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Washington in the '90s

Washington in the ‘90s

Premieres July 10th at 8:00pm on WETA TV 26 & HD

A Decade of Transition and Transformation in the Nation’s Capital


[June 5, 2018; Arlington, VA] – The 1990s were a formative time for Washington, D.C., arguably the focal point for the dramatic social and cultural changes occurring in the U.S. and the world during the decade. WETA TV 26 examines the stories of the city at the end of the 20th century in the new 60-minute special Washington in the ‘90s, premiering July 10th at 8:00pm on WETA TV 26 & HD. Through archival footage and original interviews, journey through the major events, people and places that allowed Greater Washington to transition from a city of crisis, to a city of opportunity.

Washington in the ‘90s is the latest documentary in a series produced by WETA TV 26, exploring Greater Washington from decade to decade, part of WETA’s continuing mission to produce television that serves our community. Carrying on the tradition of WETA documentaries Washington in the ‘60s, Washington in the ‘70s and Washington in the ‘80s, the program chronicles the seminal local events of the decade through the recollections of those who saw and shaped them. Washington in the ‘90s features the highs, lows, and everything in-betweentaking viewers back to a time not long ago, yet which now seems a world away.

“I am so pleased to present this latest installment in our popular ‘Decades’ series, showcasing key moments in Washington D.C.’s history,” notes Kevin Harris, WETA Vice President and Television Station Manager. “The 1990s were a pivotal period for the region, a time when the scars of the turbulent ‘80s gave way to sweeping social and technological changes that transformed Washington into the thriving capital it is today.”

Washington in the ‘90s highlights the area’s most memorable moments of that decade:

  • Marion Barry’s epic fall and unprecedented return to power, cementing his political and personal legacy.
  • Social unrest, activism, and progress as the city’s demographic make-up begins to shift.
  • The city’s shift under Mayors Sharon Pratt and Anthony Williams, the only people to hold the office other than Barry since the 1970s.
  • The rise of alternative rock, led in part by Springfield, VA native Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters.
  • The region’s emergence as a technology hub with the rise of Internet pioneer America Online.
  • The early-decade triumphs of the Washington Redskins, their move out of the city limits, and the start of a long decline.
  • Revitalization of the downtown area, anchored by the construction of the MCI Center and the return of professional basketball and hockey, and the additions of new sports teams: the Washington Mystics and DC United.
  • A new wave of gentrification as the city’s finances stabilized, neighborhoods became safer, and surburbanites and young people began to return to the city.

Showing how far the city has come, Washington in the ‘90s offers a nostalgic look back, with a wealth of perspectives from interviews with local residents. Notable Washingtonians featured include former mayors Sharon Pratt and Anthony Williams; journalists Cokie Roberts, Pat Lawson Muse, and Tom Sherwood; Washington Redskins legends Darrell Green and Joe Jacoby; America Online founder Steve Case; music club owners Dante Ferrando and Seth Hurwitz; Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis; and former first lady of Washington D.C. Cora Masters Barry. The program is narrated by Doreen Gentzler, longtime news anchor at NBC4.

Today, many Washingtonians look back on the decade with nostalgia.  Communication methods rapidly evolved in the age of the Internet, and the revitalization of the District that began in the 1990s would continue well beyond the dawn of the new millennium, creating an indelible mark on the nation’s capital that continues today.

For more information, please visit Press materials and photography can be found at

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About WETA

WETA Television and Classical WETA 90.9 FM are public broadcasting stations serving the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia with high-quality programming. Classical WETA 90.9 FM brings classical music, concerts and specials to Greater Washington. As the leading PBS station in the nation’s capital, WETA Television broadcasts on four channels: WETA TV 26, WETA HD, WETA UK and WETA Kids. WETA Television celebrates the people and history of this region through programs such as WETA Around Town, WETA Extras and WETA Arts.  For national PBS audiences, WETA Washington, D.C., is one of the largest-producing stations of new content for public television in the United States, with news and public affairs programs including PBS NewsHour and Washington Week; films by Ken Burns such as The Civil War and The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; and performance specials from the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. WETA creates leading public service websites such as,,, and; and develops community outreach programs to engage people of all ages in the joy of lifelong learning. The WETA studios and administrative offices are located in Arlington, Virginia. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO.  More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at On social media, visit on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.


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