NOVA's "Secrets of Making Money" was originally broadcast in October, 1996. Since then a few key facts as reported in the program have changed. (See program transcript). Here is a brief update.
Introduced in 1996, the U.S. $100 bill, which was the focus of the program, is no longer the only new note of US currency. The Treasury Department introduced a new $50 note in 1997, a new $20 note in 1998, and new $5 and $10 notes in 2000.
Counterfeiting remains a serious problem, however. According to the Secret Service, counterfeiters put $47.5 million into circulation in 2001.
To counter the counterfeiters, particularly those using sophisticated computer techniques, the Treasury, along with the Federal Reserve Board, has announced plans for a further redesign of some notes: the $100, the $50, and the $20.
Circulation of this even newer design, called NexGen, could begin as early as 2003.
The NexGen notes will look much like their predecessors and include the same security features. But they will also sport subtle background colors. According to the Treasury, "While color is not in itself a security feature, the use of color provides the opportunity to add additional features that could assist in deterring counterfeiting."
— Ethan Herberman.