ABOUT HEDRICK SMITH PRODUCTIONS
The Hedrick Smith Productions team sets up for the Eric Smith interview.
Hedrick Smith Productions is an independent television production company specializing
in creating TV documentaries and programs for PBS. It was founded in 1990 by Hedrick
Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent, editor and Washington
Bureau Chief for the New York Times . Over the past decade, Hedrick Smith
and his production teams have created fourteen prime-time PBS mini-series and broadcast
specials, as well other free-standing programs, winning several of television's
most prestigious awards.
HSP produces shows on such varied current topics as campaign finance reform,
the power of the media and lobbies in Washington, grass roots civic action on
teen violence and hate crime, Russia's rocky road to freedom and a market economy,
how the U.S. middle class copes with global economic competition, models of effective
education to prepare American mid-kids for the 21st century economy, the quality
of health care for average Americans and the ordinary heroes making American
democracy work at the local level. HSP has also created interactive web sites,
symposiums for webcast and both written and video outreach materials that are
widely used by American universities, colleges, high schools, businesses, civic
groups and other organizations.
Since 1990, Hedrick Smith Productions has established its trademark for high
quality programs that not only provide insightful analysis of current issues
and problems but solid case studies that show people solving these problems.
Hedrick Smith Productions is known for television that strikes a contrast with
typical news and public affairs programs, both by a commitment to showing solutions
and success stories as well as examining broad social issues and their roots,
and also by giving voice to ordinary people and engaging them in dialogues about
critical issues confronting American society.
With a staff of about 10 to 12 producers, field producers, researchers and support
personnel, Hedrick Smith Productions has filmed in Germany, Holland, China, Japan,
Canada, Mexico and all over the U.S., including inner city Washington, D.C. Our
staff represents more than 80 years of combined experience in news and public
affairs journalism, including more than 35 years for the major commercial TV
Hedrick Smith Productions has developed expertise not only in long-form documentary
production but also in arranging, staging and filming town halls and community
dialogues. During a production, the company hires free-lance camera crews, editors
and mobile film units. Hedrick Smith Productions has the technical capability
of editing broadcast quality documentaries, however, we sub-contract for complex
graphics and post-production.
Among the award-winning PBS documentaries and mini-series created by Hedrick
Smith Productions are Challenge to America, Across
the River, The People and the Power Game, Surviving
the Bottom Line, Seeking Solutions, Critical
Condition and Juggling
Work and Family . Programs produced for Frontline on PBS include Dr.
Solomon's Dilemma, Inside the Terror Network , Bigger
Than Enron , Tax Me If You Can, The Wall Street
Fix, and Is Wal-mart Good for America?
Prior to forming his own company, Hedrick Smith was also the creator, correspondent
and host for two other major PBS series, The Power Game: How Washington
Works in 1989 and Inside Gorbachev's USSR, which
won both the 1991 George Polk Award for television and the duPont-Columbia Gold
Baton for the most outstanding public affairs production on U.S. television in
any medium. Mr. Smith, former Moscow Bureau Chief for The New York Times and
author of two books about Russia, including the world-wide bestseller, The
Russians, also hosted several other documentaries in 1991-92 including Soviets:
Guns, Tanks And Gorbachev, Baltic Requiem and After
Hedrick Smith Production's first major production, Challenge to America,
was a five-part documentary and discussion series that explored the economic
challenge posed to America by such countries as Germany and Japan. It examined
the economic cultures of America and its two main global rivals, and showed successful
strategies of U.S. businesses and high schools. After multiple broadcasts by
PBS in 1994, Challenge To America is now being used by hundreds of businesses
and educational institutions for education and training programs, along with
Hedrick Smith Production's related materials – View from the Top,
a set of ten interviews with internationally renowned CEOs; and Pathways
to Success, a special film showing successful high school programs.
This series won the international RIAS television competition in Berlin.
Across the River , a two-hour program combining a documentary
and a community dialogue, portrayed positive community development and educational
programs in several troubled neighborhoods of Washington , D.C. The documentary,
premiered by PBS in October 1995 and winner of the national Sidney Hillman Award
for the most outstanding TV production of the year, exploded stereotypes about
inner-city neighborhoods to show concrete examples of successful efforts to combat
crime, school dropouts, health problems, middle class flight and urban decay.
