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PBS AND WGBH BOSTON ANNOUNCE "NEW ORLEANS"


Acclaimed Filmmaker Stephen Ives Tapped by AMERICAN EXPERIENCE to Produce New Documentary



PBS Press Tour, Pasadena, CA, January 14, 2006 – AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS' celebrated documentary series produced at WGBH Boston, today announced production of a film about New Orleans, covering nearly a century of the city's history, from Reconstruction through school desegregation and the civil rights movement. The series has chosen filmmaker Stephen Ives of Insignia Films to direct the two-hour special, which will air in 2007.

"You set foot in New Orleans, even in the wake of Katrina, and you immediately sense the distinctiveness of the city," said Ives. "New Orleans has always been a laboratory for the American experiment—a place where the astonishing mingling of peoples has created the most vibrant and original culture in America."

"With the recent devastation to the city, the time is right to reflect on the rich history of New Orleans," said AMERICAN EXPERIENCE executive producer Mark Samels. "There are questions swirling as to whether this town that lies below sea level can — or even should — be rebuilt. We believe this film will play an important role in that national dialogue."

John F. Wilson, Sr. Vice President, PBS Programming, said, "PBS has often been noted as the nation's 'storyteller' and with the utter destruction of so much of the visual history of this great city, it's never been more important for us to preserve and illuminate these essential American legacies for future generations."

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's previous city profiles include "New York: A Documentary Film" and "Chicago: City of the Century"; November 2005 saw the PBS premiere of "Las Vegas: An Unconventional History," also from Ives. Now in its 18th season, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is the most-watched history series on television and the leading producer of historical documentaries, Web sites, and DVDs.

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. 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. PBS' 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, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle shows and children's programs and many public radio favorites. WGBH is the number one producer of Web sites on pbs.org, and a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who rely on captioning or video descriptions. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards—even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence.

-PBS-


CONTACT: Daphne B. Noyes, WGBH, 617/300-344; daphne_noyes@wgbh.org

Lauren Prestileo, WGBH, 617/300-5329; lauren_prestileo@wgbh.org

Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703/739-5129; cjohnson@pbs.org

Press Information:
pbs.org/pressroom
pressroom.wgbh.org

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