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PBS to Make THE ROOSEVELTS Available as Part of “American History Night with Ken Burns" on Thursday Nights Beginning March 26
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Series to be Followed by Re-release of THE NATIONAL PARKS and

PBS LearningMedia to Provide Educational Materials for Teachers; Burns to Participate in Online Discussions with Homebound Students; UNUM Updated to Include Clips for History Students 


March 23, 2020 – PBS announced today that beginning Thursday, March 26,it would make Ken Burns’s film THE ROOSEVELTS available to stations as part of “American History Night with Ken Burns.”  THE ROOSEVELTS will be followed by THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA and THE WAR, Burns and Lynn Novick’s acclaimed look at the experience of four American towns during World War II.

These special presentations are aligned with PBS’s ongoing efforts to provide Americans with additional high-quality viewing options and educational resources amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

These programs will also be available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members will also be able to view all episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). Viewers should check local listings for air dates and times since stations may broadcast at different times.

In a video accompanying the announcement, Burns said, “These are very tough times, and as we hunker down in our homes, the world seems a different and scary place. Many of us – most of us – have never experienced anything like this before, and we look to our past for examples of how we can get through hard times. I’ve explored, throughout our history, many stories of hardship, courage and, most of all, shared sacrifice. Ours has never been a perfect union. But we’ve been at our best when we’ve recognized our flaws and mistakes and struggled to correct them. We are at our best when we know in our hearts that the U.S. also means us — all of us.

“PBS and our member stations are committed to using our broad reach and local presence to help Americans find light and hope during these uncertain times,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “Through his epic films, Ken Burns has shown us time and again how our country can accomplish great things in the face of tremendous adversity, and we look forward to sharing these extraordinary stories with our audiences in the coming months.”

THE ROOSEVELTS, which was written by Geoffrey C. Ward, first aired in 2014. The seven-part film tells the stories of three deeply flawed but hugely heroic individuals —Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt — who not only redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other, but also redefined the role of the United States in the wider world. The series encompasses the history the Roosevelts helped to shape: the expansion of national parks, the digging of the Panama Canal, the passage of innovative New Deal programs, the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights abroad. But it is also an intimate human story about love, betrayal, courage and the conquering of fear. 

PBS Learning Media, PBS’s free service that provides thousands of contextualized learning materials aligned to state and national standards, will offer educators nationwide resources timed to the re-release of these films in the “Ken Burns Classroom" hub. This includes a library of videos, interactive media and other materials to help students further explore the complex historical events and issues illustrated in the films. Burns will also participate in teacher forums and online discussions with students.

Ken Burns’s UNUM, a site that uses clips from many of the director’s films to explore the connections between history and current events, will also develop thematic playlists looking at evergreen themes from THE ROOSEVELTS and other films re-released as part of “American History Night with Ken Burns.” Burns has also added a section to UNUM for U.S. history students, with clips from his films organized by AP U.S. History course themes to assist with their studies.

A new film executive produced by Ken Burns and directed by Sarah Burns and David McMahon – EAST LAKE MEADOWS: A PUBLIC HOUSING STORY – will air on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). The film explores the themes of racism and housing, focusing specially on East Lake Meadows, a public housing project in Atlanta. The film trailer is available on PBS’s YouTube page.

THE ROOSEVELTS will air beginning Thursday, March 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). The final two episodes will air on Thursday, April 30. THE NATIONAL PARKS, which was written by Dayton Duncan, will begin on June 11 and air Thursdays through July 9, followed by THE WAR, airing Thursdays, July 23-September 4. 

Additional information about THE ROOSEVELTS is available at here. Press materials are available on PBS PressRoom here.

Funding is provided by Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Mr. Jack C. Taylor; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; National Endowment for the Humanities; Rosalind P. Walter; Public Broadcasting Service and members of The Better Angels Society, including Jessica & John Fullerton; The Pfeil Foundation – David, Mindy, Robert & Daniel Pfeil; Joan Wellhouse Newton; Bonnie & Tom McCloskey; and The Golkin Family.

THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, DC. Director: Ken Burns. Writer: Geoffrey C. Ward. Producers: Ken Burns, Paul Barnes and Pam Tubridy-Baucom. Editors: Paul Barnes, Tricia Reidy and Erik Ewers. Cinematographers: Buddy Squires and Alan Moore.

About PBS
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Joe Deplasco, DKC Public Relations,

Jennifer Byrne, PBS,