One of the most durable and worthwhile jewels in public television’s crown.
TV Worth Watching
American Masters, THIRTEEN’s award-winning biography series, celebrates our arts and culture. Launched in 1986, the series has set the standard for documentary film profiles, accruing widespread critical acclaim. Awards include 70 Emmy nominations and 26 awards — nine for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series since 1999 and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabody Awards; three Grammys; an Oscar; two Producers Guild Awards for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television; and the 2012 IDA Award for Best Continuing Series. American Masters enjoys recognition from film events across the country and international festivals from London to Berlin and Toronto to Melbourne. Other honors include The Christopher Awards and the Chicago International Television Awards as Outstanding Documentary Series, and 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, bringing unique originality and perspective to illuminate the creative journeys of our most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists, filmmakers and those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape. Balancing a broad and diverse cast of characters and artistic approaches, while preserving historical authenticity and intellectual integrity, these portraits reveal the style and substance of each subject. The series entered its 28th season on PBS in 2014 beginning with Salinger — the series’ 200th episode.
It’s like the Pulitzer for this business.
The series’ individually crafted films reflect the specific attention deserved by American Masters subjects, including such great talents as Arthur Miller (the series’ first subject), Georgia O’Keeffe, James Baldwin, Diego Rivera, Martha Graham, F. Scott Fitzgerald, I.M. Pei, Leonard Bernstein, Sidney Poitier, Judy Garland, John James Audubon, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Johnny Carson, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Einstein, Rod Serling, Bill T. Jones, Lucille Ball, Paul Simon, Richard Avedon, John Cassavetes, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Gehry, Woody Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix, Edward Curtis, Julia Child, Walter Cronkite, Woody Allen, and Billie Jean King, as well as influential cultural institutions and eras such as the Actor’s Studio, the Algonquin Round Table, the Negro Ensemble Company, the Juilliard School, 60 Minutes, the Joffrey Ballet, and a century of Chinese American cinematic history in Hollywood Chinese.
…one of the greatest cultural storytelling franchises in American life.
The Baltimore Sun
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.