WETA Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with More Than 50 Programs across TV and Digital Channels

Highlights include the five-part film ASIAN AMERICANS, AMERICAN MASTERS “Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir” and INDEPENDENT LENS “The Donut King”

(Arlington, VA) — WETA, the leading public media station in the nation’s capital, proudly celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with a special May lineup that highlights the rich culture and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.More than 50 programs will air across WETA channels WETA PBS, WETA Metro and WETA World. Select programs may also be streamed online through the PBS Video App and via WETA Passport, the streaming app for WETA members. For a full program lineup, visit weta.org/asian-pacific.

“This month, we invite WETA viewers to explore the history, culture, food, art and experience of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through a wide range of documentaries, biographies and independent films,” said Miguel Monteverde, senior vice president and general manager, WETA Greater Washington. “We’re proud of our ongoing commitment to celebrating the diversity of our communities and are delighted to gather these outstanding programs together in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.”


Asian Americans, a WETA co-production

  • Saturdays at 10 p.m./10:30 p.m. on WETA PBS in May
  • Saturdays at 10 p.m. on WETA World in May
  • Thursdays at 10 p.m./10:30 p.m. on WETA Metro in May
  • Streaming on the PBS Video App

The five-part, Peabody Award-nominated 2020 film Asian Americans chronicles the Asian American experience in the United States, presenting stories that explore exclusion and empowerment, sacrifice and triumph, trauma and hope. The series showcases the significant role of diverse Asian American communities in shaping the nation’s history and identity. Narrated by actors Daniel Dae Kim and Tamlyn Tomita, Asian Americans follows the stories of trailblazers, both prominent and forgotten, who had an impact on representation and what it means to be Asian American today. The film is a production of WETA and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) for PBS, in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Flash Cuts and Tajima-Peña Productions.

American Masters "Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir"

  • Monday, May 3 at 10 p.m. on WETA PBS
  • Saturday, May 8 at 8 p.m. on WETA Metro
  • Streaming on the PBS Video App

Amy Tan’s hit debut novel, “The Joy Luck Club,” catapulted her to commercial and critical success, spending more than 40 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. With the 1993 blockbuster film adaptation that followed, as well as additional bestselling novels, librettos and short stories, Tan has established herself as one of the most respected literary voices of her generation. This documentary — the last completed film from late director James Redford — is an intimate portrait of the groundbreaking author, born to Chinese immigrant parents in Oakland, California in 1952. It features new interviews with Tan and fellow writers Kevin Kwan, Isabel Allende, Dave Barry and Ronald Bass; actors from The Joy Luck Club; and friends and family.

Independent Lens “The Donut King”

  • Monday, May 24 at 10 p.m. on WETA PBS
  • Saturday, May 29 at 8 p.m. on WETA Metro
  • Streaming on the PBS Video App

This award-winning documentary film explores immigration, assimilation, prejudice and who gets access to the American Dream — and what happens when you achieve it. In 1975, Ted Ngoy escaped the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, arriving in America via Camp Pendleton, California. Starting as a gas station janitor, he parlayed diligence and luck into the purchase of his first donut shop, launching an unlikely multi-million dollar fried-pastry empire. But, as Ngoy discovered, a great rise can also come with a great fall.

Additional programs

Anthology series Pacific Heartbeat(Sundays and weekdays on WETA PBS in May), now in its tenth season, offers a glimpse of the real Pacific — its people, cultures, and contemporary issues. The series features a diverse array of programs that will draw viewers into the heart and soul of Pacific Island culture. WETA presents 17 films from the series in May.

Documentary filmThe Chinese Exclusion Act: American Experience(Wednesday, May 5 at 7 p.m. on WETA World), by Ric Burns and Li-Shin, spotlights a unique piece of federal legislation: the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already here to become citizens of the United States.

For a full listing, airtimes and information, please visit weta.org/asian-pacific. Additional press materials and photography available upon request.

# # #

About WETA

WETA is the leading public media station in the nation’s capital, serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with content that educates and inspires on WETA television channels WETA PBS, WETA UK, WETA PBS Kids, WETA World and WETA Metro; and Classical WETA 90.9 FM. Local programming and digital content created by WETA includes WETA Arts, WETA Around Town and If You Lived Here, and documentaries such as Washington in the 2000s.For national PBS audiences, WETA 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 production partners Ken Burns, including Hemingway and the forthcoming Muhammad Ali, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including Finding Your Roots and The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song; and performance specials from venues such as the U.S. Capitol and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Previous WETA productions have also included The Italian Americans and the Peabody Award-winning series Latino Americans. The station creates leading public service websites and develops community outreach programs to engage people of all ages in the joy of lifelong learning.Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA programs and services is available at weta.org.Visit facebook.com/wetatvfm on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.

Additional Documents

  • WETA Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with More Than 50 Programs across TV and Digital Channels

Press Contacts