Goodman to tackle Clinton for PBS

U.S. public broadcaster PBS has commissioned Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning director Barak Goodman (My Lai) to make a flagship four-part series about America's 42nd president, Bill Clinton (pictured), realscreen can reveal.
May 16, 2011

U.S. public broadcaster PBS has commissioned Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning director Barak Goodman (My Lai) to make a flagship four-part series about America’s 42nd president, Bill Clinton (pictured), realscreen can reveal.

The 4 x 60-minute series Clinton is in production now, to air as part of the ‘American Experience’ presidents series, and is slated for transmission early next year – 20 years after Clinton first ran for president.

The documentary will reflect on everything from the former president’s childhood in Arkansas to the trials and tribulations of his eight years in office, and will be the 15th installment in the presidents series.

Previous programs in the series have included The Kennedys, LBJ, Nixon, FDR and Reagan, and have won numerous gongs including Emmys, Peabodys and DuPont-Columbia Journalism awards.

“William Jefferson Clinton is a lightning rod in American history,” said Mark Samels, executive producer of ‘American Experience’. “It’s hard to find anyone who is neutral about the man or his presidency. The complex dynamic between his public accomplishments and his personal foibles makes him endlessly fascinating.”

Tom Koch, VP of PBS International – which will distribute Clinton globally – added: “Bill Clinton is a giant figure not only in the American imagination but throughout the world, and we expect that international interest in this new four-hour miniseries will be strong.”

The documentary is promising “unprecedented access” to the former president’s associates, staff and family, as well as interviews with biographers and journalists. It will include testimony from many who worked inside the Clinton White House, such as press secretary Dee Dee Myers, counsel Bernard Nussbaum, chief of staff Leon Panetta and deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes.

Goodman is perhaps best known for his acclaimed film My Lai, which looked at the Vietnam War’s infamous My Lai massacre and won a Peabody and an Emmy award. He has also won the duPont-Columbia Award and the RFK Journalism Prize, and his other films include The Lobotomist, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and Scottsboro: An American Tragedy, the latter of which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Goodman will produce, write and direct Clinton, and said of the former president: “You have to go a long way back to find as complex, as eventful, as tumultuous and as revealing a presidency as his.”

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.