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PBS ANNOUNCES NEW 3-PART SERIES
"GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL"
PRODUCED BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION AND BASED ON THE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING BOOK BY JARED DIAMOND
Los Angeles, CA; July 8, 2004 - PBS and National Geographic Television & Film will bring author and scholar
Jared Diamond's sometimes controversial theories about the course of human civilization to the screen in GUNS,
GERMS AND STEEL, a new three-part television series produced exclusively for PBS. Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning
work offers a revealing look at the rise and fall of societies through the lens of geography, technology, biology
and economics - forces symbolized by the power of guns, germs and steel.
The production spans five continents and uses epic historical reenactments to illustrate Diamond's theories,
explaining why societies developed differently in different parts of the world - why some became conquerors and
others the conquered.
"PBS has a proud tradition of bringing television audiences the epic stories of civilization," said John F. Wilson,
sr. vice president, PBS programming. "Jared Diamond's compelling work, brought to life by National Geographic and
Lion Television, will give us yet another prism to understand the complex and fascinating forces that have shaped
The series uses a widescreen format and features footage from across the globe: Jordan, Peru, Spain, Zambia,
South Africa, Papua New Guinea, the United Kingdom and the United States. It features interviews with scholars,
archaeologists, geneticists, biologists, historians and anthropologists from several continents. Through extensive
research and innovative production techniques, the filmmakers pull the viewer into experiencing firsthand the ideas
in the book.
The series is organized into three one-hour parts. The first, "The Crucible of Civilization," examines how a
society's potential for advanced development was not determined by race or creed, or by time and experience, but by
geography and access to domesticated animals and cultivated plants. Part two, "The Clash of Civilizations" explores
the impact of weapons and disease in shaping the course of history. Part three, "The Haves and Have-nots," looks at
the world of today to see whether geography is still a factor in forming the divide between those with money and
resources and those with neither.
Michael Rosenfeld, executive producer and senior vice president for specials and event programming at National
Geographic Television & Film, is overseeing the project. The series is produced for National Geographic by UK-based
Lion Television, Ltd., which has made award-winning programming for PBS and internationally, including the Emmy-nominated
EGYPT'S GOLDEN EMPIRE, MEDICI: GODFATHERS OF THE RENAISSANCE and THE GREEKS: CRUCIBLE OF CIVILIZATION.
"This series takes Jared Diamond's key insight - geography as destiny - and explores it through images of science, history and
discovery around the world. This was an ideal challenge for National Geographic Television & Film. It is 13,000 years of history
condensed into an amazing three hours of television. But the series also goes beyond the book and brings its ideas into the
present day," says Michael Rosenfeld, executive producer.
GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL is funded by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.
Building on its global reputation for remarkable visuals and compelling stories, National Geographic Television & Film augments its
award-winning documentary productions (122 Emmy Awards and more than 900 other industry awards) with feature films, giant-screen films,
kids' programming and long-form television drama programming. Worldwide, National Geographic's television programming can be seen on the
National Geographic Channel, MSNBC and PBS, home video and DVD, and through international broadcast syndication. The National Geographic
Channel is received by more than 200 million households in 25 languages in 148 countries, including the United States. For more information
about National Geographic Television & Film, log on to nationalgeographic.com, AOL Keyword: NatGeo.
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Ellen Stanley, National Geographic
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Rebecca Penovich, National Geographic
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Carrie Johnson, PBS
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