Last year, PBS aired the critically acclaimed series African-American Lives which traced the genealogy of a number of famous blacks, including Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Chris Tucker, T.D. Jakes, astronaut Mae Jemison, and host Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates. The show was successful, in my view, in part because the techniques demonstrated applied across the board, and not just to African-Americans. The show also used DNA analysis to identify the celebrities’ likely areas of origin. There were some great surprises for some of them.
Now PBS is planning African-American Lives 2. But there will be an interesting addition. This time, not only will certain celebrities be featured, but PBS will select one “regular” person to find his or her roots. Applications are being taken now through May 4, 2007, here on the PBS site.
This could be fun! Can’t you just see this expanding beyond African-Americans to become a regular PBS reality series?
Thanks to Dick Eastman for the pointer.
April 20, 2007 Friday at 2:49 am