American pubcaster PBS is to celebrate its 50th anniversary with the premiere of its ‘American Portrait’ documentary strand, which kicks off with a four-part docuseries that seeks to find the answers to what it means to be American today.
Announced in January as part of its 2020 Television Critics Association winter press tour, ‘American Portrait’ serves as a multi-platform storytelling project that begins as a platform for “user-generated content participation” and is envisioned to encompass publishing, short-form content, classroom engagement, a web miniseries, public art installations, live events and the aforementioned four-part docuseries.
Produced in-house by PBS and RadicalMedia, each hour-long episode captures the story of 2020 through a chorus of everyday people as they share their common and unique experiences from across the country.
Episodes will revolve around a main theme, including “I Dream,” about our varied pursuits of the American Dream; “I Work,” about the aspirations and struggles in our careers; “I Keep,” about the traditions and values we hold; and “I Rise,” about working to create an anti-racist America.
PBS ‘American Portrait’ was developed and created with RadicalMedia.
Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serve as executive producers, and Naomi Gilbert is the senior interactive producer for the web platform. Craig D’Entrone, meanwhile, is listed as executive producer and showrunner. Michèle Stephenson is series producer. Bill Margol is the executive in charge for PBS.
PBS ‘American Portrait’ launches Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
“In many ways, PBS ‘American Portrait’ has proven to be the perfect project for a year unlike any other. We’ve given voice to people and communities across America at a time when so many are hoping and needing to be heard. We’ve been honored to serve as a platform for people to share their stories, as it is in our mission to empower audiences to achieve their potential and strengthen their communities,” said Bill Margol, executive in charge of PBS ‘American Portrait’ and senior director, general audience programming and development at PBS.
He continued: “In the new series, audiences will see and hear from people across America, and our hope is that their stories will inspire each of us to continue these conversations in our homes and communities, and to see that, while there are many things that still divide us, the commonalities we share can create the dialogue we need to bring us together.”
“In this time of crisis, we have been challenged in the way we interact with one another, yet, we’ve witnessed an incredible sense of bonding and empathy through the inspiring stories of families, friends and colleagues across the country,” said Jon Kamen, CEO of RadicalMedia and executive producer of PBS ‘American Portrait’. “These shared experiences from everyday people in America are the heart of our four-part series.”