American Masters 30th Anniversary Season in 2016

American Masters is pleased to announce the preliminary 2016 line-up for its 30th anniversary season on PBS.

Mike Nichols: American Masters

Mike Nichols
Season 30 premiere: Friday, January 29 at 9 p.m. Meet one of America’s late, great directors Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Angels in America), who discusses his life and 50-year artistic career, from the comedy duo Nichols and May to his final film, Charlie Wilson’s War. The documentary includes new interviews with Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and more. Directed by Elaine May. Produced by Julian Schlossberg. Learn more about the film.

American Masters: B.B. King: The Life of Riley

B.B. King

B.B. King performs on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo: Kevin Nixon

Friday, February 12 at 9 p.m. in honor of Black History Month. Explore B.B. King’s challenging life and career through candid interviews with the “King of the Blues” filmed shortly before his death and fellow music stars, including Bono, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and Ringo Starr, and more.

American Masters — Carole King: Natural Woman

Carole King

Carole King. Photo: Joseph Sinnott / ©2015 THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 19 at 9 p.m. Delve into the hit singer-songwriter’s life and career from 1960s New York to the music mecca of 70s LA to the present. Carole King joins collaborators and family in new interviews, while rare home movies, performances and photos complete the tapestry. The year 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of King’s landmark, four-time Grammy-winning album Tapestry, which was released February 10, 1971. Learn more about Carole King.

American Masters: Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Fats Domino

Friday, February 26 at 10 p.m. in honor of Black History Month and Fats Domino’s birthday. Discover how Fats Domino’s brand of New Orleans rhythm and blues became rock ‘n’ roll. As popular in the 1950s as Elvis Presley, Domino suffered degradations in the pre-Civil Rights South and aided integration through his influential music.

American Masters — Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl

Loretta Lynn. Photo: David McClister

Loretta Lynn. Photo: David McClister

Friday, March 4 at 9 p.m. in honor of Women’s History Month. Explore the country legend’s hard-fought road to stardom. From her Appalachian roots to the Oscar-winning biopic of her life, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Loretta Lynn struggled to balance family and her music career and is still going strong after more than 50 years. The documentary premieres the same day Lynn’s first new studio album in over 10 years, Full Circle (Legacy Recordings), is released.

American Masters — Janis: Little Girl Blue

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Tuesday, May 3 at 8/7c. Observe Janis Joplin’s life through intimate letters and rare footage in the first in-depth celebration of the iconic rock singer. Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil, West of Memphis) presents a portrait of a complicated, driven, often beleaguered artist. Chan Marshall (also known as Cat Power) narrates. Oscar-winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear) is one of the film’s producers. Note: 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of Joplin’s final studio album Pearl, which was released January 11, 1971.

American Masters — The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End

The Highwaymen

The Highwaymen (l to r): Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings

Friday, May 27 at 9/8c. Discover the story behind the pioneering outlaw country music supergroup that featured Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, told through vintage performances and new interviews about life on the road and in the studio.

Fall 2016

Two American Masters documentaries slated for Fall 2016 on PBS will world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in January 2016: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (Day One Film) and Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (directors Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack).

American Masters — Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

Norman LearFall 2016. How did a poor Jewish kid from Connecticut bring us Archie Bunker and become one of the most successful television producers ever? Norman Lear brought provocative subjects like war, poverty, and prejudice into 120 million homes every week. Norman Lear proved that social change was possible through an unlikely prism: laughter.

American Masters — Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

Maya AngelouFall 2016. The remarkable story of Maya Angelou — iconic writer, poet, actress and activist whose life has intersected some of the most profound moments in recent American history.