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EYES ON THE PRIZE,
PRODUCED BY BLACKSIDE, RETURNS TO PBS ON AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
First airing of acclaimed civil rights documentary series since 1993
PBS Press Tour, Pasadena, CA, January 14, 2006 – PBS, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE,
and Blackside today announced the return of the award-winning "Eyes on the Prize,"
a landmark series documenting the history of the civil rights movement. Originally
broadcast on PBS in 1987, "Eyes on the Prize" will air on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
in fall 2006 as part of the series' 19th season. Three, two-hour programs
will be presented this fall, with an additional eight hours made available
at a later date.
"AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is committed to telling challenging stories about the
diverse communities that make up this nation," said Mark Samels,
executive producer. "We are honored to present this groundbreaking work."
Through contemporary interviews and historical footage
"Eyes on the Prize" traces the civil rights movement from the
Montgomery bus boycott in 1954 to the Voting Rights Act in 1965;
from early acts of individual courage through the flowering of a
mass movement and its eventual split into factions.
Julian Bond narrates.
"Eyes on the Prize" tells human stories of the movement for social
change in the words of both famous and less-known participants.
Since the documentary was completed, a number of key figures who appear
in the films (including George Wallace, Ralph Abernathy, and Kwame Ture,
also known as Stokely Carmichael) have died, making this record of their
testimony all the more valuable.
"Every American, every generation should have the chance to see this epic series,"
said John F. Wilson, Sr. Vice President, PBS. "It's a great victory for all of us
to have it return to PBS this fall."
The driving force behind "Eyes on the Prize" was Henry Hampton.
A participant in many civil rights landmark events – including the
1965 march from Selma to Montgomery – Hampton set out to share his
vision of what he called "the remarkable human drama that was the
civil rights movement" through the "Eyes on the Prize" documentary
and a book of the same title by Juan Williams.
After Hampton's death in 1998, his sisters, Judi Hampton and Veva Zimmerman,
assumed control of Blackside, Inc., his production company.
"So many people have contributed to the making of 'Eyes on the Prize'
and so many lives have been impacted by its message," said Judi Hampton.
"We are very grateful to The Ford Foundation and The Gilder
Foundation whose generosity made it possible to bring this important
series back to public television."
When "Eyes on the Prize" premiered in 1987, The New York Times
called it "the most ambitious documentary undertaken by black filmmakers,
and one of the largest television series ever undertaken by a
black-owned company." The series went on to win six Emmys and
numerous other awards.
Television's most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is the
leading producer of historical documentaries, related Web sites, and
DVDs. Since its 1988 debut, the series has presented engaging ,
eye-opening stories of ordinary people and their ordinary lives,
and has been recognized with every industry award: Emmys, Peabody Awards,
duPont-Columbia Awards, even Oscar nominations. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
is produced at WGBH Boston. Major funding is provided by the Alfred P.
Sloan Foundation. National corporate funding is provided by Liberty
Mutual and the Scotts Company. Additional funding is provided by the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
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CONTACT: Daphne B. Noyes, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, 617/300-5344;
Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703/739-5129