Coming in January on FRONTLINE

January 3, 2017
by Patrice Taddonio Assistant Director of Audience Development

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona March 19, 2016. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

When Donald Trump is inaugurated as the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20, he’ll inherit a country deeply divided by politics, race, gender, culture and economics — divisions that helped fuel his rise to the White House.

How did Trump win? What are the roots of the partisan gridlock, populist anger and racial tensions that charged the 2016 presidential campaign? And what is the legacy of President Barack Obama, who rode to office on the promise of transforming politics and uniting America?

As FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath announced in November, we’re dedicating much of this month to investigating those questions.

We’ll bring you President Trump (Jan. 3), Divided States of America (a four-hour miniseries airing Jan. 17-18) and Trump’s Road to the White House (Jan. 24) — documentaries from filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team that chronicle Trump’s rise and his campaign, and explore the division and polarization in Washington that frustrated the Obama presidency and laid the groundwork for the election of a defiant outsider.

“These films are focused on helping Americans understand the state of their government at this important historical moment, and telling the inside story of how we got here as only FRONTLINE can,” says Kirk.

Drawing on new, in-depth interviews with White House officials, Cabinet members, senior congressional leaders from both parties, and Trump campaign insiders — as well as one of the richest archives in journalism — FRONTLINE’s January lineup will be essential viewing for Americans looking to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s shifting political landscape as a new era begins.

Also this month: In Battle for Iraq, we’ll bring you raw, on-the-ground reporting that reveals what’s happening in areas of the country where ISIS is being challenged.

Here’s a closer look at our January lineup.

Jan. 3: President Trump

How did Donald Trump transform himself from real estate developer to reality television star to president? With interviews from the critically acclaimed documentary The Choice 2016, this investigative biography paints a revealing portrait of the key moments that shaped Trump — from his childhood, to his tumultuous career in the public eye.

Jan. 17 & 18: Divided States of America

This epic miniseries offers television’s most comprehensive exploration of the Obama era. Unfolding over two nights, it tells the inside story of how the 44th president’s promise of change and unity — and his belief in the possibility of bipartisanship — quickly collided with political realities and racially-charged resistance. With depth and insight, Divided States identifies turning points over the past eight years that exposed simmering divisions among the American people, explores the civil war within the Republican party and the partisanship that gridlocked Washington — and shows that, though the political establishment on both sides was shocked when Donald Trump won the presidency, his success shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

Jan. 24: Trump’s Road to the White House

An investigation of how Donald Trump defied expectations to win the presidency. Through revealing interviews with campaign insiders, the film examines how Trump rallied millions of supporters and defeated adversaries — and what it suggests about how he will govern.

Jan. 31: Battle for Iraq

With rare access, this documentary investigates the powerful militias and growing sectarianism shaping Iraq. Also in this two-part hour: a reporter’s journey into the battle for Mosul.

Check your local PBS listings for air times.

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