McCarthy as part of its ‘American Experience’ strand in the new year. McCarthy charts the rise and ...
November 15, 2019

American pubcaster PBS will premiere a new doc about Wisconsin senator and infamous anti-communist crusader Joseph McCarthy as part of its ‘American Experience’ strand in the new year.

McCarthy charts the rise and fall of McCarthy (pictured) who orchestrated a series of hearings to smoke out suspected communists during the Cold War in a process thought by many to be a witch hunt threatening American democracy.

Many lost their livelihoods and reputations as a result of often groundless accusations, including Hollywood creatives blacklisted and forced to relocate to Europe or continue working under pseudonyms. The term “McCarthyism” has since become synonymous with the kind of government overreach that eventually led to McCarthy’s downfall.

The film is written, directed and produced by Sharon Grimberg and executive produced by Mark Samels. It is based in part on David M. Oshinsky’s book A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy.

“More than 60 years after the Red Scare, McCarthy gives us an in-depth look at both the man and the movement he created,” said ‘American Experience’ senior producer Susan Bellows in a statement. “The film is also a cautionary tale of what can happen to democracy when politicians use fearmongering as a tool for political gain.”

“McCarthy became a demagogue by preying on people’s fears and turning Americans against each other,” added Grimberg. “It’s a story about the fragility of democracy and how someone in power can pervert democracy. And it’s about being willing to challenge a bully and stand up for our sense of decency as Americans.”

McCarthy will premiere Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.

In other PBS news, the pubcaster is launching its first full Freeview channel in the UK. The channel will replace PBS America, the HD-only channel launched in 2011 in the UK.

The PBS America channel will now be available in all TV homes starting Nov. 20.

Watch a trailer for McCarthy below:

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