The community dialogue brought together downtown civic and business leaders with
The People and the Power Game, broadcast by PBS in September
1996, examined the four critical power centers in American politics – the Presidency,
Congress, the Media and Lobbies – after the Republican takeover of Congress in
1994 and during Bill Clinton's scramble to save his presidency. This series built
upon Hedrick Smith's best-selling book, The Power Game: How Washington Works (1989).
As a special feature, the program drew voters into two forum discussions on how
to overcome gridlock and how to respond to well-financed lobbies and tabloid-driven
Surviving the Bottom Line, first broadcast by PBS in January
1998 with reruns continuing through September, presented a compelling account
of the forces, institutions and values driving the new American economy, their
impact on people's lives, as well as programs for preparing young people for
the 21st century economy and various corporate and social strategies for easing
the burdens of downsizing, part-time work and the bottom-line. Already more than
2,000 sets of the video series have been obtained or purchased by leading corporations,
universities, colleges and school systems for educational and training programs.
Seeking Solutions, a 2-hour special broadcast by PBS in 1999,
focused on successful grassroots efforts to combat teen violence and hate crime
through a mix of compelling documentary segments and public dialogues. Individual
PBS stations across America created their own 30-minute programs on local anti-crime
efforts as companion pieces to the national broadcast of Seeking Solutions. Following
in the wake of the killings at Colombine High School in Littleton, Colorado,
this program won a national public service award for U.S. television from Sigma
Delta Chi, the journalism honor society.
Duke Ellington's Washington , broadcast on PBS in 2000, was
Hedrick Smith Productions first historical documentary about young Duke Ellington
and the remarkable African American community in Washington D.C. which nurtured
the emergence of a surprising array of talented African-American lawyers, doctors,
businessmen and cultural figures, epitomized by Ellington. The program combines
the celebrated past of Washington's black community with its modern revival of
that heritage along with another of Ellington's legacies, the Duke Ellington
School of the Arts, which is producing a new stream of talented D.C. musicians,
actors, dancers and artists of all kinds.
In 2000, Hedrick Smith Productions produced two programs on health care. Dr.
Solomon's Dilemma was a one-hour program for Frontline on
PBS about the problems doctors face in trying to control health costs. Critical
Condition, a three-hour PBS pre-election special, examined the problems
of fatal medical errors, care for the chronically ill and the problems of Americans
who lack health insurance. Critical Condition's probing analysis of health care
in America was nominated for an Emmy.
With so many working parents, long hours, and ever-increasing demands of the
24/7 global economy blurring the line between work and home, people all over
America are struggling with the conflicting demands of job and home. Juggling
Work and Family, a two-hour program broadcast by PBS in 2002, explored
these issues. The program shows personal stories of the growing stress between
work and family and reports on progressive efforts by companies, unions and individuals
to alleviate the pressure for working couples and single parents.
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck, about the legendary American
jazz pianist, was a historical one-hour PBS special broadcast in 2002. For over
fifty years Dave Brubeck has been a giant of American jazz, improvising in unique
rhythms and time signatures and recording the first jazz album to go gold. Today,
in his eighties, he is going strong – performing, traveling, drawing sell-out
crowds, creating new music and reaching new heights.
Since 2000, Hedrick Smith Productions has also produced programs for Frontline on
PBS. Inside the Terror Network uncovered the personal histories
of the terrorist leaders and traced their movements and plotting in the days,
months and years leading up to September 11th. Bigger Than Enron examined
how the corporate watchdogs – the bankers, lawyers, regulators, politicians and
above all, the accountants – failed to prevent Enron and other scandals from
occurring. Tax Me If You Can investigated the rampant abuse
of tax shelters since the late 1990s by some of America's biggest and most-respected
accounting firms, law firms and investment banks that were then aggressively
marketed to big corporations and wealthy individuals. The Wall Street
Fix investigated how Wall Street drove the telecom
boom, pocketing enormous profits and then took millions of investors on a ride
that eventually cost $2 trillion in losses on WorldCom and other telecom stocks. Is
Wal-mart Good for America? explored
the growing controversy over the Wal-Mart way of doing business and whether a
single retail giant has changed the American economy.
Through a multi-media outreach effort, Hedrick Smith Productions' programs
are designed for long shelf life, supported by educational materials and web
pages, as well as PBS audiences in the millions.
Visit Hedrick Smith Productions: http://www.hedricksmith.com