Skip to main content
About PBS
Frontline on PBS Presents “Divided States of America,” A Look at the Polarized Nation the Next President Will Inherit
Email share

Four-Hour Miniseries Will Air Over Two Nights, Jan. 17 & 18, 2017, 9-11pm EST –

BEVERLY HILLS, CA; July 28, 2016 -- Days before the inauguration of the 45th American president in January 2017, FRONTLINE will premiere DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA, a four-hour, two-night documentary miniseries that looks back at events during the Obama presidency that have revealed deep divisions in our country, and examines the America the next president will inherit. Offering an in-depth view of the partisanship that gridlocked Washington and charged the 2016 presidential campaign, the rise of populist anger on both sides of the aisle and the racial tensions that have erupted throughout the country, DIVIDED STATES airs Tuesday-Wednesday, January 17-18, 2017, 9-11pm EST (check local listings).

Drawing on extensive new interviews with White House and Congressional insiders from both parties, as well as FRONTLINE’s vast body of reporting on the Obama era, DIVIDED STATES digs into the causes of America’s intense polarization and questions how the next president and Congress can govern in an era of complex challenges. This television event, led by veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team, tells a revealing story that’s not just about Barack Obama’s presidency, but about America itself.

“When America elected its first black president eight years ago, many thought we were entering a new and hopeful era,” says Kirk. “But now, from race to guns to the economy, we’re living in a deeply polarized moment — in American politics and American life. This film explores why we’ve reached this point, how Washington has reacted to the upheaval that is fast defining our times and what it means as we look to the tenure of the next president.”

“As Obama’s presidency ends and a new one begins, this is the time to take a deep look at where we stand – and why,” says FRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “Thoughtful, rigorous and time-intensive reporting provides a comprehensive yet nuanced exploration of a significant moment in American history.”

“Every day, millions of Americans turn to PBS as a trusted source of news and public affairs programming with diverse perspectives and thought-provoking content that’s timely and relevant to the concerns of our viewers,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “FRONTLINE’s DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA examines the many issues faced during the Obama presidency, just as the new president-elect prepares to be sworn into office. With FRONTLINE’s signature in-depth reporting, this special will provide viewers a new viewpoint on both where we’ve been and where we’re headed as a country.”



FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest-running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 75 Emmy Awards and 18 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTubeTumblr and Google+ to learn more.

FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

About PBS

PBS, with 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 33 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website,, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

– PBS –

Patrice Taddonio, FRONTLINE: 617-300-5375;

Atiya Frederick, PBS: 703-739-5147;


For images and additional up-to-date information on this and other PBS programs, visit PBS PressRoom at