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AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES, A FOUR-HOUR DOCUMENTARY SERIES TRACING BLACK HISTORY THROUGH GENEALOGY AND DNA SCIENCE, TO PREMIERE FEBRUARY 2006 ON PBS
Beverly Hills, CA, July 13 - A compelling combination of storytelling and science, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES is an
unprecedented four-hour series on PBS that takes Alex Haley's Roots saga to a whole new level. The series will
profile some of the most accomplished African-Americans of our time, using genealogy and DNA to trace their roots
down through American history and back to Africa. Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois professor of
the Humanities and chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES
will premiere in February 2006 on PBS. The series is a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York and Kunhardt
Renowned Scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. To Serve As Series Host
Co-Produced By Thirteen/WNET New York And Kunhardt Productions
Dr. Gates will provide access to the day-to-day lives of several prominent African-Americans, drawing on
photographs, film clips, music, and early personal records, while a team of researchers, genealogists and
forensic DNA analysts will conduct investigations into their family histories. By spotlighting African-American
role models, the series hopes to inspire millions to consider their own heritage, and underscore for all Americans
the importance of knowing their past, in order to unlock the future.
"This is one of the most exciting projects in which I have been involved," said Dr. Gates. "No television series
has explored black roots both in America and in Africa and used DNA research to investigate the origins of
individual African-Americans. AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES will be a great way to introduce young people to the
marvels of archival and scientific research and their practical applications. I hope that this project will
encourage them - and all Americans, especially those of African descent - to explore their roots."
"PBS is thrilled to be working with Dr. Gates again," said Jacoba Atlas, senior vice president and co-chief
programming executive for PBS. "AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES, following in the tradition of projects like Wonders
of the African World and America Beyond the Color Line, demonstrates PBS's ongoing commitment to presenting the
diverse experiences of all Americans - as well as its commitment to programs that can't be found anywhere else."
"We're incredibly excited about this project, which will be unlike anything viewers have experienced before,"
said Tamara E. Robinson, vice president and director of programming for Thirteen/WNET. "AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES
will be extremely dramatic television, but with an important purpose, as viewers will join these women and men as
they unearth revealing new truths about their heritage."
For some Americans, the essential question "Where do I come from?" cannot be answered; their history has been lost
or stolen. But through its genealogical detective work and groundbreaking DNA analysis, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES
will not only provide a transformational discovery for several prominent African-Americans, but also serve as an
example for all Americans of the empowerment derived from knowing their heritage.
To reconstruct the family trees of its participants, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES is working in conjunction with
Ancestry.com, a leading Internet-based genealogy firm with one of the largest online collections of family
history records. Among the scientists involved in the series' DNA analysis is Dr. Rick Kittles, an associate
professor at Ohio State University and co-founder of the ancestry-tracing firm African Ancestry, Inc., whose
database contains over 20,000 lineages from more than 389 indigenous African populations; molecular geneticist
Dr. Bruce Jackson of the non-profit African-American DNA "Roots Project"; and Dr. Mark Shriver, associate professor
of Anthropology & Genetics at Penn State University. Innovative new analytical techniques are also being developed
for the project by DNA Print Genomics Inc. in conjunction with the Santa Clara-based biotechnology firm
AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES will be accompanied by a community outreach and educational component. Furthermore,
a vibrant companion Web site will feature a beginner's guide to tracing one's own family tree, giving visitors
step-by-step guidance in how to research their own past. The online component will also provide background on
the science and scholarship featured in the series, extended interviews with series guests, and interactive
learning tools that will appeal to all age levels.
Major funding for AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES is provided by The Procter & Gamble Company and The Coca-Cola Company.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIVES is a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York and Kunhardt Productions. The project's
producers are Leslie Asako GladsjØ and Jesse Sweet. Its senior producers are Leslie D. Farrell, Graham Judd and
Dyllan McGee. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., William R. Grant and Peter Kunhardt are executive producers.
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations,
reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides
high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions.
PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational
services for adult learners. Video resources for educators are available at www.shoppbs.com/teachers. PBS's premier
kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted
learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site
on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
About Thirteen/WNET New York
Thirteen/WNET New York is one of the key program providers for public television, bringing such acclaimed series as
Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Wide Angle, Stage on Screen,
Secrets of the Dead, and Cyberchase - as well as the work of Bill Moyers - to audiences nationwide. As the flagship
public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each
week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local productions such as The Ethnic Heritage
Specials, The Thirteen Walking Tours, New York Voices, and Reel New York. With educational and community outreach
projects that extend the impact of its television productions, Thirteen takes television "out of the box." And as
broadcast and digital media converge, Thirteen is blazing trails in the creation of Web sites, enhanced television,
CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, educational software, and other cutting-edge media products. More information about Thirteen can
be found at: www.thirteen.org.
About Kunhardt Productions
Kunhardt Productions Inc. is an independent production company with a reputation for innovative programming and high
editorial standards. Founded in 1989 by ABC News veteran Peter W. Kunhardt, the company's critically-acclaimed programs
have garnered many awards, including a National Emmy. Recent productions include Mandate: The People and the President
for PBS; and Freedom: A History of US, an eight-hour PBS series based upon Joy Hakim's award-winning books. Other
notable works include: My Brother and I, a one-hour documentary (Bravo 2003) based on Robert Kennedy's oral history
of President Kennedy's administration; In Memoriam, a one-hour co-production with HBO and Brad Grey Television;
Violence: An American Tradition (HBO, 1995-nominated for two national Emmy awards); The American President, a ten-hour
PBS series profiling the forty-one Presidents of the United States; The Perfect Baby (an ABC News/Barbara Walters
Special on genetic engineering, 1990-winner of the National Association of Science Writers Award); and JFK: In His
Own Words (HBO, 1989-winner of a national Emmy award for outstanding programming).
About The Procter & Gamble Company
Two billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest
portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®,
Bounty®, Pringles®, Folgers®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Actonel®, Olay®, Clairol Nice 'n Easy®,
Head & Shoulders®, and Wella®. Since the early 1900s, P&G has developed and supported programs to enrich the lives
of African-Americans. Throughout the United States, local P&G programs and partnerships have had a positive impact
- fulfilling aspirations, providing opportunity, and preserving the rich culture of African-Americans.
For more information on P&G's longstanding and committed relationship with the African-American community and the
latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands, visit www.pg.com/diversity.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company. Along with
Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company markets four of the world's top five soft drink
brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light soft
drinks, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees and sports drinks. Through the world's largest beverage
distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate exceeding 1 billion
servings each day. For more information about The Coca-Cola Company, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.com
Donna Williams, Thirteen/WNET New York; 212.560.8030; firstname.lastname@example.org
Gloria Park, Thirteen/WNET New York; 212.560.2063; email@example.com