Series Blog

Archive for Producer's Picks

Coming in February 2014


Watch American Experience Executive Producer Mark Samels describe what's coming in February to PBS. The Amish: Shunned centers on seven people who have been shunned as well as voices from the Amish community defending the practice. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were emblematic figures that became legend. The Rise and Fall of Penn Station is about a railroad company's effort to conquer Manhattan.


Seven Score and Ten Years Later


Seven score and ten years after Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, we asked people from across the country to send videos of themselves reciting the famous speech. They responded with gusto. How much do you know? 


Gettysburg Address @ 150


Calling all history buffs: We need your help this week -- and your videos! This month marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's delivery of the Gettysburg Address. Help us honor the occasion by sending us a video of you, your students, or your child reciting the Address. We need your videos by NEXT WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13!! If your video is selected, it will be one of many featured on the American Experience website and social media sites.


A Retrospective


This fall American Experience is celebrating 25 years on the air. We have celebrated with a staff spirit week (we each dressed up as our favorite American Experience documentary) and we just finished a Best Film Ever bracket (winner: Abraham & Mary Lincoln, though so many people complained that their favorite was not included that we may just have to do another!)

To date, we have produced 287 documentaries, over 399 hours and 428 nights of original television programming. In this 3-minute video retrospective, our longtime editor has collected some of our best, most moving, and most controversial film moments. 

Which is your favorite?


How Procrastination Can Lead to a Job...


If you had asked me in 2006 where I saw myself in seven years, I wouldn't have said "working for a television history series". 

In 2006, I was a student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, majoring in nutrition science with the goal of becoming a registered dietitian. That summer, I was taking the first of two Organic Chemistry classes I would have to take to complete my degree. 

During extended periods of procrastination - which were frequent - I would go to the local video rental store and scan the documentary aisle for anything that would further distract me from my studies. One day I came across American Experience's "The Kennedys". I didn't know much about the Kennedy family aside from what was taught in school and what I had read in People Magazine, so I decided to rent it.


Vanessa's Favorite AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Film: The Donner Party


Just a little background - I love horror movies. I've seen every classic horror movie and then some. So I was completely mesmerized by The Donner Party when I watched it in 2009. It's a tragic story about pioneers looking to start new lives outWest. They put their faith in a new route across Utah and Nevada - Hastings Cutoff. Little did they know that the man who created the map, Lansford Hastings, had never taken the trail by wagons.