Skip to main content
About PBS
Email share

Acclaimed Filmmaker to Produce Documentary Films Exclusively for PBS

Pasadena, CA, January 13, 2007 - PBS has extended its agreement with the acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns to 2022, John Boland, Chief Content Officer, announced today during the PBS executive session at the television critics meeting in Pasadena, CA. Mr. Boland also shared a short clip from Burns' upcoming film, THE WAR, which is scheduled to air in September 2007.

"We are, of course, very excited that Ken's documentaries will continue to air exclusively on PBS," Boland said. "Ken has the remarkable ability to educate and entertain at the same time, combining the everyday drama of history with gripping storytelling. He's an American treasure and the very essence of what we at PBS consider the best in television."

Under the agreement, which will run through 2022, Burns will produce at least three major series, like THE CIVIL WAR, BASEBALL or JAZZ, and two to three shorter films, such as those that have appeared as part of his biography series, which include films on Mark Twain, boxer Jack Johnson, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and feminists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

"There was never a question that my relationship with PBS would continue," Ken Burns said. "There is no other place, new or old media, where we can tell these stories in the way we do, with both the allotment of time and the extraordinary outreach and support. I started my documentary career working with PBS, and I'm very proud that I will live out my professional life there."

In addition to the exclusive agreement involving new documentaries, the contract with Burns includes home video and audio visual rights for existing and new documentaries through at least 2025.

The agreement does not stipulate topics for Burns; he is currently working on films related to the history of the national parks, as well as Prohibition. Burns' next film, THE WAR, is a seven-part series that explores the history and horror of the Second World War from an American perspective by following the fortunes of so-called ordinary men and women who get caught up in the greatest cataclysm in human history. THE WAR, produced and directed by Burns and his long-time colleague Lynn Novick, will premiere on Sunday, September 16, at 8:00 p.m. eastern time.

About PBS

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.


Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703-739-5129;
Joe DePlasco/Dave Donovan, Dan Klores Communications, 212-685-4300
Press Photos and other materials available at PBS PressRoom -