SEASON SIX OF “FINDING YOUR ROOTS
WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.”
PREMIERES FALL 2019 AND AIRS THROUGH FALL 2020 ON PBS, BEGINNING OCTOBER 8
New Episodes Explore Ancestry Stories of
Melissa McCarthy, Jordan Peele, Issa Rae, Justina Machado, Sasheer Zamata,
Isabella Rossellini, Anjelica Huston, Gayle King, Nancy Pelosi, RuPaul, Zac Posen,
Terry Gross, Marc Maron, Jeff Goldblum, Eric Stonestreet, Queen Latifah, Jeffrey Wright,
Sigourney Weaver, Amy Ryan, Sterling K. Brown, Jon Batiste, Diane von Furstenberg and more.
Season Six Will Span October 2019 to October 2020 with Two New Episodes Premiering in October 2019, Eight Episodes Premiering in January 2020, and Six Episodes Premiering in October 2020.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA (July 29, 2019) — Today’s most compelling personalities discover the surprising stories buried within their own families in the sixth season of the critically acclaimed PBS series FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. The new season will premiere on Tuesdays beginning October 8, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS.
FINDING YOUR ROOTS Season Six’s extended broadcast lineup will span from Fall 2019 through Fall 2020. The Fall 2019 season will premiere with two new episodes followed by five encore presentations of the series. Season Six will return in early 2020 with eight weeks of new episodes featuring both new guests and re-mixed thematic combinations of former participants’ stories. FINDING YOUR ROOTS returns in Fall 2020 with six additional new episodes showcasing new and re-mixed episodes. This extended broadcast footprint will serve to expand FINDING YOUR ROOTS’ reach to its viewers throughout 2019 and 2020.
The sixth season of Finding Your Roots on PBS features 27 fascinating new guests who are game-changers in their fields, with family histories that illustrate the power and diversity of the human experience. Among them are actors Jeffrey Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Melissa McCarthy and Sterling K. Brown; groundbreaking director Jordan Peele, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; acclaimed journalists Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell; musicians Queen Latifah and Jon Batiste; legendary fashion designers Diane von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez and Zac Posen; as well as a host of other luminaries, including Jeff Goldblum, Anjelica Huston, Isabella Rossellini, Terry Gross, Marc Maron, Eric Stonestreet, Issa Rae, Amy Ryan and Justina Machado. Some of the guests whose stories we will revisit this season include actors Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Marisa Tomei; journalist Lisa Ling; radio talk show host Joe Madison; musician Questlove; and late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
In sharing their stories, Finding Your Roots uses every tool available, from cutting-edge DNA research to old-school genealogical sleuthing, to reveal long-buried secrets. Spanning the globe, the series compiles family trees that trace throughout the United States and Canada; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Germany, Poland, Ireland, Russia and more. Episode to episode, audiences will meet guests’ ancestors who were businesspeople and bootleggers, war heroes and criminals, farmers and immigrants, the persecuted and the persevering under the most extraordinary circumstances. Together, the arc of each guest’s family personalizes history while emphasizing the human connections that unite us.
At the center of it all, guiding every discovery, is host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. “Hosting Finding Your Roots is not only profoundly rewarding as a scholar,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said. “It’s part of a larger mission to inspire us all to seek out the stories of our ancestors—to see history as something that we are all a part of, that we all have a stake in—and, in realizing this, to help us arrive at a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the human family. Our series strives to show how all Americans are related, despite our present divisive politics, at the most fundamental levels of all: through our families, through our immigrant experiences, whether forced or voluntary, and at the level of the genome. I couldn’t be more excited to share Season Six with our viewers.”
Assembling the extensive family trees and family narratives alongside Dr. Gates are DNA expert
CeCe Moore (Founder, The DNA Detective) and expert genealogist Johni Cerny (Founder, Lineages).
FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six premieres on Tuesdays beginning Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. ET with an episode featuring Isabella Rossellini, Anjelica Huston and Mia Farrow. Season Six includes the following episodes:
OCTOBER 8, 2019
• “Hollywood Royalty” with Isabella Rossellini, Anjelica Huston, Mia Farrow
OCTOBER 15, 2019
• “Off the Farm” with Melissa McCarthy, Eric Stonestreet
JANUARY 2020 EPISODES
- “Secrets & Lies” with Sigourney Weaver, Amy Ryan, Justina Machado
- “This Land is My Land” with Queen Latifah, Jeffrey Wright
• “Beyond the Pale” with Terry Gross, Marc Maron, Jeff Goldblum
- “Homecomings” with Sterling K. Brown, Jon Batiste, Sasheer Zamata
- “Science Pioneers” with Harold Varmus, Francis Collins, Shirley Jackson
- “Slave Trade” with Questlove, S. Epatha Merkerson, Ava DuVernay
- “Italian Roots” with Marisa Tomei, Jimmy Kimmel, John Turturro
- “Criminal Mind” with Laura Linney, Lisa Ling, Soledad O’Brien
OCTOBER 2020 EPISODES
- “Fashion’s Roots” with Diane Von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, RuPaul
- “Breaking the Silences” with Gayle King, Jordan Peele, Issa Rae
- “DNA Mysteries” with Ann Curry, Téa Leoni, Joe Madison
- “War Stories” with Kehinde Wiley, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader
- “Flight” with Lupita Nyong’o, Lidia Bastianich, Scarlett Johannsson
- “Coming to America” with Nancy Pelosi, Norah O’Donnell, Zac Posen
In conjunction with the broadcast, co-producer WETA, the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, will work with stations across the country to encourage viewers to explore and share their family histories via social media using the hashtag #FindingYourRoots on Facebook and Twitter, via Facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS and @HenryLouisGates, and on the series companion site, pbs.org/FindingYourRoots.
FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six is a production of McGee Media, Inkwell Films, Kunhardt Films and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark Media. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the writer, host, and executive producer. Dyllan McGee and Peter Kunhardt are executive producers. Dalton Delan and John F. Wilson are executive producers in charge for WETA. Bill Gardner is the executive in charge for PBS. Sabin Streeter is the senior producer. Hannah Olson is the series producer. Sabin Streeter and Krista Whetstone are directors. Major corporate support for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six is provided by Ancestry, Johnson & Johnson and AT&T. Major support is also provided by the Ford Foundation, Candace King Weir, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.
An electronic press kit for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six, including downloadable photos for promotional use, is available on PBS Pressroom.
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WETA Washington, D.C., is one of the largest producing stations of new content for public television in the United States. WETA productions and co-productions include PBS NEWSHOUR, WASHINGTON WEEK, THE KENNEDY CENTER MARK TWAIN PRIZE, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG, LATINO AMERICANS, THE ITALIAN AMERICANS and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns and scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.
About McGee Media
McGee Media was founded by award-winning filmmaker Dyllan McGee to produce documentary content that is innovative, compelling, and immersive. Every story is born from a vision of a more fair and equitable world. Whether it is the sweeping history of the African-American experience, or the intimate personal stories of the hundreds of women who made up the feminist movement, McGee Media uses television, film, and digital media in radical new ways to inform and inspire. Recent projects include RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR (PBS), AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS (PBS), MAKERS (PBS), FINDING YOUR ROOTS (PBS), ONCE & FOR ALL (AOL), FIRST IN HUMAN (Discovery), and RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN (Discovery).
About Inkwell Films
Inkwell Films was founded by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to produce sophisticated documentary films about the African and African-American experience for a broad audience. The six-part PBS documentary series THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS (2013) earned the 2013 Peabody Award and NAACP Image Award. Inkwell Films has co-produced Finding Your Roots (Seasons 1-6) RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR (2019), AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS (2017), BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK; AND STILL I RISE (2016), Black in Latin America (2011), Faces of America (2010), Looking for Lincoln (2009), African American Lives 2 (2008), Oprah’s Roots (2007) and African American Lives (2006).
About Kunhardt Films
Kunhardt Films specializes in documentary films about the people and ideas that shape American history. Most recently completed is True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight For Equality (HBO, 2019). Past productions include John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls (HBO, 2018); King In The Wilderness (HBO, 2018); The Newspaperman: The Life and Times Of Ben Bradlee (HBO, 2017); Becoming Warren Buffett (HBO, 2017); Jim: The James Foley Story (HBO, 2016). Other films include Living with Lincoln (HBO, 2015); Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words (HBO, 2014); Finding Your Roots (PBS); Makers: Women Who Make America (PBS); The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross; (PBS); Gloria: In Her Own Words (HBO, 2011); This Emotional Life (PBS, 2010); Teddy: In His Own Words (HBO, 2009); and African American Lives (PBS). Kunhardt Films was founded in 1987 as Kunhardt Productions. It is run by Peter Kunhardt and his two sons Teddy and George in Pleasantville, New York.
About Ark Media
Founded in 1996 by filmmakers Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin, and joined by fellow partner and filmmaker John Maggio in 2003, Ark produces both feature documentaries, and over 30 hours of television/streaming content a year for such outlets as PBS, HBO, Participant Media, History, NatGeo, AMC, Netflix and more. In 2017 alone, Ark produced the Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated OKLAHOMA CITY (PBS), the PGA Award-nominated THE NEWSPAPERMAN (HBO), the acclaimed feature documentary FAR FROM THE TREE (based on Andrew Solomon’s best-selling book, from Participant Media and IFC Films), and several other projects, including the upcoming season of the hit Henry Louis Gates, Jr. series, FINDING YOUR ROOTS (PBS). This year, Ark is already in production on several projects, including a six-hour series on the assassination of Malcolm X (Netflix/Fusion) and THE GENE (a follow up to Ark’s CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES), among others. Two of Ark’s recent productions, SLAY THE DRAGON (Participant Media) and WOODSTOCK (PBS), made their worldwide debuts at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.