American Masters, Thirteen/WNET’s award-winning biography series, celebrates our arts and culture. Created and launched in 1986 by Executive Producer Susan Lacy, the series set the standard for documentary film profiles, accruing widespread critical acclaim – 64 Emmy nominations and 24 awards – including for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011 – the 2012 and 2013 Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television; the 2012 IDA award for Best Continuing Series; 12 Peabody Awards, an Oscar and three Grammys. American Masters enjoys recognition from film events across the country and international festivals from London to Berlin and Toronto to Melbourne. The International Documentary Association, the Christopher Awards and the Chicago International Television Awards have all honored us as Outstanding Documentary Series; we have received the Banff Grand Prize and the Television Critics Association award for Outstanding Movies.
When it comes to biography, no one’s doing it better than American Masters.
– Wall Street Journal
American Masters has produced an exceptional library of 180 titles, bringing unique originality and perspective to exploring the lives and illuminating the creative journeys of our most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists and filmmakers – those who have “left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape.” Balancing a broad cast of characters and artistic approaches, while preserving historical authenticity and intellectual integrity, these portraits reveal the style and substance of each subject. American Masters sustains high audience awareness and loyalty, averaging 2-to-5 million viewers per program.
… one of the greatest cultural storytelling franchises in American life.
– The Baltimore Sun
In content and in style, these are individually crafted films, reflecting the particular attention deserved by our artists – such great talents as Charlie Chaplin, Billie Holliday and Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Capa, Ernest Hemingway and James Baldwin, Bob Newhart, Henry Luce and Martha Graham, Sidney Poitier, Charlie Parker and Willie Nelson, Lena Horne, Marilyn Monroe and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leonard Bernstein, Ralph Ellison and Gore Vidal, Judy Garland, Bob Dylan and Annie Leibovitz, John Ford and John Wayne, Pete Seeger, Zora Neale Hurston and I.M. Pei, Merle Haggard and John Lennon, Bill T. Jones and Woody Allen – and such influential cultural institutions as the Actor’s Studio, the Algonquin Round Table, the Negro Ensemble Company, the Juilliard School, Atlantic Records, Pearl Jam and 60 Minutes.
It’s like the Pulitzer for this business.
– Don Hewitt
Fascinating in their individuality as well as in the aggregate, American Masters has become a cultural legacy in its own right, producing and presenting the extraordinary mosaic of our creative heritage and broadening viewer appreciation of our nation’s traditions and character. An artist’s work can capture, reflect and even shape a society’s experience. Without art, we would lack an identity, a soul and a voice. American Masters exists to give life to that voice.
… the kind of PBS program even a die-hard congressional critic of PBS can love.
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The AMERICAN MASTERS team