Finding Your Roots: Season Three airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on PBS (check local listings).


Since the premiere of his groundbreaking series, African American Lives, in 2006 through the first two seasons of Finding Your Roots, noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has unearthed the family histories of influential people helping shape our national identity. Professor Gates utilizes a team of genealogists to reconstruct the paper trail left behind by our ancestors and the world’s leading geneticists to decode our DNA and help us travel thousands of years into the past to discover the origins of our earliest forebears.

The third season of the Finding Your Roots series will continue to explore how diverse racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds challenge many of our long-held national myths. Hosted and written by Gates, this new season will continue to be compelling television, filled with emotional moments that enrich our national discussion on race, ethnicity, and identity.

In this season, Gates traces the ancestral trails of 28 new guests including Maya Rudolph, Sir Richard Branson, Soledad O’Brien, Bill Hader, Julianne Moore, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Senator John McCain, Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes, and more. Each of their stories illuminates the vast patchwork of ethnicity, race and experience that make up the fabric of America.

Finding Your Roots: Season Three is a production of McGee Media, Inkwell Films, Kunhardt Films and WETA Washington, D.C. in association with Ark Media.

John Maggio of Ark Media is the senior producer. Phil Bertelsen, Josh Gleason, Lindsey Megrue, Hazel Gurland-Pooler, Muriel Soenens, Jesse Sweet, and Jamila Wignot are directors. Sabin Streeter and Leslie Asako Gladsjo are the series producers. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the writer, host, and an executive producer. Dyllan McGee and Peter Kunhardt are executive producers. Dalton Delan and Anne Harrington are executive producers in charge for WETA.

Major corporate support for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY GATES, JR. Season Three is provided by Ancestry.com, Johnson & Johnson, POM and Ford. Support is also provided by the Ford Foundation, Candace King Weir, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS.

Executive Producer, Writer, Host

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Professor Gates has authored seventeen books and created fourteen documentary films, including Finding Your Roots, season two, now airing on PBS.  His six-part PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), which he wrote, executive produced, and hosted, earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program—Long Form, as well as the Peabody Award and NAACP Image Award. Having written for such leading publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Time, Professor Gates now serves as editor-in-chief of TheRoot.com, a daily online magazine, while overseeing the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field. In 2012, The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, a collection on his writings, was published. Professor Gates’s latest book is Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series, released by the University of North Carolina Press in 2014.

Previously for PBS, Professor Gates produced and hosted Wonders of the African World (1999), America Beyond the Color Line (2004), African American Lives (2006), Oprah’s Roots (2007), African American Lives 2 (2008), Looking for Lincoln (2009), Faces of America (2010), Black in Latin America (2011), and Finding Your Roots, season one (2012).

The recipient of fifty-three honorary degrees and numerous prizes, Professor Gates was a member of the first class awarded “genius grants” by the MacArthur Foundation in 1981, and in 1998, he became the first African American scholar to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He was named to Time’s 25 Most Influential Americans list in 1997, to Ebony’s Power 150 list in 2009, and to Ebony’s Power 100 list in 2010 and 2012. He earned his B.A. in English Language and Literature, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1973, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge in 1979. Professor Gates has directed the W. E. B. Institute for African and African American Research—now the Hutchins Center—since arriving at Harvard in 1991, and during his first fifteen years on campus, he chaired the Department of Afro-American Studies as it expanded into the Department of African and African American Studies with a full-fledged doctoral program. He also is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and serves on a wide array of boards, including the New York Public Library, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Aspen Institute, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Library of America, and the Brookings Institution.

Professor Gates’ Filmography Print

Finding Your Roots (PBS, September 2014)
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (PBS, October 2013)
Finding Your Roots Season One (PBS, March 2012)
Black in Latin America (PBS, April 2011)
Faces of America (PBS, February 2010)
Looking for Lincoln (PBS, February 2009)
African American Lives 2 (PBS, February 2008)
Oprah’s Roots: An African American Lives Special (PBS, January 2007)
African American Lives (PBS, February 2006)
America Beyond the Color Line (BBC/PBS, February 2004)
Wonders of the African World (PBS, October 1999)
Leaving Eldridge Cleaver (PBS, 1999)
The Two Nations of Black America (PBS Frontline, February 1998)
From Great Zimbabwe to Kilimantinde (BBC/PBS Great Rail Journeys, 1996)