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Date: 3/12/2008
Presidential Video Biographies Lend Insight To 2008 Election at PBS American Experience Site

.URL: http://www.pbs.org/presidents/2008
Presidential Video Biographies Lend Insight To 2008 Election at PBS American Experience Online
PBS’ American Experience has launched The Presidents Online as the online component of an unprecedented public elevision initiative that, for the first time, will make available more than 25 hours of presidential programming online, on TV, and on the go. 
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Television’s most-watched history series takes voters from the past to The Presidents through video of FDR, Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush

PBS’ American Experience has launched The Presidents Online at http://www.pbs.org/presidents/2008, as the online component of an unprecedented public television initiative that, for the first time, will make available more than 25 hours of presidential programming online, on TV, and on the go. 

The project comes at a critical moment in American politics: this year, American voters will take part in a landmark election, where for the first time in over a half-century, neither the sitting President nor vice president is a contender for the Oval Office.

In the coming months, voters will wrestle with tough questions and campaign issues: Who should we trust? How do we end a war? Who is best suited to lead the nation in a volatile world? With The Presidents, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE provides an invaluable historical roadmap — helping viewers to understand where we have been, so that they may better decide where we are going.

The Presidents Online 

Presidential Video Biographies Lend Insight To 2008 Election at PBSVisitors to the Campaign ’08 Web site will select provocative questions that connect today’s domestic and international issues and candidate platforms with yesterday’s leaders. For example, by selecting “How do you end a war?” users will be able to scan video segments about the resolutions of World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.  The site currently features five such questions, which will be updated to reflect hot button election issues leading up to November 2008. 

Seven films – more than twenty-five hours in all- will be streamed for online viewing, and available for download, beginning with FDR, Truman, and Reagan in February. In the coming months, programs examining Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter will follow. Finally, after a premiere television broadcast on PBS, a new profile of the 41st President, George H.W. Bush, will launch on May 6.

The Presidents on TV
In broadcast, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will roll out THE PRESIDENTS on PBS beginning in May 2008, and continuing up to the 2008 presidential election in November:

--May 5 & 6 — George H.W. Bush
--May 12 & 19 — FDR
--May 25 & 26 — Truman
--September 15 & 22 — LBJ
--September 29 — Nixon
--October 6 & 13 — Jimmy Carter
--October 20 & 27 — Reagan

The Presidents On the Go
A rich array of companion President's podcasts and vodcasts will be produced monthly for download from THE PRESIDENTS web site, covering themes such as political conventions, debates, presidential character, and more. The first in the series, available now, examines the campaigning season. 

“With THE PRESIDENTS, we want to engage viewers in the civic process. To my mind, that involves not just voting on Election Day, but also taking an active interest in where we've been as a nation and what led our country to the place we now hold on the international stage,” says AMERICAN EXPERIENCE executive producer Mark Samels. “As we enter a pivotal election year, it is interesting to see the many issues the country wrestled with throughout the 20th century—from war and religion to healthcare and education—that we are still debating today.”

“Nobody does presidential biographies better than AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.” Houston Chronicle

As a pivotal presidential election approaches, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents THE PRESIDENTS: seven 20th century biographies that offer an intimate and compelling look at the men who have defined and re-defined the modern presidency, and who led the country through some of the most turbulent and consequential moments in our history. For the first time, all seven films, 25 hours of programming in all, will be streamed online and will be available as downloadable vodcasts.  THE PRESIDENTS, in broadcast, online, and through outreach initiatives, is designed to reach millions of potential voters and to promote civic engagement with issues and ideas central to our history and our democracy.

Ranging from the unlikely story of the patrician New York governor who led the nation during the twin crises of the Great Depression and World War II, to the Hollywood leading man who became the icon of modern conservatism, the series begins on television in May 2008 with the premiere of a profile of George H.W. Bush, and features subsequent programs on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.

Television's most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has been hailed as "peerless" (Wall Street Journal), "the most consistently enriching program on television" (Chicago Tribune), and "a beacon of intelligence and purpose" (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America's past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including twenty-four Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and fourteen George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for Two Days in October. 

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer. More than one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup and companion Web content as well as many public radio favorites are produced by WGBH. The station also is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in access technologies for people with disabilities. For more information visit wgbh.org.

Press contacts
Jen Holmes, WGBH Boston, 617.300.5388, jen_holmes @ wgbh.org
Patrick Ramirez, WGBH Boston, 617.300.4251, patrick_ramirez @ wgbh.org 
Laura Bowman, WGBH Boston, 617.300.5332, laura_bowman @ wgbh.org

Tags: PBS, American Experience, History, Presidential Election, Video Biographies
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